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JR East Water Business

Zytronic develops rugged, large format, heavy solution for latest touch interactive vending machines


Zytronic has secured another significant endorsement for its ruggedized touch sensor products in Asia through their Japanese distribution partner Minato. The company’s ZYBRID® sensors, based on its innovative Projected Capacitive Technology (PCT™), have been specified by the beverage dispensing division of the JR East Group, for inclusion in Acure™ – a next generation digital vending machine being deployed through its network of railway stations.

Zytronics ZYBRID sensor Technology on an Acure vending machine in Japan

Key Information

Payment at the vending machines can be made using traditional cash and card methods or with a smartphone (utilising near-field communication or “NFC” technology). Notably the vending machine is also capable of using targeted marketing techniques by recommending drink options most likely to fit with the customers’ demographic. Using facial recognition software and an integrated digital camera located, the Acure machine is able to identify the gender and approximate age of each customer. It can also collect valuable data based on customers’ actual choices (though no identifiable images or information are stored), which is then transferred to the company’s central management server via WiMAX connectivity. When not vending, the large bright screen can be used to display advertising or public information.

Several hundred Acure vending machines have already been deployed in platforms and forecourts in stations around Tokyo with JR East planning to roll out at least 500 throughout its Japanese network during 2012. The impact and weather resistant 47” PCT™ touchscreen on each smart vending machine allows customers to select from a wide range of different bottled drinks. These networked machines have the advantage that they can update in real time, so that items which are out of stock are quickly reordered and not shown on the screen in the intervening period.

“The setting for these vending machine units is in extremely busy train stations. With a very large number of users every day, as well as potential exposure to the harsh weather conditions and extremes of temperature experienced on train platforms, plus other sources of damage, the robustness of the selected touch solution was mandatory, Zytronic was chosen because of the strong durability its offering demonstrates, as well as water and dust resistant operation.”

Hitoshi Aida, JR East Water Business.

“By specifying our PCT touchscreen technology in the Acure vending system, JR East has been able to deploy state-of-the art technology in a demanding public setting and to provide a compelling, convenient and reliable channel for putting its products at its customers’ fingertips, The customised solution we have been able to deliver maintains consistently high level touch performance in even the most challenging of settings.”

Ian Crosby, Sales & Marketing Director for Zytronic

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