Traditional vending machine owners face several problems: considerable expenses and inconveniences in their efforts to maintain, repair and upgrade vending machines without a centralized administration system to perform these functions. Maintenance and support costs are high because on-site visits are usually needed in order to check the machine status, solve troubleshoots, perform software upgrades, and complete repairs. Moreover, revenue is lost whenever a vending machine is out of order, a situation made worse when it takes days to discover and fix the problem. Another concern is being able to attract and engage new customers attending to the changing world, as well as younger customers accustomed to an always-connected world through their smart phones.
Improving Vending Machine Profitability with the Internet of Things (IoT)
Traditional vending machines have evolved since they were first introduced almost a century ago to deliver snacks and refreshments at the push of a button. The latest vending machines are sophisticated enough to handle cash or credit, dispense hundreds of items, and operate 24/7. But vending machine operators still need to collect data from the machines regularly to keep them running, keep track of sales, monitor key functions, and serve their customers effectively.
These machines are getting much smarter, thanks to the impact enabled by the Internet of Things (IoT), a new world of connected devices that share real-time data in meaningful ways that allows taking advantage of new technologies and more digital capabilities to go beyond just delivering products and create a new retail location by transforming the traditional simple vending machines into intelligent, connected machines.
Smart vending machines and the access to data that is generated by a network of connected devices, remotely and in real-time, are excellent examples of how the “Internet of Things” (IoT) can change the way companies operate, affecting to their business models and revenue streams. With the right embedded technology and user customization, smart and sophisticated vending machines will dispense data in addition to the service or product sold. Constant connectivity will allow them to offer customers a product utility as a service based on their needs, and not based on companies’ convenience.
The basics of an IoT-connected vending machine to a network are the remote maintenance and continuous monitoring of inventory, consumption patterns or possible thefts, providing greater insight into customer metrics and preference (products, services, advertising…), and allowing to identify trends and patterns that would been extremely difficult to coordinate and analyse with monolithic systems. This permits to run sales, marketing and social commerce strategies, the opportunity to engage with the customers in highly personalized ways, and implement promotional strategies to enhance their satisfaction by dynamic pricing of by offering promotions and loyalty programs, creating an immediate connection with consumers, which is impossible to do with conventional machines.
Key Business Objectives
Increasing the profitability of vending machines using real-time and secure data collection through cloud-based Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM), incl. diagnosis and real-time business analytics tools, can save time and reduce the high cost of operating a fleet of machines by transforming data into business knowledge.
Supplying the vending machines with network connectivity, sensor data, built-in intelligence and monitoring systems allow you to identify any single machine, access the online data remotely and obtain information about the sales and technical condition of your machines, to monitor and manage inventory and logistics. Connected machines can be tied to other corporate systems such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) and central pricing. And more than this, the addition of internal sensors (i.e. tachometers, temperature, or built-in shaking sensors) to monitor the machine itself will predict eventual failures and schedule service prior to a catastrophic event and therefore benefit the operators and technicians through predictive maintenance and remote diagnostics for service requirements. If your vending machines encounter any technical problems, through monitoring systems you can be notified via SMS or e-mail: you will be able to quickly resume machine operation and limit its downtime.
In summary, all this together with the software that connects the sensors and controllers of the machine provides the kind of scalable, embedded and cloud-based communications required by IoT-enabled smart vending machines to completely control your business - finances, inventory and service quality as the number of devices grows. By accessing, storing and transmitting the data through the cloud, companies do not have to expand their data centre, saving on space and expenses, maximizing productivity and profitability.
Muutech Monitoring Solution Benefits
Through the use of IoT technologies, big data analytics and Wireless communication solutions (telemetry), Muutech can also enable a new breed of connected and smart vending machine that offers you the following advantages:
Provide relevant information about the status of your machine network in real time
Inventory management - Optimize delivery schedules and logistics, and improve inventory tracking and control
Increase the quality of maintenance service and the machine life service
Maintenance and energy saving, incl. notification of power outage or if your machine is being shaken, beaten or moved around, and SMS or e-mail notifications about any errors or malfunctions in your vending machines
Reduce machines downtime and on-site maintenance costs
Provide you with detailed reports for better user experience