HOW TO CHOOSE A TOUCH SCREEN MONITOR AND TYPE OF SCREEN FOR INTERACTIVE KIOSKS, POS-SYSTEMS, ADVERTISEMENTS?
Managing devices with a touch screen are much more convenient and faster than using a mouse and keyboard. The absence of excess peripherals and the presence of a convenient, intuitive interface makes touch monitors and kiosks more and more popular in trade and the service sector. But what exactly to choose for work?
A LITTLE ABOUT TOUCH MONITOR MARKET
The market of touch monitors for trade is clearly segmented: these are POS monitors (10-15 inches) and touch panels for placement in public places (desktop, wall, and built-in). Prices, demand and sales in these categories vary widely. Trends are also different. For POS systems, this is a constant modernization of design and functions. For interactive panels – the desire of manufacturers to minimize the thickness of the case and offer the lowest possible price (for example, 17 – 19-inch monitors for installation in self-service devices – the most popular model). Another trend is the enlargement. Models with a diagonal of 21 inches or more are becoming popular. 42-inch and 55-inch touch monitors are gradually replacing models of small diagonals. “Since 2005, sales of interactive displays and kiosks have increased by approximately 50%. It is very difficult to single out a separate model – a sales leader. Of the monitors, the most popular were those that have the ability to embed a mounted magnetic card reader,” says Vladimir Pavlov from KKS.
It so happened that retail uses predominantly modular POS with a keyboard, and in the HoReCa sector, monoblock systems controlled by touch screen displays are more popular. This is due to the fact that the “touch” option is more compact and easily fits, say, at the bar. The absence of a keyboard means that it will not be stained with food or filled with drinks (of course, you can use a specially protected keyboard, but this option is not always convenient and often only increases the cost of the entire POS system). Another advantage of touch displays over conventional displays is that they reduce customer service time: the operator at the checkout does not need to make unnecessary movements (grab a mouse, move the cursor to the desired location on the screen, spend seconds looking for a key, etc.). The cashier simply presses a finger on the symbol or inscription displayed on the display, and immediately sees the result of his actions. The interface of the “keyboardless” monitors” is clear and simple: all the necessary items are displayed on the screen – an ideal solution for trade and service enterprises, when there is a limited number of commodity items, and sales volumes are large. Comprehensive visibility is important not only to the cashier or waiter but also to the buyer. Intuitive interfaces are developed specifically for touch systems, so it’s very easy for the user to work with such equipment – in any case, it’s no more difficult than flipping through a magazine, guide or instruction. Despite the popularity of touch equipment in the HoReCa sector, the position of POS systems with traditional monitors and a programmable keyboard in retail is quite strong. This is due to savings: prices for devices with a touch screen are still slightly higher than for conventional monitors. However, touch POS equipment has its own, rather promising, retail niche. These are fashion stores where more and more attention is paid to the spectacular appearance of POS systems.
TOUCH SCREEN TYPE SELECTION
The choice of touch monitor depends on the task for which it will be used. For example, models with a large screen (19 or more inches) are convenient for entering and viewing information. They are most often embedded in a wall, an advertising stand, or another construct. Small-format monitors (15 inches or less) are good because they take up little space and save space behind a cramped counter. Of fundamental importance when choosing a touch monitor is the technology on the basis of which it is made since each of them implies certain limitations in use. There are several main technologies: resistive, capacitive, based on the effects of surface acoustic waves (SAW), infrared and projected-capacitive.
- Resistive technology is the most popular and affordable, has high sensitivity, is not afraid of dust and moisture. The disadvantages are the low brightness of the screen, the fear of sharp objects and shorter service life compared to the rest. For these reasons, resistive screens are most suitable for catering and are most often used there. And for screens with public access, capacitive, SAW and infrared technologies are better suited.
- Capacitive touch panels feature high resolution, good image quality, low response time and reliability. Strong and durable, they are used in touch kiosks and payment terminals, gaming, and vending machines. The lack of capacitive technology is the inability of the screen to respond to anything other than a “bare” finger, so the technology is based on the use of the capacity of the human body to redistribute the screen voltage and register touch (hence its name is “capacitive”).
