iPhone-Inspired Technologies Coming to Vending Machines
By Tom Ryan
At the recent National Automatic Merchandising Association show
in Chicago, both Kraft and Coca-Cola wowed the crowd by showcasing vending
machines with screens similar to those of iPhones.
Instead of viewing plastic-wrapped
foods behind plastic windows, Kraft’s Diji-Touch shows digital images of chips
or candy bars on a 46-inch Samsung-designed LCD screen. Tapping the screen
enlarges the images. Brushing the screen causes the item to swivel, allowing
shoppers to peek at ingredients or nutritional information as well as a 360–degree
view of product. It also has the capacity to enable consumers to play games
to win prizes or additional snacks. Using Samsung’s UVending technology, the
vending machine is designed to deliver animated and interactive advertising
(both banner and full-screen), as well as video content and promotional offers
that can change dynamically, based on scheduling or on a machine-by-machine
"Traditional vending machines have been the
same way for about 30 years," remarked Paul Schindelar,
vice president Vending/OCS food service at Kraft Foods, to the Chinese news
agency Xinhua. "This is something that can really help the industry
move into a much more technologically advanced direction. In addition, all
the payment systems are cashless."
Coke’s machine works similarly but also
includes some animation flair. For instance, touching a Sprite symbol springs
forth a cascade of limes.
"It takes what used to be a very transactional experience into an interactive
experience, which includes sight, sound, motion and touch … after you touch
the screen to make a selection, you can actually interact with the bottle by
touching the screen to play a little, or check out its nutritional facts,"
Jeffery Busch, director of on-premise equipment innovation and operation from
Coca-Cola North America, told Xinhua. "It is all wireless. We just need
to call into the machines and download the latest content. We are trying to
bring people back to the experience of vending."
Kraft officials admitted
that the technology doesn’t behave exactly like an iPhone or iPod screen but
it’s close enough for at least younger consumers.
"It’s incredible how much Apple has influenced our basic actions." John
Turner, responsible for vending innovation for Coca-Cola, told the Chicago
Both machines are expected to be rolled out this winter.
What do you think of the potential of vending machines utilizing iPhone-like
touchscreen technologies? To what degree do you think such technologies could
revolutionize the vending machine industry?
- Vending Industry,a high-tech attraction at Chicago show – Xinhua via
Coke move to iVend – Chicago Tribune