Rapid consumerism and techno-savvy trends recently have led to a sudden rise in interest by the vending machine industry to adopt latest technologies in order to increase their profit margins. With over 20 million vending machines installed worldwide, several technologies can be exploited to increase both – profitability as well as ease of customer-machine interaction. Today we will explore the current preferences, future demands and trends that will transform the industry. To incorporate changing market dynamics, up-sell opportunity and increasing government regulations, vending machine designs have seen a paradigm shift towards computing technology. A range of technologies like LCD/touch-screen displays, image sensing, cashless payment and telemetry needs to be integrated.
According to research and analysis, United States of America is the leading country when it comes to world Intelligent Vending Machine market because of the availability of secure and customer-friendly cashless payment options across the retails stores of the country. However, there is intense competition among vendors operating in this market, which is posing a huge obstacle to the growth and development of this market. The yearly report of Japan Vending Machine Manufacturing Association (JVMMA) showed that there were more than 6 million vending machines, which served 130 million people of Japan. Japan has highest number of vending machine in the world. Most of the vending machines sold beverages (48%), cigarettes (11%) and foods (2%). For the beverage, most vending machines sell soft drinks (84%), while the others sell milk (7.0%), coffee and chocolate drink (6%), and alcoholic beverages (3%). Yi-Chih Hsieh et. al. (2014) gave the discussed results.
SOME INTELLIGENT MACHINE ENHANCEMENTS
- LCD: Touch-screen and user interactive displays, typically ranging between 8 and 42 inches.
- Cashless Systems: Payment by applications installed on mobile phones and credit/debit cards.
- Telemetry Systems: Fixed/wireless connections for communicating machine’s health (i.e., sensors, inventory levels, etc).
- Voice Recognition: Another user interactive way for customers to interact with the machine.
- Digital Signage: To increase profitability-high definition content medium: product information, graphical and video advertisements. Rich interactive content.
- Power Saving: Machine would go in hibernation mode if it does not sense any users in its vicinity leading to better power efficiency.
- Image Analysis/Gesture Recognition: A simple example of this would be a person who yawns in front of the machine, is offered to have a coffee
- Automatic Ticketing for Transport Systems: Automatic ticketing can also be introduced by using RFID and the Zigbee technique. The person can discover the destination place by pressing the options available on the machine with the aid of zigbee. If people confirm to travel in a certain bus, then by using a smart card, a person can acquire the tickets by RFID
These enhancements can be brought in the modern day, as there is a lot of scope since the interaction of users and smartphone has increased. Almost all the day-to-day activities are tackled through one device today. The COVID situation has added on to this scenario. Hence, use of intelligent vending machine has lot of upcoming market opportunities and experts are looking up to how the vending market would change in the digitizing era.