- SAW screens have high brightness, good resolution and are relatively inexpensive. But the technology has a significant drawback – high sensitivity to the effects of various external factors: temperature, pressure, the chemical composition of the environment, etc. Sticky chewing gum or a sticker, a dried-up lump leads to a loss of sensitivity of the screen.
- Infrared screens are not afraid of weather and temperature changes. But they are extremely sensitive to UV (solar) radiation. Infrared screens are the most durable: their service life does not depend on the number of touches.
- Projected-capacitive – the newest and most advanced of the technology for the production of touch screens. These glasses have high sensitivity, support multi-touch mode, are designed for intensive use in the most severe conditions, work perfectly outdoors, at temperatures up to -20 °, are not afraid of moisture and dust. When working through protective glass, the 2-touch multi-touch function is retained.
COMPARISON OF RESISTIVE AND CAPACITIVE SCREENS
Resistive panels are divided into two types – made by four-five-wire technology. The first is available with a diagonal of 12 – 20 inches and a resolution of 1024 x 1024 pixels. Their reaction time does not exceed 10 milliseconds, for activation it is necessary to apply a force of 50-120 g / sq. see. The error in determining the coordinates can reach 3 millimeters. The disadvantages of the technology include a reduction of 75 – 80% of the power of the light flux emitted by the monitor. However, this is offset by the simplicity of the device, low price and low susceptibility to harmful external influences.
The five-wire version of the resistive screen is more reliable and has a higher resolution. If 4-wire screens withstand about 3 million clicks at the same point, the resource of 5-wire devices is up to 35 million. The resolution can reach 4096 x 4096 points. True, you have to pay for this, with reduced light transmission: of all the varieties of sensors, the 5-wire panel most “extinguishes” the monitor. These panels are mainly used in industry, medicine, and commerce. And four-wire resistive screens have found their place in devices such as smartphones and tablet computers – where it is more important to reduce the cost of the device and ensure ease of perception of information.
In the work of a capacitive (electrostatic) touch screen, a person participates not only in “mechanical”, but also in “electric” action. Before touching, the screen has some electric charge. The touch of a finger changes the charge, “pulling” part of it to the point of pressing. Screen sensors located at all four corners monitor the charge flow in the screen, determining the coordinates of the “leakage” of electrons. Capacitive screens are highly reliable (they do not have flexible membranes) and high transparency. True, they are not suitable for use with a stylus or a glove. Click on the screen with your hand. But their reliability is impressive – up to 1 billion clicks in the same place. It turns out ideal for an info kiosk or POS station.
“Each of these technologies has its own negative features: resistive models “break” (the surface of the screen deteriorates from the slightest scratches), capacitive ones are “wiped” with fingers, and infrared ones are too sensitive. As the saying goes, the village sat – sold the goods. True, for this it is necessary to find a very quick-witted fly, capable of making several successive taps. However, hypothetically, such a possibility exists. In addition, infrared screens love cleanliness and care,” explains Vitaliy Panchenko from SystemGroup.
Ilya Reshetnikov, a marketer for Sensory Systems, believes that the most important parameters for LCD touchscreen monitors, in addition to technology and price, are the connection interface (unlike other manufacturers, all touchscreen monitors manufactured by Eagle Touch have a universal RS / USB controller) and support different operating systems (all Eagle Touch monitors work both under Windows and under Linux).
Director of TouchGames Denis Pukhov: “Choosing the right monitor model depends on what purpose you are going to use it. Sometimes it’s not so much its diagonal size that matters as the ability to accurately and vividly display information. Crucial is the technology by which the monitor was produced. You should not choose a resistive monitor for the device in the public domain. An important characteristic is the sensitivity of the contact patch. Here I would recommend choosing models with a sensitivity of about 80 g – it’s like a light touch. “
Vladimir Pavlov, marketing specialist at KKS: “The parameters for touch monitors are the same as for conventional LCDs. Plus, special features of the touch panel itself: sensitivity, noise immunity, impact resistance, resolution (positioning accuracy).”
BRAND EQUIPMENT OR NONAME?
