November 1st, 2018
By Jeff Adair, Editor

Artificial intelligence (AI) has emerged as one of the most powerful tools in improving business performance, and the benefits have already been realized by forward thinking vending operators. A presentation on AI by Hivery, an Australia based AI technology company, drew an enthusiastic audience during the recent Atlantic Coast Exposition in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

“It’s a massive opportunity to increase revenue, decrease costs and ultimately meet consumers’ needs,” said Sharon Kolstad, business development and change lead manager at Hivery .

AI, a computer tool that can perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence, is not completely foreign to most people today, although many people may not recognize its presence. Kolstad noted that Instagram, Facebook and Siri are consumer tools that use AI. Financial service companies use AI in fraud protection.

Crane Merchandising Systems recently launched simplifi, its next generation cloud platform for enterprise and connectivity software designed for operators. simplifi is developed as a native cloud platform with solutions delivered as Software as a Service (SaaS), eliminating the need for upfront investment in servers, licensing and IT staff.

The mobile-friendly platform allows users to access their data and perform key actions from any device, anywhere.

“By automating operations with this affordable solution, vending operators achieve a higher degree of inventory accuracy and route efficiency, saving time and enable businsiness growth," said Scott Matza, global product manager for enterprise software. “We plan to make significant investment in simplifi in the years ahead to introduce enhancements and innovations to the platform and provide customers with new capabilities frequently and seamlessly.”

Jabil Inc. , a provider of design, manufacturing, supply chain and product management services, has introduced a connected platform to simplify and expedite the process of adding advanced digital technologies to installed vending machines. The solution integrates vending machine hardware, software, user interface, payment, wireless communications and remote management into one connected platform.

“Making vending machines smarter requires cross-domain technology expertise, real-time data visibility and actionable insights into customers’ purchasing patterns,” said Frederic McCoy, senior vice president, Jabil Retail. “Our smart upgrades create unprecedented value for vending machine owners and operators, as well as product distributors and property owners.”

Jabil can enable traditional vending machines to offer touchscreen controls, video, audio, scent, gesture-based interaction and cashless payment.

USA Technologies Inc . has announced the availability of ePort G9 with Interac Flash, a contactless debit solution, to the Canadian market. Using the ePort G9, unattended retail businesses in Canada can expand their payment acceptance options by providing consumers with the ability to use their Interac Flash-enabled bank debit cards when making purchases.

The ePort G9 is a PCI-compliant, Interac Flash compatible, two-piece card reader and telemetry system that supports both traditional magnetic stripe credit along with the newer, NFC technology found in contactless cards and mobile wallets. The hardware is supported by the full ePort Connect and Seed suite of services, providing one of the unattended retail industry’s first enterprise solutions.

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