BY BILL BRUCE
EDITOR, REFRESHMENT MAGAZINE
In the past few years, the cost of ‘smart’ technology has decreased, just as its effectiveness has increased. The Internet of Things (IoT) creates the opportunity for everything to be connected – a subject regular readers will know is almost an obsession of mine!
In each issue of Refreshment magazine, we report on innovations which both enhance the consumer experience and improve real-time back-office data collection. At the one end we see more and more interactive touchscreens and app-controlled devices, bringing machines in line with consumer expectations for ease of use – and at the other, we see operators able to monitor stock levels and fix problems remotely. New and exciting technologies such as facial recognition and voice activation are beginning to play their part as vending gives way in some markets to ‘unattended retailing’ and the micro-market concept.
In this month’s issue, we have a feature on ‘water plus’. According to Zerica director Gemma Tuxford: “People don’t just want chilled water, they want sparkling water, they want hot water, they want juice, tea and coffee – and by the way, they want the technology to manage it efficiently. End users want a fun, engaging and intuitive touchscreen user interface with multiple options, while distributors want a comprehensive overview of their installed machines: to visualise consumption levels, to monitor flavours, to have visibility of technical issues, to monitor service requests, and even to resolve problems remotely.
The fourth industrial age is already with us and is about to change this industry beyond recognition. And that’s why the main feature in the next issue will be about ‘interactive technologies’.
Have you integrated interactive technologies into your cooler, coffee or vending machines? Have you specified these at point of manufacture, or retro-fitted them? I’d like to hear your experiences and understand both the end-user and back-office benefits you have gained. Be part of the story Refreshment magazine shares with its vast audience and contact me today.
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© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019