From the Editor: Spring 2013
By Stefanie Croley
The future is now
By Stefanie Croley
Picture society 50 years from now. It’s 2063, and traditional grocery stores are nearly obsolete.
Picture society 50 years from now. It’s 2063, and traditional grocery stores are nearly obsolete. The aisles of grocery stores of the future are filled with rows and rows of vending machines. Customers walk up and down the aisles, selecting each item, until they get to the checkout. The world is completely cashless and card-free at this point. The checkout machine simply reads the customer’s fingerprint to complete the transaction. After everything is paid for, a receipt is transmitted into a smartphone (I can only imagine what the smartphones of 2063 will be like!). The machine dispenses bags full of the groceries the customer has picked out – in ultra eco-friendly bags, of course.
Sounds absurd, right? Of course it does. But 50 years ago, would anyone have anticipated that a vending machine would have the capability to dispense a live lobster, a hot pizza in three minutes, or farm-fresh milk and vegetables? Maybe. I’d like to have a conversation with anyone who predicted today’s technology to happen, if only to see what they expect for the future (and maybe to find out if they have a lucky lottery number or two!).
Technology of all forms has greatly changed the vending and OCS industries over the last few years. With time at a premium now more than ever, phone calls have been replaced by e-mailing and text messaging – now both convenient and acceptable practices in the business world. Over the past few years, social media has allowed us to connect with long-lost friends and family members, colleagues from around the world, and even complete strangers.
Besides having undergone these technological changes, the vending machines from just a few decades ago are dramatically different from what we’re seeing now, both esthetically and in terms of equipment and products. Society is quickly becoming cashless, more health-conscious and more rushed than ever. As the vending and OCS industries experienced in the last year in adjusting to Canada’s new polymer bills and lighter coins, ensuring your machines are equipped with the latest technology can be a daunting financial undertaking. But what’s the alternative? When it comes to your business, can you afford to be left behind?
The short version of the answer to that question is no. The long version is no, and although it’s scary and challenging and time consuming and expensive, you’re not alone. To keep the passion and dedication of everyone in this industry alive, moving forward is of the utmost importance. You might not be able to predict the future, but you can be prepared for it.