Category Archives: Technology

Vending Operations: 5 Ways To Reclaim Your Margins

Chuck Reed of MEI facilitates a panel of five outstanding vending operators to emphasize the main points:

  • How to use your payment systems better
  • Right size your operation
  • Start to use cash recyclers
  • Get smarter about cashless
  • Communication and change management

Great discussion and questions from the audience.

Smartphone App Connects Consumers With The Vending Operator

An interview with Neil Swindale of VendCentral

Excerpts from the interview:

“There’s a big opportunity in mobile right now and we thought it was good timing to tweek it so it can fit the needs of vending companies around the country…”

“It allows the customer to pick up a smartphone, scan a QR code on the vending machine and it comes right to our mobile request platform and from there a customer can communicate directly with the vending machine manager.”

“It’s a two step process: 1. We design the app where they tell us what buttons go on it. The default buttons include request a refund, tell us how we’re doing, report a machine issue, request your favorite product… 2. We redesign your sticker that goes on the vending machine… include the phone number and the QR code that takes customers to the mobile request platform.”

“It involves a small upfront fee and a small ongoing monthly fee… It’s very affordable.”

“We’ve had customers tell us this is exceptionally good on a sales presentation to really help win accounts… an app for customer service.”

Power Shifting Energy Saving Vending Machine

Coca Cola Japan has announced what they call the peak shift vending machine. It shifts the use of power from the peak daytime hours to the nighttime to reduce the strain on the power supply. In the summer, the machines can produce cooled products for 16 hours and at the same time reduce daytime power consumption by 95%.

Pretty impressive. This machine hasn’t launched yet and it’s unclear whether Coca-Cola will bring this technology to the US.

Read more:

Evaluating The ROI of Future Vending Technology

An interview with Mike Bunt, General Manager of Corporate Marketing Equipment of the Buffalo Rock Company

The future of vending as it relates to sales and service is a topic that lots of vending operators are interested in but may not be able to evaluate from an operations point of view. Some of the hot topics today are healthy vending, interactive displays, campus id cards, mobile commerce, and micro markets. Have you evaluated any of these or similar opportunities in vending for Buffalo Rock?

“You must be careful on the new technology, we are, there’s a lot of it out there we call ‘foo foo’ technology that really is a marketing ploy today to those who like all the gadgets… but if it increases service calls, we have to be careful not to get overly involved with it.”

“We look at up front costs, then increased sales or decreased service calls and a lot of times it’s easier to come up with a decrease in cost of lifecycle than pin pointing an increase in service calls.”

Mike gives several examples of what he calls a win on technology, listen to the podcast:

Vending Technology: Lessons Learned From Vending Operators (video)

This technology panel Q&A discussion was recorded at NAMA OneShow 2012 and includes:

  • Doug Haddon, MEI
  • Stu Riemann, D & R Star Vending
  • Scott Meskin, Black Tie Services
  • David Sours, Coca-Cola United
  • Cliff Fisher, MEI (moderator)

This is your chance to hear from operators who are actually implementing many effective processes and technologies that include – but are not limited to – telemetry. They’re doing it on a large scale and to great success.

There are excellent questions from the audience for each panelist, in fact, that is the point. If you’ve ever had questions about telemetry or other vending technology implementation questions, you may find your answer in this video.

MEI Releases New Cashless Telemeter – The Advance 5000

An interview with MEI’s Marketing Director, Chuck Reed, MEI logoand Product Manager, Don Finley

Sound bites from the podcast:

“The Advance 5000 is MEI’s most recent solution to enable those cashless transactions at the machine.   It replaces our existing product, the RDP, which has been in the market for a number of years. ”

“We’ve made it quite easy to add cellular communications to the base unit. And we’ve greatly expanded those cellular options to now include AT&T’s 2G and 3G spectrum as well as Verizon’s CDMA.”

“We’ve also designed the device to be scalable from the future proofing perspective.   As new communications technology develops, we’ve tried to anticipate those developments thru a broadly used Linux platform and hardware design that anticipates communications will continue to evolve.”

“That same level of modularity, scalability and functionality will translate to its online telemetry solution as well.  Because the platform is so flexible, if operators decide to add MEI’s remote monitoring solution to their operation the changes won’t disrupt their current operations. ”

How can operators order the Advance 5000?

We’d like to encourage operators to call our dedicated sales team or their Authorized MEI distributor to learn how to get started with their Advance 5000 cashless solution.  In addition to our new telemeter we have a variety of cashless bezels for operators to choose from to Give Your Machine a Voice.

Listen to the podcast:

The Youth Market and Vending Machines

Food and Drink Digital interviewed Michael L. Kasavana, Ph.D., who is a NAMA-endowed professor at Michigan State University’s School of Hospitality Business on the topic of the youth market.

Kasavana says a major trend is enhancement of the consumer interface and for vending machines that means a more interactive transaction – one that youth who shop and play games online are used to including payment options available online. “Why can’t you do that at a vending machine?”

Another trend is the products being sold are no longer traditional, but moving toward non-traditional items like energy drinks, trail mixes, things perceived to be more healthy.

Also product information like nutritional content. The younger generation is watching what they eat. Vending machine manufacturers will soon be required to project the food manufacturer’s nutrition label like you see on most packages.

Read more: Capturing the Youth Market with Vending Machines

The Role of Vending Machines May Be Changing

Ever seen a gumball machine that takes Foursquare checkins as payment?

“This gumball machine allows people to tell their friends they are at your location. That will appear on Facebook and Foursquare. They purchase a gumball to check in, or announce they are at a location through Foursquare,” explained DeAngelo. “There’s less than a second delay. You are purchasing it through social media currency. The value comes from the impression you can garner from someone checking in.”

Read more: Ad Exec Pairs Bulk Vending And Foursquare: Check In And Get Gumball

USA Technologies ePortConnect Service Platform Is Open to Developers

USA Technologies is making available an interface to their USA Technologiescomprehensive ePortConnect service platform for developers and OEMs: QuickConnect.

Some of reasons developers and manufacturers are expected to use QuickConnect include:

  • Programmers can implement the API web service in their code, reducing certification cycle time and speeding up time to market
  • Device machine manufacturers that desire a turnkey solution for enabling a connection to USAT’s comprehensive ePort Connect service independent of card reading hardware
  • Developers of mobile applications requiring a turnkey solution for cashless payment services; and, other developers of unattended devices, such as kiosks, that require an easily deployed cashless option

Read more: USA Technologies Inc. Adds Web Services To Its Technology Portfolio