Do we crave touch? The challenge of the pandemic-induced touch-hunger

Posted by: CEO, Steven D. Domenikos

Wouldn’t it be awesome to be able to touch your smartphone screen and feel something other than glass? Like everyone these days, I am sure you likely spend 10 hours per day touching only glass. Lifeless glass. Wouldn’t it be awesome to go beyond the confines of the glass screen and feel the world below?

The coronavirus pandemic has demanded a sudden withdrawal from physical contact, shifting our consumption to digital only. We increasingly crave for anything to add even a trace of materiality to our experience. And the longer we stay apart the more we crave physical contact, as it is integral to our existence. The pandemic has already revealed important lessons about the need for touch not as a novelty or luxury, but rather as something essential to our collective wellbeing.

Recognizing that biggest ideas are not always consensus ideas we think creatively about fulfilling fundamental human needs in new ways. And touching is a fundamental need, as we all actively seek the engaging feeling of being there. This is presence.  Take, for example, live music and concerts. People will not crowd into stadiums for a long time to come. Maybe the time for VR is finally here. Maybe new capabilities that engage the sense of touch through your smartphone could make it feel like you are at the concert. We at Tactai have developed a novel way today to help satisfy this need to connect with others and to feel physical proximity in the digital world, by making it possible to create and share content that engages the sense of human touch, as we all strive to find greater joy in the online experience.

And since we all generally agree that humans need to get away from their everyday surroundings and see the world, maybe this new experience enables you to escape your immediate surroundings into a new world of see-hear-feel, all through your mobile phone. How amazing this would be?

Are we going to shake hands again? No one really can say for sure. People may not shake hands much for a long time. But the social ritual of greeting remains important. What could replace it and what opportunities might that create?  The emotional drivers behind human behaviors are constant. Where we are forced to change those behaviors, business that can fulfill essential emotional needs in different and innovative ways can be huge winners.

I could even go as far as to say that the next generation of human beings would be accustomed to share touch-based experiences, as perfect or imperfect as they be, first through their smartphones. They could even be more comfortable doing so than in the real world. People are far more open to change than they have been in many years. This means they will try new things and change their consumption patterns and behaviors in unpredictable ways.

At Tactai this is our mission. The potential to enable better storytelling that engage the sense of touch for a world in isolation; to redefine the online experience like never before; to offer new expressive possibilities; and by doing so, to make the digital feel more human.