Smartphone Tech Transforms The Humble Vending Machine

SAP has developed a machine and corresponding app that, when brought together, creates a customized purchasing experience for the user while giving vendors lots of useful data.

What's the Latest Development?


SAP has partnered with Vendors Exchange International to develop a "smart" vending machine that replaces old-school money transactions and passive displays with interactive technology. When the user holds a mobile device to the built-in sensor, the machine displays a touchscreen interface with purchase choices. An accompanying app allows it to "recognize" the user and offer more customized options, such as the ability to give feedback on the types of items available and send gifts to other app users. Of course, the machine also accepts digital payments.

What's the Big Idea?

It's yet more proof that the Internet of Things can create a leapfrog effect, turning relatively simple items into data-chugging powerhouses. In this case, the information sent and received by the machine all resides in the cloud, which makes it much easier for vendors to analyze transactions and determine inventory and performance remotely.  In a video demonstrating the machine at last month's TechCrunch Disrupt conference, SAP innovation leader Christian Busch described an algorithm that uses past sales and demographic data to predict what kinds of product selections would improve performance for a particular machine. 

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

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