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Vending Machines of the Future

Whilst all of your workplace and consumer technologies have been evolving, so too has the vending machine – quietly, in the corner.

Whether it’s through going green, incorporating smart technology, or accepting strange new methods of payment – the future is looking very interesting indeed for vending machines.

New Interfaces – The Diji-Touch is an advanced vending machine prototype developed by numerous companies, including Kraft Foods, Crane Merchandising Systems, and Samsung. Instead of displaying the products behind a glass panel, it features a giant 46” LCD touchscreen panel, which allows users to get 360° visual images of the products within. This will enable those with special dietary requirements to view ingredient and nutritional information.

Meanwhile, an embedded computer tracks all transactions, which allows vendors to stay on top of their inventory, whilst monitoring the most popular (and profitable) products. Finally, as the screen displays fully animated adverts when not being used, the Diji-Touch could even provide an extra stream of revenue.

Green Technologies – Coca-Cola is committed to reducing direct greenhouse gas emissions by 99% for all of their vending machines by 2015. With over 10 million Coke vending machines in operation across the planet, this initiative would have the same environmental benefit as taking 11 million cars off the road for a year. They plan on achieving this through using hydrocarbon and carbon dioxide based refrigeration in place of the standard HFCs.

Even more efficient, though, is Coke’s Ecoru/Solar vending machine, which uses a solar panel to power the machine’s LED lighting, whilst requiring no additional power consumption. Some models even use moss for natural insulation.

New Ways to Pay – Unilever developed a vending machine that they called Share Happy. Instead of accepting money, Share Happy will give you an ice cream in return for a smile. It achieves this with the use of cameras. Those who approach the Share Happy machine are shown a live video feed of themselves, with an accompanying “smile meter”. Once the machine is satisfied that your smile is wide enough, it will give you an ice cream. It will also take a picture which, with your permission, it will share on Facebook.

In a similar vein – if you’ll pardon the pun – is the Hitachi VeinID. Like the Share Happy, it allows users to make payments without the use of money. However, instead of a smile, the Hitachi VeinID is looking for a pulse. To verify your identification, biometric technology is used to read your finger vein pattern, which is unique to every individual. Eventually, this sort of information may be linked to your bank account, which means that you could potentially make all manner of purchases – including vending machine snacks – using nothing more than your finger.

We must point out that, at the Wise Vending Group, we do not stock any of the vending machines discussed above. We just look at them as an exciting pointer of where our industry is headed. And who knows? Ten years from now, all of this might become commonplace.

For more information on the vending machines we do sell, feel free to give us a call on 0800 169 31 81, or email enquiry@wisevendinggroup.co.uk.