Vending Telemetry has been around since long before the term “M2M” was coined.
Vending machines are one of the classic use cases cited in just about any item about M2M!
This is probably because just about everyone is familiar with vending machines, and also familiar with the frustration of a machine which is broken, or out of stock, or out of change – or all three!
Thus there are clear customer benefits to getting these conditions reported and, thus, rectified as quickly as possible. The whole point of vending machines is that they can operate unattended – so some form of remote monitoring is clearly essential to prompt problem reporting.
In addition to the customer benefits, there are also clear benefits to the machine operators:
- Up-to-date sales information allows restocking visits to be optimised – so that unnecessary visits are avoided, and sales are not lost due to lack of stock or change;
- Up-to-date machine status information can help to optimise service and repair visits – and may even enable some problems to be identified before they develop into service-affecting faults.
In these days of tightened budgets and heightened environmental awarness, anything that can reduce unnecessary work and travel has to be a good thing!
Once a communication facility is in place, this also opens up a whole range of new possibilities – such as changeable advertising, cashless payment, etc.
Generally, vending machines don’t come ready-fitted with remote monitoring capability, so adopting M2M (or “Telemetry”) requires retrofitting some sort of communication device – which is where our extensive experience of interfacing, control, and communication with embedded microcontrollers comes in.
For some case studies, see: