Vue is to roll out a new fibre optic broadband network to connect its chain of UK cinemas, allowing staff to react more quickly to customer demand for popular films with a centralised IT system.
The cinema firm has a total of 779 screens in 82 cinema branches, with thousands of films stored on local servers and screened on digital projectors.
By replacing its old copper network with a wide area network (WAN), Vue staff will soon be able to centralise these servers and allow films to be screened from one location. The new fibre optic WAN is being put in place by Virgin Media Business, and is due to go live in early 2014.
The centralised IT will mean that Vue will be able to gain a real-time insight into the number of customers watching a film at any given time, allowing Vue to understand instantly which films are popular at a particular cinema screen. This means that a film due to play in a smaller capacity screen can easily be switched to a larger one if a centralised monitoring team sees that it is becoming popular, improving the company's abilty to meet demand from cinema-goers.
The higher bandwidth network will also mean that the chain can keep up with the latest film formats, such as 3D, higher resolution 4K, and High Frame Rate (HFR), all of which are substantially more data intensive than older formats. The new network will be able to transfer data at four times the rate of the previous network, it is claimed.
It is also expected that the WAN will enable faster credit card payments processing, and improve use of Vue's website.
"The evolution of technology has triggered a massive change within our industry," said Roland Jones, IT director, Vue Entertainment.
"It was critical that we upgraded to a solution that could give us the speed and resiliency we need to deliver the next generation of cinematic experience to our customers.
"The great thing about Virgin Media Business' network is that it will allow us to not only enhance the movie experience, but staff will see big improvements in the way they work."