Notes From Vendors Exchange International Inc. Open House: Technology Fever Is Running High

This past summer, Automatic Merchandiser and VendingMarketWatch have reported on several occasions that investment in technology has been increasing, in spite of the recession and possibly because of it.These are exciting times, and during the Vendors Exchange International Inc. 50th anniversary open house here in Cleveland last week, the excitement was in full force. It was a day filled with demonstrations of that companys new innovations, some of which are still in development.When I was first invited to the open house, I assumed that most attendees would be from within driving distance. Boy, was I wrong.Vending operators from all regions of the country came to see what the aftermarket pros were up to. There were about 160 total attendees.I asked every operator I spoke to why they came to the open house, and all said it was to see and learn more about technology. People in our industry are really recognizing the need to invest in cashless transaction capability, remote machine monitoring, digital video screens and other technologies.You can listen to some of these operators in their own words. We have been posting recorded interviews from the open house all week. Today, you can hear from J.C. Lowe at Fresh Brew Group USA in Houston, Texas.Yesterday, Tom Ries of Firelands Food Systems in Sandusky, Ohio noted the success his company is having with Starbucks E-Cup brewers, which require cashless payment only.These are challenging times for our industry. But if the recession is pushing vending operators to invest in the future, then Ill go as far as to say its been good for us.These are exciting times for our industry, and at the 50th anniversary open house at Vendors Exchange last week, you could feel it.