Exclusive: MMW Touches on the Future of Touch Technology with Zytronic

Recently, MMW caught up with Ian Crosby, VP of Sales & Marketing at Zytronic, a leading and well respected manufacturer and developer of touch technology products.

As an innovative company in its field that MMW has been watching closely and with much optimism about the role it will play across the tech landscape, we were elated to have an opportunity to chat with Ian about the company and where it’s heading.

MMW:  Tell us about Zytronic – where it started, where it is today, and its vision for the future?

Ian:        Zytronic’s origins go all the way back to 1943.

In the beginning, we specialized in cut and laminated glass components for industrial applications.

After the company had its IPO on the London Stock Exchange in 2000, Zytronic increasingly focused on the development and manufacture of its range of interactive touch sensor products, based upon its unique and patented projected capacitive technologies, optimized for self-service and unattended applications. These include slot machines and other types of interactive automated systems used in the gaming and leisure markets, e.g. video lottery terminals and amusement games.

MMW: How has a mobile-first generation influenced your company?

Ian:        The mass adoption of consumer touchscreen devices, such as phones and tablets, has developed alongside the growing mobile-first generation. Touch interactivity is a form of technology that consumers are familiar and comfortable with, and it’s driven the wider adoption of touchscreen technology in commercial applications.

Advances in consumer touchscreen products are very quickly requested in commercial products and It drives our R&D to push the boundaries of what is possible with projected capacitive touch technology. From ‘Force Sensing’ to ‘Object Recognition’ touch control firmware, or from curved to ultra-narrow-border glass touchscreen designs, we’re striving to stay ahead of the trends, and satisfy the demands of the mobile-first generation, whatever the application or user environment.

MMW: Do you develop touch surfaces for any size and device?

Ian:        Zytronic manufactures touch sensors in any size and design imaginable from as small as 5 inches across to greater than 90 inches diagonally for large-format commercial applications such as gaming, financial, retail, digital signage, industrial and medical systems.

The technology is suited for low to mid-volume custom applications for the self-service and unattended commercial and industrial markets.

MMW:  Who should use Zytronic and why?

Ian:        Zytronic technology is a perfect fit for public access, self-service and industrial equipment designers and end-users, in market areas such as financial, retail, leisure, digital signage, industrial, medical and more.

With over half a century of glass-processing know-how, Zytronic is uniquely positioned within the field. We have comprehensive in-house manufacturing facilities that we are constantly investing in to improve our products and fabrication capabilities.

Zytronic touch products are not standard off-the-shelf products; rather, each order is tailored and custom built to suit each specific application. We can create unique touchscreens in a near limitless range of shapes and sizes to fit any display, and incorporate features such as curved glass, cut and drilled holes or slots, custom printed borders and logos in almost any color imaginable, and at any quantity required.

Zytronic’s projected capacitive touch technology has proven its unparalleled ability to work reliably in the most demanding environments and applications – from supervised indoor to unattended outdoor installations. Working in some of the most demanding environments, the touch sensors are unaffected by dirt, water, dust and scratches on the surface, and are capable of withstanding incredible levels of abuse – accidental or malicious.

We also design our own touch controllers and have invested millions of dollars in their development. Having this complete ownership of the technology means we can fully support customers’ projects from start to finish.

MMW: Where is your technology now, where is it being used?

Ian:        Zytronic’s technology is being used in various applications all over the world, for example:

Eindhoven, Netherlands – Citybeacon

Zytronic worked closely with OCP Solutions, developers of public outdoor communication products, on a smart-city initiative called Citybeacon. This project blends state-of-the-art connectivity with intuitive touchscreens, enabling visitors and residents to access relevant information about the city and local businesses, and experience their surroundings.

The system also incorporates NFC, RFID and Bluetooth-based payment and mobile hand-off technologies, so users can take advantage of local services such as parking and carry information to and from the kiosk. Microphone and camera-enabled full VOIP communication connects with emergency services, and free Gigabit WiFi and small cell 4G and 5G-ready antennas improve coverage and connection for the sharing of information. A free mobile app is also included allowing users to carry the Citybeacon experience with them.

The Citybeacon features a 32” ZYFILM-based touch display. The rollable ZYFILM is a flexible, polyester touch film incorporating patented multitouch technology, and is designed to be laminated to the rear surface of a rigid transparent substrate. Once applied, it can detect up to 40 simultaneous touch points through an overlay of 10mm thick or more.

Washington DC, USA – The National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian

Through Ideum, Zytronic supplied an 84” diagonal touch sensor to the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution (NASM) for inclusion in a recently unveiled exhibit.

Zytronic was heavily involved in the design process, and was able to produce the single, custom design 84” touch sensor without any of the upcharges that often accompany custom work from other touchscreen manufacturers. The ZyBrid® touch sensor was designed using 6mm-thick thermally toughened Anti-Glare etched glass, providing a combination of smooth ‘finger glide’ interactivity and impact resistance, and the Ideum table was manufactured in powder coated aluminum for additional durability.

Turkey – Hyundai car dealerships

A Hyundai car dealer network in Turkey has moved to a digital dealership model, following the installation of 43” diagonal touch tables created by Nerotouch, using custom designed 40-point multi touch MPCT™ Projected Capacitive Technology touch sensors supplied by Zytronic.

Using the tables, the sales team can configure a car for the customer and present them with the finished result. Hyundai assessed several different touch technologies, but selected Zytronic’s ZYBRID multi touch sensors on the recommendation of Nerotouch.