While the MIND can be installed on nearly all vending machines (new and legacy machines), the same is not true for product recognition which for the time being requires a Revision Door from VEII to operate. It is the apparatus in the door that provides the pathways for movement of the recognition camera through exacting, precise patterns (X and Y axis coordinates).
Additional Benefits And Considerations
Following are other considerations and possible benefits of product recognition software.
- Positioning – realizing that there are prime spiral locations in vending machines is similar to recognizing advantageous shelf locations in a convenience store or supermarket. By knowing the prime locations within the vending machine space, this real estate can be strategically offered to product manufacturers. Product recognition software can be used to create a photo collage that proves product placement adhered to negotiated spiral allocations.
- Location Lift – the vending operator can correlate item sales based on where in the machine an item is placed (glass front) against its velocity of sales. Assigning a product to a favorable spiral location coupled with a reasonable selling price will contribute to overall revenue success through sales lift. When an item is found to be slow moving, it can be moved to a more better position within the machine, re-priced or replaced.
- Account Acquisition / Retention – product recognition software can be a competitive advantage in the negotiation or renegotiation of a vending account or location. Additionally, integration with MIND technology can provide a broader array of competitive advantage.
- Cleanliness – the camera can be used to photograph the inside of the vending machine and thereby become an effective service tool. Important to vending is the cleanliness and general upkeep of machinery and product display.
- Alternate Streams of Revenue – the MIND can be used in combination with product recognition software to display nutritional and ingredient information in addition to SKU and product pricing data.
- Flash Videos – if an LCD screen is installed on the vending machine, than there is the possibility of playing commercial advertisement videos of in-machine products (either as part of the MIND application or independently) and for presenting flash video promotions from nearby retail stores, movie theatres, restaurants or other surrounding businesses.
One of the most impressive innovative vending technologies is product recognition software. The ability to identify each product in every spiral can help vending operators be more efficient, product manufacturers get more effective, and render consumers better informed. When linked to nutritional data, product recognition evolves into an end-to-end consumer interface that enhances the vending experience. As Frank Guzzone, business developing manager of strategy and innovation for vending and OCS at Kraft Foods explained, "Combining the MIND with a product recognition camera represents a tremendous leap forward in vending technology." This step could help launch the next technology platform necessary to revitalize the vending industry.