Rethink Vending: The infinite potential of smart vending machines

Vending machines - who doesn't know them? They're a lifesaver when you're desperate for a cold soft drink, or your best friend when you're craving a chocolate bar. Now imagine what else you can accomplish with a machine that is everywhere that people spend time. SECO will be demonstrating at this year's embedded world in Nuremberg Exhibition&Conference from March 14-16 that a vending machine is now much more than just for simple product transactions.

Just how intelligent the world of vending is today becomes particularly apparent when the implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) comes into play. As a total solution provider, SECO not only supplies human-machine interfaces (HMIs) and payment systems for vending machines, but also gives customers the opportunity to exploit their potential to the fullest with its Clea artificial intelligence platform. At embedded world Exhibition&Conference 2023, the company will present several smart solutions that will take the vending market to a whole new level.

Intelligent vending machines, equipped with SECO components and software, can now do so much more than just a few years ago. For example, by implementing Clea they become capable of analysing information captured by a camera, turning it into real added value for the operator's business, and also for the user. Using AI algorithms, the vending machine system recognizes a customer’s age and mood upon approach and suggests products according to estimated need.

Analysing data history, operators also have the opportunity to predict product demand and adapt their product range to the preferences of the average customer thanks to recipe sales trend analysis. Dynamic digital signage also plays a role in this process, through selling products tailored to customers' buying behavior, and also providing a prime opportunity for customized advertising.

No less important for the operator is predictive maintenance. Leveraging installations of Clea on each vending machine, all networked through the cloud to a central management portal , Clea fleet management software tracks vending machine status, usage, and anomalies, intelligently identifies trends including wear and tear, and proactively triggers pre-emptive maintenance work. This triggers early and aggregated spare parts ordering, provides predictable service scheduling, greatly reduces emergency calls, and thereby minimizes down-time.

Finally, Clea’s Smart Refill application automatically tracks vending machine inventory and sell rates, identifies vending machines that need refills, and suggests refill routes that optimize operations and reduce downtime due to empty machines.

So, if you're looking for a full-featured, cost effective, and revenue-enhancing AI-as-a-Service (AIaaS) platform to manage distributed fleets of IoT infrastructure such as vending machines, stop by SECO's booth and see it for yourself.

In addition to seeing the Clea platform in action, visitors will also have the opportunity to learn how easy it is to integrate KarL4 - SECO’s contactless payment system certified for MasterCard, Visa, and giro card as well as digital wallets. For purchase amounts of less than EUR 50.00, a pin pad is not required. This not only saves space, but also installation costs and optimizes customer experience.

Retrofitting your coffee machine? No problem!

Retrofitting a vending or a coffee machine to make it smart is also no problem thanks to EASY EDGE. The EASY EDGE microcontroller, equipped with the Clea software, can be integrated with any machine to leverage the full potential of AI, as exemplified by a Coffee Machine Retrofitting demo developed in partnership with Evoca. Production data and device status are obtained through an MDB port using the EVA-DTS standard protocol and an EASY EDGE device connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi. GPS tracking is also enabled via a cellular connection interface or Wi-Fi access point. All information is captured every 15 seconds to provide a quick, real-time visualization of items sold. Each status update is received and analysed by EASY EDGE in about 10 seconds. SECO will demonstrate how easy it is to retrofit existing coffee machines with EASY EDGE and Clea at embedded world 2023 at booth 1-320.

AI for digital signage

AI-based digital signage featured in latest generation vending machines strengthens the customer experience not only displaying messages tailored to the user’s gestures and behaviors, but also assisting in the purchase process and making product recommendations . For companies, equipping vending machines with digital signage with built-in AI software like Clea means being able to change promotions in few moments and have direct information about users, all through a single dashboard.

Vending machines are just one example of devices that can be enhanced with Clea’s AI, to make the shopping experience and other business transactions more valuable and enjoyable . For example, EV charging stations can become intelligent, with targeted advertising, predictive maintenance, remote troubleshooting, license plate recognition, revenue and price management. A Clea AI EV charging station demo on display at the embedded world will give visitors a sample of these features, designed for the smart cities sector.

Come by and let SECO convince you

Besides these presented solutions, SECO booth offers a lot more.

Come and discover what SECO can do for your industry by stopping at our booth 1-320 during embedded world 2023 Exhibition&Conference from March 14 to 16 in Nuremberg, Germany.