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CAMA connection: The Future Of Kiosks And Vending

The Future Of Kiosks And Vending


March 31, 2008
By Lorna Garratt

Topics

If you are looking for a new business opportunity, or want to expand
services and create another revenue source, you could look at kiosk
vending equipment as the answer.

If you are looking for a new business opportunity, or want to expand services and create another revenue source, you could look at kiosk vending equipment as the answer.

Kiosks offer new revenue streams for products and services formerly unavailable. Progressive operators can add a number of services to their routes with the latest coin/cash/credit card kiosks made by many manufacturers. Many of these manufacturers offer turnkey solutions that include pay Internet access, postcard and gift card photo printing and manipulation, coupon printing, shopping mall information and many more.

Advertising revenue and the sale of services is the most common pay-for-use kiosk solution. However, music and ringtone downloads, cell phone charging stations and many other innovative solutions are popping up.

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These vending solutions are usually nothing more than a pay-as-you-play computer that doesn’t vend a physical product … with the exception of specialty machines selling high-priced inventory at the airports.

Isn’t it time that the vending equipment manufacturers looked at the amazing opportunities kiosks may offer to the industry? If the manufacturers made software changes to their control boards, there could be a whole new revolution in vending.

Technically, the MDB protocol uses “9-bit” to “talk” to coin acceptors and other peripherals. Computers are not capable of talking “9-bit” easily; computers talk “8-bit.” If the equipment manufacturers made a version of a simple 8-bit protocol with specific commands to write to the display, intercept and transmit keystrokes from the keypad, and allow a command to force a vend motor to run, the possibilities for new innovative designs and limitless enhancements would become available overnight. At least one Spanish manufacturer has already done it.

Imagine a vending machine with a real touch screen, pictures and descriptions of items for sale, Internet connectivity, downloadable advertising and where you could view everything about your equipment online. You could sell items that you normally wouldn’t, or couldn’t before.

Software programmers can create vending machines with the capabilities of your desktop computer. Add barcode scanners for coupon redemption, fingerprint scanners, $35 credit card readers using your own credit card processing account, add a web cam for less than $20 and watch the products being vended.

Look at all the products, services and capabilities available with your computer. These could be made available in your vending machines quite easily. Innovators and integrators could mount computers on these machine for less than the cost of a bill validator and coin acceptor combination.

Look at how much versatility could be added to the vending machine.

A single computer could control an entire bank of equipment, easily creating a self-serve convenience store.
Imagine, shopping by touch-screen. Simply touch the item you want and the machine vends it.

An equipment revolution is around the corner; we just have to get everyone to listen.o


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