Vending machines have evolved, it’s now more than just a machine that accepts coins and dispenses products, but it is integrated with high definition displays running dynamic graphics, smart enough to detect and respond to individual viewers, interact-able with customer or their smart phones, enable product recognition technology to ensure right product is loaded and dispensed, and stay in contact with operator to send in real time data via the cloud. In the future the machines will be built to understand gestures, accept payment via NFC, dynamically adjust pricing to changing parameters and call for help via cloud when repair is needed.
With this evolution, Intel has announced The Intel® Reference Design for Intelligent Vending which provides a fast and easy recipe for re-architecting traditional vending machines into highly-capable, Internet-connected machines allowing brands and operators to take advantage of new business opportunities, cloud services, and data analytics. Vending machine manufacturers can use the reference design to architect future machines or to retrofit existing ones.
Advantech is the first one to released a prototype based on the Intel® Reference Design for Intelligent Vending. Advantech delivers the Vending Machine Controller (VMC) functionality to a PC-based computing platform with a Vending Machine IO (VMI) board. PC based computing platform makes vending machines intelligent, allowing enhanced user experience with LCD and touchscreen interface, telemetry, proximity marketing, advertising and data analytics (real time promotion, pricing update, i.e.) using data coming from the cloud.
Fabrizio del Maffeo, Embedded Computing Group Sales Director of Advantech Europe said “The Vending market segment is transitioning to the digital era. We see huge opportunities for computing platforms in this market where Internet of Things plays a heavy role to drive business transformation. It is a great honor to work with Intel on delivering connected, secured and managed for Intelligent Vending.”
“With the Intel® Reference Design for Intelligent Vending we deliver IoT-ready computing technology to the vending industry,” stated Jose Avalos, Worldwide Director for Visual Retail at Intel’s IoT Solutions Division. “By adding intelligence to vending machines we are taking the current trend of digital makeovers a step further to make the vending experience more personal, interactive and fun for consumers while allowing brands and operators to utilize new business opportunities, cloud services and data analytics.”
Making Vending Machines Smart
The Advantech solution based on the Intel® Reference Design for Intelligent Vending provide developers easier access to typical machine peripherals such as coin dispenser and refrigeration by the integration of a hardware platform including a Vending Machine IO (VMI) and application programming interfaces (APIs) used by application software. This comprehensive solution is designed to significantly reduce the time to market for intelligent vending machines.
The Advantech solution based on the Intel® Reference Design for Intelligent Vending re-architects traditional vending machines into highly-capable, Internet connected machines. Vending machine manufacturers can use the solution to design future machines or to retrofit existing ones. The Advantech solution contains several hardware and software components, including:
Computing System: An Intel® processor-based platform with a VMI board replaces VMC, thus providing machines with wired Ethernet or broadband wireless connectivity to the outside world and the computing power needed to deploy emerging services. Vending machine manufacturers can choose three scalable families of processors including Intel® Core™ vPro™ processors, Intel® Atom™ processors and Intel® Quark processor which can run the same code (i.e., backward compatible) and are supported by a very large, established ecosystem of independent software vendors (ISVs).
Vending I/O Interface: Today’s vending machines use a wide range of bus protocols (e.g., CAN, ccTalk, MDB, USB) to communicate between the VMC and machine peripherals, such as control mechanics and note readers. The Advantech solution based on the Intel® Reference Design for Intelligent Vending contains a VMI board that supports these I/O interfaces and more.
Software Stack: The software stack, which includes an operating system, programming interfaces (APIs) to machine peripherals, and various applications. The Advantech solution provides a single API that accesses more than a dozen peripherals and can be used by application software to more easily access typical machine peripherals (e.g., coin ispenser, refrigeration).
Remotely Manage Multiple Devices with SUSIAccess: All Advantech platforms are bundled with Advantech SUSIAccess which provides remote device management and system recovery powered by Acronis, and system protection powered by McAfee, allowing users to easily monitor, configure, control, and even recover multiple systems through a single console from a remote site.
Advantech Offers Complete Product Portfolio to Fulfil Intelligent Vending Market Needs
As an Intel® Internet of Things Solutions Alliance Premier Partner, Advantech delivers a wide range of industrial hardware solutions from standard products to fully customized design to cover all requirements of vending machine manufacturers. Intel® Reference Design for Intelligent Vending and Advantech SUSIAccess can be integrated in all Advantech products. The resulting solution gives vending machine manufacturers the flexibility to develop their own vending platforms. The possibilities cover from embedded board connected to an industrial display to interactive touch computer, Advantech is able to fulfil all the different demands:
- AIMB-215 and Advantech Industrial Display Kits: AIMB-215 is the new Mini-ITX board based on Intel® Baytrail Celeron Quad Core J1900/N2920, connected with Advantech industrial grade LCD display IDK series (5.7″~21.5″), it delivers a fanless and durable solution for vending machines.
- UTC-520E: A 21.5″ interactive touch computer based on Intel® Core™ i5-4300U features an all-in- one computing system equipped with wide format, touch based LCD panel. It is easy to integrate key peripherals and display systems for diversified self-service and interactive signage deploy in different application areas. The systems deliver updated information with well-designed interactive interfaces, fully ensure relevant content and targeted promotions are delivered.
- UTX-3115: A fanless & wide-temp embedded box coupled with the Intel® Gateway Solutions for Internet of Things (IoT). The solution features a pre-integrated software and hardware platform containing a Linux operating system, security and management features. This out-of-the-box solution simplifies customer deployment of IoT products; and it allows secure data aggregation, filtering, and analysis from edge devices to the cloud through WiFi and/or even 4G technologies.