Kraft Diji-Taste vending machine to premiere at Las Vegas

Kraft Foods Inc. and Intel Corp. have collaborated for two years to develop the high-tech Diji-Taste vending machine, which will make its debut this week at the National Automatic Merchandising Association’s OneShow in Las Vegas.

The interactive vender, second in a series that began with the Diji-Touch, is designed to engage multiple consumers with full-length LCD touchscreens on three sides of the machine. Another novel feature is optical facial-recognition technology and 3D cameras that centre the experience on the user and add an extra element of fun.

Kraft conceived the machine as a high-tech approach to sampling its product, and deployed a proof-of-concept model late last year. Called the iSample Experience, the pilot machine dispensed refrigerated single-serve samples of a mousse-like dessert, Temptations by Jell-O, the brand’s first product designed specifically for adults.  The machine uses a 3D digital camera to recognise the shape of the patron’s face. A computer processor then carries out a series of calculations based on measurements such as the distance between the eyes, nose and ears. These are used to determine the gender and age bracket of the shopper. Using this technology, the iSample machine enabled free vends only to the patrons it recognised as adults.

“The programme was very successful, generating more than four million impressions,” Kraft business development manager Frank Guzzone said. “We’re very excited by its reception by the end consumerand by the possibilities for more widespread use of the machines beyond sampling.” Diji-Taste’s elevator delivery system can accommodate a wide range of ambient and refrigerated products and package sizes.

Guzzone said operators can leverage its interactive features to attract more consumers, harness the power of social networking and generate a new revenue stream by running advertisements on its high-impact 46″ screens.  “With smartphones, the Internet and social media, we believe the vending industry is on fertile ground to use this technology to revive itself. Diji-Taste provides a virtual experience to interact with the end user, and the possibilities are limitless.”

“We will work with operators on a case-by-case basis,” said Guzzone. “We are still defining the model and looking for ways to share revenue with the operator. We need to make sure that when we expand, we can sustain it and continue to develop it. The industry needs to bring more traffic to machines.”

Guzzone added that the Diji-Touch machine is being tested in Australia and the United Kingdom, and that Kraft expects to expand the programme as a global initiative during 2013.

The vender, manufactured by Crane Co., features an embedded networked  computer and 46″ Samsung LCD touchscreen display. The graphics software enables users to view the product, its details and complete product nutrition information on a virtual cube, simply by touching its onscreen icon to rotate it 360°. The machines also are designed to display interactive advertising. Banner advertisements stream across the top of the screen, and full-screen ads appear when the machine is not in use.

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