Vending machine technology is ever-evolving, from the days of holy water dispensed at the drop of a Drachma to a world where live animals can survive inside a machine, convenience vending is a rapidly changing industry. Some of the technological advances to hit the industry have been subtle enough to avoid public recognition while others have amounted to great fanfare (Redbox, anyone?) – whatever the case, vending machine tech is cutting edge…
Cashless Vending Machines:
Vendors have operated on the simple cash-for-product concept for far too long, or so think the makers of today’s cashless vending machines. These boxes only accept credit cards for payment and eliminate the need for bills or coins, saving consumers and vending machine operators loads of hassle. The trouble with these vendors comes in places like schools where credit cards aren’t so prevalent, but pre-paid cash funded credit cards are starting to solve this dilemma. Now the only problem consumers will have is figuring out what to do with all that loose change…
Big Brother Machines:
Napa Valley Vending has come up with a novel idea, the Vending Miser, that senses when no one’s in the room with your machine and powers it off, saving money and electricity. Savings aren’t huge, only about $150 per machine per year, but it’s got to be good for the planet and what’s more fun (or terrifying) than a vending machine that magically turns itself on when you walk by it?
Saving the environment is the name of the game for Coke and Pepsi who have both worked tirelessly to reduce reliance on Hydro-Fluorocarbons to power their machines, hence the introduction of HFC-free machines at the US Capitol. These new machines are cooled by natural refrigerant gas which is good since the last thing Capitol Hill needs is more hot air.
Remote Pharmacy Machines:
A breakthrough in conventional medical care or another sign of the impending apocalypse, depending on who you ask, pharmaceutical vending machines are becoming less of a rarity and more of a common sight in cities throughout the US. The machines process prescriptions entered remotely by a doctor then ask patients for a code, dispensing medications with a few simple buttons. These vending machines should do wonders to pacify the angry mobs that claim doctors just aren’t doing enough to make them feel like a number rather than a patient.
Marketing Vending Machines
Vending machines can make a company’s products available where people may need or want them. For example, Snapchat, a well-known media company, has adopted a strategy of placing their sunglasses in vending machines and randomly placing a machine outside a location across the country. Snapchat’s marketing idea has become a huge trend among young consumers. The non-traditional use of vending machines was a big winner for snapchat, and many companies are following suit.
Vending machines lend themselves well to advances in technology, though some question how far we can push the limits of human decency when so many life-altering products are served via the push of a button. The answer to that question is more philosophical than practical, however, and technology must keep pushing on. So if you’re still rocking a flip phone and manual car windows, perhaps you’re just not the target market for this new generation of 21st century vending machines…