Touch displays can be offered both in the form of ready-made devices that can only be connected to a computer or in the form of separate elements (monitor, screen, controller, software driver, cable), mounted by the buyer. Self-assembly of touch monitors is a fairly common practice. Professionals believe that literally anyone can make this kind of equipment. However, blindly trust the so-called Noname is not worth it. Large manufacturers will be able to provide customers with more convenient forms of service and settlement, as well as provide technical support and after-sales service.
Olga Kalenskaya, product manager of ATOL Group of Companies on the POS periphery, says: “When we selected a partner manufacturing this type of product, we looked especially carefully at such parameters as an equipment reliability and quality-price ratio. As a result, EAGLE TOUCH was selected from a number of different suppliers.
TOUCH DISPLAYS FOR HORECA
In the hotel, restaurant and cafe, touch-sensitive devices can be used as a workplace by the porter/waiter. Using a magnetic card, an employee identifies himself in the system, places an order and prints an invoice. To increase efficiency, specialized devices are installed on such devices, taking into account the specifics of using POS systems in the industry. Olga Kalenskaya: “Interactive panels are most in-demand in the restaurant business, in the fast-food industry, and less often in boutiques and the hotel business. At these enterprises, increased demands are made on ergonomics and equipment design, and touch-monitors are quite consistent with them. For catering, safety and moisture protection are particularly important criteria. Also important are the resolution, the angle of inclination and rotation, the ability to connect additional equipment.”
HOW MUCH DOES THE TOUCH EQUIPMENT WORK?
The service life of touch monitors is measured by the number of touches per point and, depending on the technology, can range from 100 thousand to 35 – 50 million contacts. Therefore, when choosing a monitor, you need to consider how often they will be used, and in accordance with this, choose the type of monitor. In sensor systems, the screen serves not only to display information but also to enter it, being an object of constant physical impact. Therefore, damaging the touch panel is easier than a regular monitor. This should be remembered and use the equipment with care.
The monitor, built into the interactive kiosk, is better to equip with additional impact-resistant glass. The desktop POS-terminal requires stable support or strong fasteners so that it does not begin to “spring” from constant pressures over time. The choice of wall mount should be taken especially seriously so that then there are no unpleasant surprises when customers do not use the panel because it threatens to wave.
When choosing a touch panel, you should pay attention to the conditions under which the device will be used. When publicly accessing the monitor, it makes sense to choose a capacitive screen. It is resistant to scratches, dust, and dirt. If such tests are not expected, feel free to buy models with resistive technology. Resistive monitor responds to touch with a finger in a glove and without it, pen, pencil, plastic card. True, the surface of such a panel is not very durable and quite easily damaged and scratched. Capacitive monitors respond only to the finger, but still, their surface is much stronger.
The design and production technology of sensor equipment is constantly being improved. According to Vladimir Pavlov, the use of a modern element base in interactive devices allows you to make them more compact and reliable in operation. The main trend – while maintaining the diagonal of the screen, the terminals are becoming more compact.
“Since the main consumers of touch devices are enterprises for which the design and ergonomics of equipment are important, then the competition between manufacturers is in these areas,” says Olga Kalenskaya, “An important selection criterion is the ability to connect a variety of peripherals: card readers, programmable keyboards, biometric access devices, as well as ergonomic monitor mounting systems.”
According to the observations of Igor Kondratyev, now two types of touch panels are most relevant: large-sized and wide-format. Demand for them is great, but so far there are few offers. His company is preparing to release monitors with an aspect ratio of 16×9. “I think our offer will not be offended by demand since widescreen monitors look quite impressive. And in general, there are practically no such people,” says Kondratyev. According to him, at the moment, the models with a diagonal of 21 inches are in greatest demand, although they are more expensive than 17- and 19-inch ones. So there is a need. And if the buyer wants to find a 42-inch panel to do this today will not be easy. The market is mostly filled with 17-inch monitors, which are now built into information kiosks and payment terminals. Large-format monitors are mainly used for advertising designs when exclusive is required. Undoubtedly, the emergence of new developments in the field of sensor technologies determines the market trends for POS equipment. Here, for example, infrared technology. Until recently, it was not widespread due to the high cost. However, the development of microelectronics has led to lower prices, which allowed the use of this technology in touch POS-terminals.