NAMA VDI specifications are designed to be extensible, uniform, and stable as well as manufacturer and device neutral. In other words, NAMA VDI standards are “open” technology standards.
The Data EXchange standard, DEX, is capable of capturing cash in/out data, product movement data, and audit data. DEX data is designed to assist operators with product replenishment strategies, product mix rotations, and cash management safeguards.
MORE ACCESS TO AND GREATER USE OF DEX DATA
In order to optimize contribution margins while controlling operating expenses, DEX data can play an important role in productivity and profitability improvement. Since standards existed that controlled the collection and storage of data, a data transfer standard (DTS) was devised so that the data could be exported from the machine in a decipherable electronic format. Once the information is transmitted, it can be entered into a VMS and used to determine product mappings, route coverage and sales performance.
The DTS protocol is often considered an integral part of the DEX standard, not a separate element.
A Multi-Drop Bus (MDB) is an internal communication protocol designed to ensure that coin mechanisms, bill validators, and cashless payment devices can be properly interfaced to a vending machine controller (VMC) without regard to proprietary manufacturing. MDB, often compared to USB standards used in generic computer component interfacing, replaces prior practices built on supplier-specific design connectivity.
An MDB cable (also termed a harness) provides the physical connectivity for peripheral devices to the VMC and is part of the movement toward open system architecture in vending technology.
In essence, vending machine-level data capture involves the retrieval of stored audit information (a snapshot) via local or remote transfer. In fact, some telemetry providers actively monitor the MDB bus to detect, in real-time, product sales movement and operational alerts.
Machine-level data formatting and content derivation conforms to the European Vending Association Data Transfer Standard (EVA-DTS) and provides access to status data, testing routines, transaction data and machine setup.
In a typical data connection, a device actively surveys the vending machine for stored data, then follows DTS standards for transmission. Once the data transfer is completed, vending machine-level data can be wrapped in NAMA VDI messaging for subsequent distribution to installed vending application software servers.
OPEN STANDARDS: NON-PROPRIETARY INTERFACES
The purpose of the NAMA VDI standard is to establish transparent, non-proprietary interfaces that enable transportation of data among the main components of a vending system (e.g., vending machine, telemetry system, cashless payment system, specialty applications, and vending management software.) The non-proprietary nature of NAMA VDI renders it an open standard.
NAMA VDI relies on messaging standards to satisfy data interchange needs and is not concerned with the entity transmitting or receiving such messages. For example, a messaging standard governing the transmission of machine-level DEX data may originate from the machine, an advanced telemetry device, or the file server of another. NAMA VDI mandates that message format conform to the technical specifications of the standard, regardless of the entity creating the message.
ELEMENTS OF DATA MESSAGING
The NAMA VDI Task Force has identified the following seven elements as important to data messaging (interchangeable/exchangeable data files): 1) DEX data messaging — sent or requested captured DEX data file; 2) Alert data messaging — may originate from the VMC, DEX, or MDB depending on telemetry provider; 3) Device status — device configuration and/or service request; 4) Device configuration — sent device configuration and/or status reporting; 5) Security authorization — defines cooperative agreement partners; 6) Machine messaging — reconfigures machine to EVA standards; 7) Device messaging — provides confirmation of download instructions.