Digital solution simplifies customer experience at the movies
Zytronic and 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 but TouchMate saw the potential in combining the widespread use of video walls with kiosk-style features.
Director David Ellsworth says: “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 plus. By merging the two technologies you halve the capital and maintenance costs and save space.”
As soon as customers see the attendant EFTPOS facilities they know they have the opportunity to buy tickets. As they approach the machine, proximity sensors switch the video wall’s content, such 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 which allows the touch sensors to be designed with sub 10mm borders.
Ellsworth continues: “We’ve been working with Zytronic since 2002 on a variety of products in a 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 local partner JEA Technologies worked closely with TouchMate to design a custom, printed 53” Zybrid touch sensor with ultra-narrow borders made from 6mm-thick toughened anti-glare etched glass. The Zytronic ZXY500 has 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 prevents the touchscreens from working properly, which would be a deal-breaker. The Zybrid touch sensors working with the ZXY500 multitouch controllers don’t suffer from this issue.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.”
Interactive digital signage is at the heart of the customer journey. Ian Crosby, sales & marketing director at Zytronic, explains how ‘phygital’ (physical and digital) tools are being increasingly employed by ‘bricks and mortar’ retailers to good effect.
Despite the rapid growth of online buying, customers still want to see, feel and try the product they are considering and it is therefore essential that high street retailers not only entice them through the door but make them feel comfortable in completing the transaction while in store and not going back home and purchasing online.Phygital tools include interactive windows, ‘endless aisle’ displays, kiosks and touch tables which all typically rely upon contact through a touchscreen.
To raise the bar in performance and enable new features in interactive kiosks, displays and video walls, Zytronic has introduced new ZXY500 multitouch controllers. These enable a minimal touchscreen border in line with the trend towards slim bezel displays. For example, a 55” diagonal touch sensor can now be designed with sub 10mm borders.
Furthermore, the controllers have increased the speed of touch response to enhance the user experience and additional functionality including contactless payment, loyalty card recognition and even wireless phone charging can be more easily integrated alongside or behind the touchscreen.
RFID, NFC and wireless phone charging all generate electromagnetic signals that can interfere with the operation of conventional capacitive touchscreens but the ZXY500 controller has an industry leading signal-to-noise ratio and sophisticated algorithms that change dynamically to reject interference in the operating environment. Zytronic has 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 touchscreen.
The controllers support up to 100 simultaneous touches enabling true multi-user interactivity together with improved ‘palm rejection’ functionality to tune out erroneous touches, such as when a user leans on the table. The new proprietary ASIC (application specific integrated circuit) at the heart of each controller has significantly increased the speed of touch response to just 1ms at the controller output, reducing touch latency by a third compared to previous generation controllers and improving the overall user experience. Designed specifically for use with Zytronic multitouch sensors, the ZXY500 achieves exceptional performance and noise immunity on displays from 10” to around 90” diagonal, thanks to its ASIC, 40V on-board drive signal and in-house developed touch detection algorithms.
In addition, the controllers’ outstanding noise immunity enables the air gap or optical bond between the display and the sensor to be decreased, reducing or eliminated parallax and enhancing the appearance of the display.
Critically, for unattended self-service applications, the ZXY500 controllers can reliably detect touches through over 10mm of glass, even with gloved hands and is unaffected by rain, dirt, oil or ice on the surface of the touch sensor, making it ideal for outdoor installations.
The new controllers have been designed to be HID (human interface device) compliant providing ‘plug-and-play’ operation with Windows, Linux and Android operating system designed for multi-touch. All settings including calibration data can be stored in non-volatile memory on-board the touch controller so that once an initial touchscreen (‘golden unit’) has been optimally set up, these parameters can be copied directly into the controller firmware and used to configure further touchscreens in production without the need to repeat the set-up and calibration process each time.
Customers increasingly expect to interact with technology in everyday life to obtain information, communicate and make purchases, just as they can with their smartphone or tablet computer. By harnessing the best available touch technologies, companies and brands can give their customers the experiences they desire. A great example of this is a recently completed project that combined the use of video walls in cinema foyers with self-service functionality.
A total of 55” Zytronic Zybrid touch sensors fitted with ZXY500 controllers were utilised to meet customer expectations by producing a complete front-of-house solution that helped simplify and expedite the user experience. The large, tiled multi-screen video walls show exciting visual content and movie trailers to entice customers to approach and then switch the lower screens to self-service kiosks as they walk up to purchase tickets.