Zytronic supplier of durable, high-performance Projected Capacitive Technology (PCT and MPCT) touch sensors, and Brisbane-based digital solutions provider TouchMate, have produced a complete front-of-house solution to help simplify and expedite guest services for Australian movie theatres.
Self-service ticket kiosks have wide acceptance in movie theatres, but TouchMate saw the potential in combining the widespread use of video walls in cinema foyers with kiosk-style features.
TouchMate Director, David Ellsworth, explains, “Our system is an evolution of the current technology. Traditionally, the cinema might spend more than US$50,000 on a video wall then install eight self-service kiosks that might cost an extra US$50,000+. If you merge the two technologies, you halve the capital costs and costs of maintenance. You save space and money.”
The companies argue customer acceptance is instantaneous. Patrons immediately understand the proposition, as soon as they see the attendant EFTPOS facilities they know they have the opportunity to buy cinema tickets.
As they approach the machine, proximity sensors switch the video wall’s content, so that the customer can find their desired screening and complete the transaction. Once complete, the content automatically switches back to the in-house CMS programming.
Crucial to the success of the TouchMate digital solution is the Zytronic ZXY500 touch controller. The new technology allows the touch sensors to be designed with sub 10mm borders.
David adds, “We’ve been working with Zytronic since 2002 on a whole variety of products in a whole range of different industries. The new ZXY500 controller is a real step forward. The success of our cinema product is dependent on an edge-to-edge full screen glass touchscreen and Zytronic has achieved that. In this case, the bezel width of the touchscreen is right down to 1.8mm either side — 3.6mm from screen to screen in total. It’s almost seamless.”
Zytronic and its local partner, JEA Technologies, worked closely with TouchMate to design a custom, printed 53in Zybrid touch sensor with ultra-narrow borders, made from 6mm-thick toughened anti-glare etched glass. David has used the same glass on previous mission critical mining applications and loved the fact it’s practically indestructible.
The Zytronic ZXY500 has another technology advantage that proved critical for this cinema application where multiple touch displays are arranged side by side.
“Competing projected capacitive touch sensors have issues with electromagnetic interference,” explains David. “This occurs when you attempt to place two touch panels close by or in contact with each other. Effectively, this interference prevents the touchscreens from working properly, which would be a deal-breaker in this application. The Zybrid touch sensors working with the new ZXY500 multitouch controllers don’t suffer from this issue.”
This cinema foyer self-service solution is a bespoke TouchMate product that boasts two technology patents. The package has taken TouchMate years to perfect and is now becoming accepted among new-build cinemas as the preferred one-stop customer-facing foyer solution. TouchMate backs the product with high-quality service and support. Little wonder then, that David chooses his technology carefully.
“Zytronic and their local partners, JEA have been around a long time and if there’s any support required, they’re very responsive. The Zytronic projected capacitive touch sensors are reliable and consistent, and I’m able to approach them with special design ideas, and they can easily produce one or two prototype screens if I need. I wouldn’t consider using another manufacturer. TouchMate has installed four of these new touch walls into new cinemas and we’ve had zero issues.”
About Zytronic ZXY500
In response to the growing demand for narrow screen borders, especially in interactive video walls, the Zytronic ZXY500 touch controllers allow touch sensors to be designed with substantially reduced non-active borders. For example, a 55in diagonal touch sensor can now be designed with sub 10mm borders.
A further advantage of the new ZXY500 controller is its compatibility with contactless technologies increasingly being integrated alongside displays to enable payments, customer tracking and battery charging technologies. RFID, NFC and Qi phone charging all generate wireless signals that can interfere with the operation of conventional touch screens, but the new controller has industry leading signal-to-noise ratios and sophisticated algorithms that change dynamically to reject electromagnetic interference in the operating environment.
Zytronic tested each of these technologies with the ZXY500 controller and demonstrated that they can be implemented very close to active touch area without impairing the performance of the touch screen.