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Simplifying Cloud-Connected Vending Machines

Most vending machines today focus on collecting money, providing change, and dispensing products. This limited functionality is largely due to machine architectures based on low-end microcontrollers that lack the compute power and ease of reprogramming needed to implement new services which vending operators, brands, and consumers are now demanding. 

In trying to keep vending machine cost low, designers often focus on their particular component and fail to take a system level approach, which may actually result in a higher cost system. 

An alternative approach is to combine all vending machine functions onto a single Intel® architecture processor-based board, which can actually be less expensive than all the boards it replaces. This also makes new feature integration easier, which is an important factor when making investment decisions that consider the suitability of machine designs into the future.

Solution overview

The Intel® IoT Retail Gateway Reference Design for Intelligent Vending provides a solution for re-architecting traditional vending machines into highly-capable, Internet-connected machines that can offer engaging consumer experiences, drive business transformation, support new transaction models, and reduce operating costs. The key building blocks include:

  • An Intel® IoT Gateway
  • Vending machine I/O (VMI) board, and
  • Vending machine API

Solution Benefits

  • Provides an “all-in-one” architecture for vending, which eases software management as well as provides a future-proofed compute platform.
  • Decreases the risk associated with design investments as the technologies are tried and tested.
  • Reduces engineering time through VMI design work available in the Intel Retail IoT Gateway for Intelligent Vending, also supported by an established supply chain.
  • Eliminates the complexities of vending protocols by integrating a vending machine API.
  • Delivers an integrated, pre-validated, and flexible IoT gateway platform, including foundational hardware, software, and security building blocks to speed up solution development and deployment.
  • Specifies a proven recipe for building scalable solutions with standards-based interfaces and ensuring secure communications between vending machines and the cloud.
  • Enables business innovation on proven technologies that provide the computing power, connectivity, security, manageability, and ease of reprogramming needed to support advanced services.
  • Facilitates the implementation of new revenue generating functions, such as digital advertising or product recognition, without requiring additional platform investment. 

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