Will we see a surge in contactless interfaces?

28 June 2020

Contactless technology is nothing new, it’s been around for several years ranging from leap motion controllers to Kinect sensors on the Xbox. These gesture orientated devices have not only brought fun and productivity into homes and offices but have also been used in various medical professions and rehabilitation centres.

We now use contactless methods to make transactions, statistics from visa.com have shown that nearly two-thirds of Brits now use the tap to pay option since 2017. With the Coronavirus pandemic, majority of retailers are now influencing the use of contact payments due to sanitary reasons, which will potentially see a rise in contactless ways to make transactions.

Moving away from contactless payments, the likelihood other contactless interfaces will begin to pop up in major cities in the coming months and years post pandemic will be highly likely. Physical interfaces, cash and debit cards may well be a thing of the past in coming years, especially when smartphones and watches are all capable of creating smooth transactions.

A favourite gesture device of mine is the Leap Motion Controller which allows your computer to track your hand movements, this allows you to carry out tasks without touching anything. It senses how you move and how you use your hands naturally and makes the space between you and your PC interactive and three-dimensional.

This device has been in the market for several years, one that’s been in my drawer collecting dust up until now. Not only does leap motion compute gesture activity it can be connected to most Virtual Reality (VR) headsets creating new ways to interact and communicate. Recent projects have shown this device create touchless elevators and contactless ATM machines all of which have their benefits and downsides.

During the recent lockdown, I have found the Amazon Echo to be a great tool, again another piece of technology that deemed no purpose until now. With these voice-enable devices it allows increase productivity and an easy way to communicate. We are now able to shop using just our voice, change the radio station, answer the door, turn of the lights and the list is becoming endless.

However, with all these interfaces comes their own downfalls, especially when considering cybercrime and accessibility. Security researchers have discovered flaws that can allow hackers to bypass the UK contactless card limits according to scmagazine.

Additionally, with the rise of smart cards which store people’s sensitive data, these NFC interfaces are also equipped with worrying threats which can exploit sensitive information easily.

With the post pandemic merely a distant vision for most of us currently, it is likely to say that the rise in contactless interfaces like elevators, ATMs, contactless payments and gesture orientated security systems may well be on the rise. Whilst these grow in popularity, it is important to consider all cyber related threats that may arise due to the upsurge in the Internet of Things and the freedom of information stored and accessed.

I for one am looking forward to seeing what innovative solutions occur with contactless interfaces and what technologies companies will integrate post pandemic.