Touch technology: A round-up

November 9, 2009: 6:02 AM ET

Touch technology help non-tech industries improve business, efficiency, and their bottom lines.

The SMART Table brings touch to masses and classes. Photo: SmartTech

The SMART Table brings touch to masses and classes. Photo: SmartTech

We all oohed and aahed when Apple's (AAPL) iPhone came out because of how cool it was, especially its multi-touch capability that let us flick through photos and "pinch" and expand photos and websites.

Now, with Microsoft (MSFT) Windows 7 specially formatted for touch capabilities, and everyone from manufacturers to hotels touting their tough capabilities, we know human contact with computer screens is more than a gimmick — it's here to stay.

Touch is already a big business — estimates indicate that sales will be more than $3.66 billion for this year and will catapult 145% to almost $10 billion in the next five years.

Only half of that revenue is coming from consumer electronics (i.e. cell phones, digital frames, etc.) — the rest is from retail, hospitality and more. What many people forget is that this 30-year-old technology has been integrated in non-tech industries for years — mainly as a way to improve efficiency, but never as a centerpiece.

So, we decided to take a look at the best of the rest and highlight the most innovative, business-savvy ways other industries are implementing touch technology — and helping improve their bottom line. More

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