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Fluid Technologies

In the year 2020 humanity had to reimagine how technology was used, we had to use technology to keep us at a safe distance from one another, but together at the same time.


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Jesus Jimenez

2 years ago | 6 min read

In the year 2020 humanity had to reimagine how technology was used, we had to use technology to keep us at a safe distance from one another, but together at the same time.

So as we flow into the future and into the next decade, when we try to understand the technologies that will be used by humanity at the time; we will be able to trace how some of its forms and applications were influenced by the health emergency that the 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic caused around our globe that year. 

So you see, the tech from the future will inherently contain some form offluidity when it comes to how it is being used. It will consider and allow for interactions to happen close by but when necessary also at a distance.  This fluid technology will allow for physical touches on a screen, and in case of a health emergency it will be able to quickly shift to augmented reality to avoid continuous touching of the screens.

One of the biggest use cases of such fluid technologies, are those that allow large groups of people to come together, such as eat-in restaurants.

This fluid technology will primarily take root in the restaurant industry. During the coronavirus pandemic this particular industry has had to cope and adapt often and rapidly to the constant mobility restrictions that governments are imposing on its people. Unfortunately many were not able to stay alive with all the changes because every shut-down or mobility restrictions placed on citizens globally; for the restaurant industry meant less customers. Also the fact that restaurants can only rely on online orders and delivery apps such as uber eats, for sales, meant that their reach was limited to those applications. 

The graph below shows how many people dined at restaurants in 2021 and 2020, as compared to 2019, according to OpenTable, a system that enables diners to discover and book the perfect table every time they dine, and also place online orders.


Seated diners from online, phone, and walk-in reservations

(SOURCE:https://www.opentable.com/state-of-industry, dataset is based on a sample of approximately 20,000 restaurants)


So in particular, a change we will see brought by this new fluid technology is in the way eat-in restaurants operate with their Point of Sales Systems (POS), that will no longer rely on human interaction. 

A Point of sale (POS) system is the spot where customers pay for goods or services that are offered by a company. Such as, electronic cash registers and mobile devices that can accept credit cards and other forms of payments. In eat-in restaurants today many of these systems require the presence of another human to place food orders and conduct sales transactions. In eat-in restaurants today that can be the waiter or hostess. 

But in the future, 10 years from now we will need to keep in mind social distancing in case of another pandemic, so restaurants will only allow us to order via touch screens that will be embedded into the dinning table itself; and also our personal electronic devices. 

So 10 years from now as patrons come into a restaurant and are checked-in by a hostess they will be able to sit down and pull out their phones to order food to be brought to their table. Or they will be able to interact with the digital menu that will be displayed on the screen inside of their table. As they eat they will be able to order more and more items without having to wait for a waiter to come by to take their order.  When they are finished eating they will be able to pay via their phones as well.

Manifestations of this appear today and have been here for some time, in some restaurants such as Chili’s an american restaurant chain. Patrons don’t really need a waiter to order, they can do so via a tablet screen that is placed on the table.


Ziosk Chili’s. By Craig Keefner Source (Pinterest user: Craig Keefnerhttps://www.pinterest.es/pin/353391901984147661/


“The tablets let your order your meal—and pay for it—through a screen, as you would with online ordering.”-The Atlantic

Also in this new future, when the food comes out it will be brought out not by a human but by a robot/automated server that will know the layout and tables of the restaurant. These robot waiters will minimize human contact, such as MILO the waiter robot currently serving food in a restaurant in Washington State in the U.S.  

“Bistro Royale uses mapping software to tell the robots where to go throughout the restaurant. Once the software is set up, the robots use markers on the ceiling to navigate between tables and provide take-out orders for customers or to-go drivers. They also have motion detection cameras to weave between people.”– Gabby Urenda/Beaverton Valley Times.

We can also see more examples of waiter robots on sale today at Alibaba in the table below.


SMART Robot WaiterSource: https://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/Robot-Waitress-Waitress-Robot-Voice-Interaction_60585092113.html?spm=a2700.7735675.normal_offer.d_title.594d3aaaibGqb8&s=p


When it comes to sales, the users will also scan QR codes to pay for their food or simply pay via their mobile devices.

If another outbreak occurs the screens on the tables will be able to shift to augmented realityand allow eat-in patrons to interact with the menu via their phones. 

We can see this now in some restaurants around the world such as Mexican food restaurant chain,Wachca in the UK.which is implementing AR technology fromPopular studiosin its menu offerings.

“We’re delighted to be working with Wahaca – a pioneer in the food and drink industry – on bringing its menus to life. AR is the perfect technology for restaurants looking to enhance their customer experience in unique and exciting ways. We believe interactive menus are just the beginning. It’s great to see Wahaca taking the initiative to engage customers through the use of innovative technology,”commented Poplar Studio CEO David Ripert.

Wahaca’s Co-founder Mark Selby also mentioned, “We’re very excited about collaborating withPoplar Studioas this AR experience brings our menu to life to visually inspire our customers about our food, ingredients and sustainability.”

In addition, Poplar Studio mentions thatthe AR experiences can also be linked to a digital payment systemwhich can enhance customer experience while keeping customers and staff safe.

Additionally with the AR menu system people will be able to interact with it via eye gazing, in other words the AR system will be able to be given commands by the way people look at the items. For instance a double blink can be the command to place the order, lifting our eyebrows can be for more info. 

So this new Point of Sales technology, that we can call a Fluid POS, will be essentially a merger of 5 existing technologies; touch screens, augmented reality, eye-scanning, point of sales systems and automated server (robot waiters), and in 10 news from now will be the new way eat-in restaurants operate. This Fluid POS will bring in an “automatic self distancing way” of doing things, by not needing the waiter to take food orders, because they will be placed via the screens inside of dining tables. You also will not need waiters to bring you your food because an automated server will do it for you. 

In addition if things need to be more restrictive to minimize human contact, these new menus will be able to be viewed through augmented reality which connected to the POS will allow patrons to place food orders.  

The main users of the new technology will be restaurant owners. As they need to diversify the way they bring food to their customers. 

This new technology will be ushered in because the restaurant industry, a resilient one, is always looking for new ways to adapt to its changing customers. 

This new Fluid POS will integrate with all the popular delivery apps, it will have a scheduling and payment system for employees All the features will be built in, and will be able to be activated via on/off switches. Any change will happen seamlessly and fast. Change to menus, will populate everywhere the menu is placed, from the website, the table touchscreen, online sites, to delivery apps. 

All this ease of use and technological integrations will come because many small restaurant owners have to wear multiple hats and can not have the time to learn to do something for every platform. There will be no plugins because it will not make sense to have 20 plugins to make one system work, for instance a restaurant POS. Also keeping in mind that sometimes restaurant owners need to commute one hour from their homes to their place of business, also means that they will have less time on their hands. So they will really need a system that they can manage in one screen.

The many offerings of Fluid POS will allow the eat-in experience of the future to shift rapidly by giving restaurant owners even more control over how they operate their restaurants.  

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Jesus Jimenez

I am passionate about designing products that can help create a better future for everyone.


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