The coronavirus outbreak worldwide continues to dominate the news cycle and has led to significant public safety focus on enforcing good habits to reduce the possibility of catching or spreading the disease. Health officials have advised the public to wash their hands frequently and avoid contact with public spaces in order to reduce the risks of the coronavirus and other flu-like diseases. With the infection rate increasing, hands-free interactive technology offers a powerful solution in the fight against coronavirus.
Health Risk Reduction
An investigation by Metro found that every touchscreen kiosk sampled at McDonalds restaurants across London was found to have multiple bacteria traces found in human gut and feces including E. faecalis, proteus, listeria, and staphylococcus. Some of these bacteria can be deadly or cause severe health issues.
“These cause the kind of infections that people pick up in hospitals,” Senior microbiology lecturer at London Metropolitan University Dr. Paul Matewele said in the Metro article.
Hands-free technology offers a solution. Hands-free kiosks eliminate physical interaction with public screens, helping to keep consumers safe. Diseases spread more quickly in urban areas, and while there is no proven method to eliminate all health risks, the increasing number of hands-free interactive devices should reduce the instance of bacteria and virus transmission.
The benefits of hands-free technology extend beyond health safety as well. If you own an Alexa, it is likely that you have gotten frustrated with its inability to understand your commands or that it may carry out the wrong task. This is because current hands-free technology like Alexa and Siri are not interactive – they are simple end-to-end devices that function based on a pre-programmed set of instructions and actions. True interactivity with devices is rooted in more diverse and innovative technology that allows the platform to respond intelligently to anything required of it. Increasingly powerful back-end technology is giving rise to more hands-free functionality and is likely to see an explosion of growth in the coming years.
Ease of Use
As the technology advances, so too will the public’s acceptance and use of hands-free interactive devices. Ease of use is seen as the greatest benefit of hands-free technology, but that benefit is undermined if the devices does not understand what is being asked of it. Advances in Natural Language Processing (NLP), speech-to-text technology and multi-lingual capabilities ensure that these devices better handle the speech/request part of the interactivity.
Accessibility is an important value for hands-free technology. The ability to call, text, and find directions while driving is a positive addition to safety on the roads. Studies show that drivers can still be distracted when using a phone hands-free while driving, and integrative and interactive hands-free technology offers a safer alternative to driving or texting using a smartphone.
Similarly, hands-free interactive technology gives accessibility to those who may not be able to operate with their hands. Face and voice recognition allow users to command kiosks, phones and tablets with head motions using motion capture technology and spoken commands. Again, Natural Language Processing (NLP) and speech-to-text technology helps the platform understand and respond to spoken commands in the way that users naturally speak.
Hands-free kiosks in public venues also open the door to personalized interaction. Face and voice recognition work to help users connect with businesses in a way they could not before. Paired with smart analytics, hands-free kiosks uniquely identify users by face and voice and remembers their preferences and past requests/orders, giving the customer a customized experience suited to their needs.
Taking the Next Step
Hands-free interactive technology is being implemented worldwide by the most innovative technology companies. Agora Brands Group in Franklin, Tennessee has developed “artificial intelligent interactive Avatars,” to evolve the interactive hands-free kiosk experience to the next level of functionality. Agora’s Interactive Avatars can be placed in public kiosks in restaurants, hotels, airports and banks to interactively assist consumers with their orders, purchases, plans and transactions. The significant benefits of personalization, convenience, are at the core of Agora Brands Group’s mission and vision to rapidly evolve and grow the interactive kiosk industry worldwide, and the technology is equally applicable to industries and use cases well beyond kiosks.
“We have designed our technology in a way that solves a number of current issues across lots of industries,” Agora Brands Group CEO Stuart Rogers said. “The level of interactivity is something people haven’t seen before and it presents a huge opportunity with kiosks and other applications.”
As public health and intelligent digital interaction become a growing focus, the use of interactive, intuitive hands-free interactive technology will continue to gain traction. Hands-free interactive technology paves a path towards bridging the gap between human interaction with technology and offers solutions to some of the world’s most pressing issues.