Alternatives to QWERTY keyboard in consumer goods are fast replacing it with other interfaces. One approach is the use of custom-configured touch-sensitive wall or desktop panels. Another approach uses the common touchscreen interface that is progressively gaining interest in smart office and building design because of their many applications.

The trend towards touchscreens is propelled by them being cheap and flexible, which allows them to be reconfigured. This promotes more freedom in initial design and user-friendliness during interaction. Touch sensitive wall and desktop panel use either resistive or capacitive technology.

A touch panel lets users interact with a computer though direct contact to the screen. Integrating features like touch-sensitive sensors in the monitor makes it possible to give instructions to a computer through sensing the position of your finger or stylus. Basically, it is a device that fuses the two, input and display functions. Siemens Building Technologies Division incorporated Touch Panel solution in its products aimed at room automation. The solution relies on web standards and offers intuitive operation of shading, lighting, HVAC fittings and various other equipment.

Various operating controls are usually found in rooms that have many elements (HVAC, shading, lighting, projectors, etc.), or rooms with intricate floor plan. The new Touch Panel solution from Siemens Building Technologies Division eliminates the disconcerting array of buttons and switches. The solution incorporates all operational controls used within the room in a central touch-sensitive screen, which creates one intuitive user interface for all devices and disciplines. Such technology is appropriate for conference, meeting, training rooms and open-plan offices since it gives control of entire zones and floors. As well, the system is suitable for use in hospital and hotels rooms.

Automatization trends

As Smart offices and building become prevalent, also does the need for related solutions increases, gradually. Although for decades, pointing devices like mouse and trackballs were common in the office, they have not remained relevant in the industrial automation. In automation, there is instead a strong trend toward touch screen displays. The solutions are accessible using various technologies that fit the environmental conditions as well as applications at hand. Touch-sensitive displays have even penetrated industries where hygiene is essential like in pharmaceuticals and foodstuffs. Multi-touch technology provides the potential for big innovation leaps in machine manufacturing.

A lot of companies within the classic machine manufacturing industry are expressing interest in the solution where touch technology is advantageous in controlling the process. I am persuaded that touch-sensitive walls and desktop panels will result in dramatic variations in ergonomic attributes.

Some actual problems

Cities are up against a lot of challenges. From cities such as New York to Shanghai, populations are increasing, which compound environmental and social sustainability challenges. Meanwhile, cities are at the fore front of the fight against climate change even though they produce 70% of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. Apart from concerns of climate change, cities have challenges when communicating critical but less evident sustainability issues to their stakeholders, reforming transportation and water infrastructure, refining urban design and nourishing their growing populations.

While cities of today are designed around the use of automobile, most millennials don’t want or lack cars; hence the need for increased alternatives to public transportation. Similarly, many cities like San Francisco do not have the space to grow outward. Resiliency is promoting social and economic concerns that allows sustainable thinking in the city. Cities have to reinvent themselves and rethink policy that leads to different type of living.

One of way cities are dealing with influx of new people is growing up, not out. It is projected to be a vertical city containing all that is needed by inhabitants to live a good live including the use of touch-sensitive walls and desktop panels to control their rooms of offices. Although cities are the country’s innovation laboratories and its economic engines that connect all the pieces, at times there are challenging cracks in the greater civic puzzle. The nationwide political conversation is rightly struggling with these cracks, but for most communities, the time to act is now.

Critism & Controversies

Naturally, touch-sensitive displays are rather delicate and prone to many issues. However, common issues may result in difficult use of touch screen, or even result in total failure of the display technology.

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