Due to be unveiled in Germany at the 2013 Eu’Vend trade fair are new machine-to-machine (M2M) commerce solutions for the vending industry from Deutsche Telekom (Bonn, Germany). The show is set for Sept. 19 through 21 at the Cologne Fairgrounds.
“We offer vending machine manufacturers and operators future-proof solutions based on M2M,” said Jürgen Hase, vice-president of the company. “With these solutions, they can monitor their equipment, increase their productivity and increase sales. “Also, cashless payments at the vending machines with an NFC-enabled cellphone will be possible in the future,”
Hase added. Deutsche Telekom’s M2M solutions are designed not only to simplify processes, but also to have a direct impact on sales and profits. For example, vending machines can automatically reorder at a present filling level, enabling the vending machine operator to optimise filling schedules. The solutions package also monitors the current cash inventory and raises the alarm if there are burglary attempts. These features result in a considerable reduction in downtime due to faulty machines or empty columns. Existing machines can be upgraded quickly with the appropriate module.
This module transfers the collected vending machine data to a server over a mobile communications connection across Deutsche Telekom’s high-availability network. Data is processed centrally, and can then be displayed on the vending machine operator’s PC by use of a Web browser and, if desired, processed further by using compatible enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.
Vending machine operators can also compare the data collected to reach conclusions that will optimise each location. Measures to promote sales such as price adjustments can be carried out remotely, and their impact can be recorded online for analysis.
The company will also demonstrate at the trade fair a further step into the future of mobile payment: Existing vending machines can be upgraded to enable cashless payment using an NFC-capable cellphone. This means that patrons can always buy a drink or a snack even when they are out of cash. Bonus programmes and even social vending — campaigns conducted through social networks such as Facebook or Twitter — will be possible in the future as well.