For the thousands of years humans have inhabited earth, our hands and fingers have been one of our greatest tools. Human hands are unique. No other creature in the world has hands that can grasp, hold, move, and manipulate objects like humans; the way we shake hands, signal, open doors, type on computer keyboards, lift objects, or open things - even the way we touch someone we love.
With the onset of COVID-19, research continues to surface that threatens the very use of our hands.The National Institute of Health has revealed that COVID-19 can live on surfaces such as stainless steel and plastic up to 72 hours, leaving us more cautious than ever before on what, when, and how we choose to touch. The possibility of someone touching a contaminated door handle, then infecting themselves by touching their mouth or face, has lead to several major behavioral changes: people are increasing protectionary measures like face masks and latex gloves, an dreducing their moments of touch.
85% of people claim they have been washing their hands or using hand sanitizer more frequently than before the pandemic –signalling the rise of the zero-touch society.
The fear of touching surfaces, especially the public ones, will re-shape whole industriesand customer experiences for good.
The zero-touch society is adopting a more digital and touchless environment at lightningspeed. 10x faster than in the past 10years.
Brands should identify their intellectual property that could imply and enable experiences in a zero-touch society.
Companies need to reflect on the relevance of their capabilities and re-think their competitive advantage in new, unexpected ways.
Anticipate and enact change by design to stay relevant and create useful solutions for people’s needs and desires.
Adopting operating models and joining/establishing business ecosystems provides brands with a distinct advantage.
Consider fast and cheap production methods like 3D-printing to design product add-ons that allow for a touchless interaction with the surfaces.
Use advanced AI technologies like image recognition or near-field communication to enable crowd control and seamless-use guidance indoors and outdoors.
Replace high-touch areas with voice- and gesture-controlled solutions.
Enable new social interactions by leveraging haptic sensors and biometric data to make emotions tangible again.
Brands that survive the pandemic will be those that rely on business models tailored to this next normal, while keeping everyone as safe as possible.
Of course, we won’t live in an entirely touchless world and the time of social distancing and face masks will be reduced over time – brands, companies and humans have the chance to redesign a better, more connected and digital world.
LAB13 designs meaningful people-centered solutions for brands 18 month ahead of market – we simply imagine the future and then build it. As a part of MRM, we grow meaningful relationships between brands and consumers by inventing new products and services – all of which relies heavily on understanding technology trends that will disrupt the status quo.