AVT Inc. commented on the recent "State of the Industry Report" recently released in Automatic Merchandiser, according to a press release.
Machine manufacturers such as AVT are implementing capabilities such as cloud computing, transaction flexibility and target marketing built in to machines. Also, leading suppliers like Kraft Foods are integrating facial-recognition technology into their latest vending machine prototypes. Major technology providers, including Intel and Cisco Systems are also entering this arena and designing solutions for vending, according to the study.
"Technology is playing an ever-increasing role in the transformation of the consumer experience at the machine to deliver the convenient and interactive encounter younger consumers expect," said Dan Mathews, EVP and COO of NAMA (North America Merchandising Association). "These innovations both benefit consumers and provide operators increased efficiencies and growth opportunities."
The most dramatic development is the surge of automated retailing centers, according to the release. These self-checkout stores provide customers with products including perfume, electronics, clothing, food and beverages, medicine and sunglasses, among others. The touchscreen kiosks are designed to accept a number of payment options and systems that dispense sensitive items can be equipped with fingerprint recognition scanners to assure consumer identity.
Web-based, 24-hour surveillance enables operators to access live feeds at any time of day or night, or view recorded footage as necessary. Some of the kiosks are also equipped with around-the-clock customer support allowing end-users to resolve issues on the spot.
According to a Frost & Sullivan research study published by Intel, "Global shipments of intelligent vending machines are forecasted to grow at a 49 percent compound annual growth rate from 2010 to 2016."
"With these kinds of numbers, we couldn't be more excited about this revitalization," said Mathews. "New machines, products and technology are emerging every day, and the future of vending and refreshment services is very bright."
Read more about vending kiosks.