A new year is always associated with new hopes, resolutions and beginnings. The year 2020 too began on a positive note for all of us but soon it all started fading away and we were all hit hard by the deadly outbreak of Noble Coronavirus which not only claimed several precious lives but also had a major impact on the economy. Industries across the globe almost stopped their operations and we were all forced to be homebound.
To reduce the risk of infection, people became eager to maximize contactless interactions and minimize physical proximity. While the outbreak made healthcare workers the frontline heroes and expanded their role and demand for the sake of humanity, several other sectors like banking were also made to run their operations to offer the ease of financial transactions for the common man. This is the time when a lot of curiosity developed around technologies like Touchless User Interface especially in the BFSI sector. In a bid to understand this new way of communicating with machines, Rashi Aditi Ghosh of Elets News Network (ENN) explores the buzz around Touchless User Interface.
Covid-19 Outbreak and the Paradigm Shift
With the spread of Covid-19, interactions around the world changed drastically. The pandemic and the high scare of mortality created an inflated demand for technologies that help humans to avoid touching devices. Prior to the pandemic, no one had ever imagined that things will change this way and gesture-based technologies will gain popularity and digital services will accelerate after staying on the back burner for years.
The outbreak made us realise the need to adapt to touchless interaction, which was not accepted widely and taken as a complex and unsafe process.
Touchless interaction is not just important for healthcare workers interacting with medical equipment, but also in the use of ATMs, vending machines, and learning devices—all great examples of where we need touchless interaction.
A blog authored by Muhammad Zahid Iqbal, Abraham Campbell for interactions.acm.org/ says Touchless interaction is possible with augmented reality technology, which uses gesture and interaction controller sensors to create a bridge between virtual and real environments. Touchless interaction technology has also been explored in the following research areas: touchless technology in surgery using gesture-based technology, use of inertial sensors for gesture-based interaction with medical images, use of Kinect and Leap Motion devices for touchless interaction in surgery. It has also been explored in education as motion-based touchless games for learning using Kinect, and in medical education and anatomy-learning applications using Leap Motion controllers. Mainly in education, these technologies were developed to allow interaction with virtual objects, but they are also viable for avoiding hand interaction with digital devices.
Touchless Interaction-The New Need of the New Normal
While the need for touchless interaction is evident during these uncertain times, we thought of proving it to you with research findings.
A recent study conducted by IT biggie Capgemini has revealed that more than 82% of Indian consumers will prefer touchless interaction during the pandemic and 48% of Indians will prefer touchless interactions after Covid pandemic.
During April 2020, the company had surveyed around 4,800 consumers and over 950 executives from 12 major economies on re-designing consumer experiences. The major economies included were China, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, India, Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and Brazil.
As per Capgemini’s research, on an overall basis, 77% of consumers are likely to increase their use of touchless technologies to avoid interactions that require physical contact, and even after the pandemic is over, 62% expect to increase their use, demonstrating that this is a trend that is going to sustain.
What is Touchless User Interface?
Touchless interface or Gesture Recognition is the latest technology that enables hands-free, mobile working. It is the process of giving commands to the computer via body motion and gestures without touching a keyboard, mouse, or screen. The touchless interfaces in addition to gesture controls are widely gaining popularity as they offer the ability to interact with devices without physically touching them.
How is it going to work?
There were times when touching, dropping down, swiping, scrolling and tapping were a significant part of our technology-driven lives. But now things are going to change especially with the Covid-19 outbreak. The way we communicate with the devices is going to change completely. Developments in the field of smart sensors, Artificial Intelligence (AI), devices are automatically are learning to communicate with us through “Zero UI”. Zero UI is basically doing away with a visual user interface (UI) and enabling us to communicate via voice, gestures, and biometric authentication.
Touchless interfaces are helping us evade physical communication by eliminating touchpoints, essential for safely and reopening businesses.
The technology is likely to bring a revolutionary change across the banking sectors as it promises to offer a superior user experience, reducing the cognitive load of apps, settings and passwords.
It promises to make everything significant part of business operations hand-free, be it interacting with the day to day customers, employee engagement of marketing a new product/ solution.
For example, if you want to use an ATM, voice command would not be a safe choice and touching the buttons to enter a pin may be difficult due to the infection scare, here gesture recognition and control can help you well in completing the transaction without touching anything and this technology is therefore fast gaining popularity.
Role of Touchless UI in Upgrading banking
In a recent interaction with Elets News Network (ENN) K V DIPU, President and Head of Operations, India, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance said, “In 2021, technologies like Touchless User Interface will help firms navigate customer needs deftly while catering to their concerns about safety. Human-centric Artificial Intelligence wherein we blend the science of AI with the art of customer-centricity will increasingly play a role. Across the value chain, mobile onboarding & digital claim settlement will establish themselves.”
Features of Face Recognition, Line of sight, emotion, age, and gender recognition can really be helpful in case of generating life certificate to government pension holders.
In an article by Penny Crosman, Benoit Legrand, chief innovation officer at ING said “You want to get all the hassle away, so banking is becoming invisible.”
It can also help in opening bank accounts or maintain important information pertaining to the identity of customers and completely eliminating the need to visiting the bank branch and getting indulged in a lot of paperwork. Gesture recognition is also likely to be helpful in bringing down the level of cyber frauds.
In one of his articles Peter-Jan van de Venn, Strategy Director Fintech at Mobiquity Inc – Europe, said, “While there is already a rapidly increasing demand for digital banking services due to the big tech impact, I’m convinced that the current situation will be an accelerator for the demand for digital or even better contactless banking services for the longer term. If you take into account how quickly the world adopted the switch to digital communication, there is a huge opportunity for banks to fit their customers’ needs by providing more contactless banking services.”
Demand of Touchless UI to Grow, Suggest Projections
The touchless sensing market is projected to reach $15.3 billion in 2025 from $ 6.8 billion in 2020 at a CAGR of 17.4%. Major drivers for touchless sensing market include increasing demand for contact-free sensing as well as hygiene issues t. The escalating demand for touchless sensing technologies in smartphones and touchless biometric solutions with upgraded tracking and controlling functionalities will create opportunities for the touchless sensing market. However, the major restraint for the market is the higher switchover cost coupled with user resistance. The high cost involved in touchless sensing products poses a major challenge to this market.
While the vaccine for Covid-19 may soon see the day of the light, the paradigm changes in industries across the globe including banking and drastic change in customers’ behaviour towards touchless modes of transactions are here to say. The projections pertaining to Touchless interface or Gesture Recognition firm it that people are going to rely on it in near future. Banking being a people-centric industry is most likely to see its popular use.