When you think of the vending machine industry, you probably don’t think “innovation.” But two Portland companies are working very hard to bring some new thinking to a rather stagnant market.
One company is changing the machines from the outside. One is changing machines from the inside.
Making dumb vending machines smart
VendScreen has managed to build an Android device that makes old vending machines as powerful as the latest smartphone.
And the vending industry is taking notice. At NAMA—the big tradeshow for vending—the company walked away with five awards for its solutions.
VendScreen provides a rich user interface, using the same touch and swipe method people have already become familiar with in using their personal mobile phones. Industry statistics already validate the benefits of cashless acceptance. VendScreen builds on this and provides opportunities to increase sales by catering to consumers, improve ability to sell to everyone who wants to purchase an item even if they don’t have cash, increase sales through advertising and promotions, and reduce costs by providing data to improve routing efficiencies.
For more on VendScreen, watch CEO Paresh Patel pitch his solution.
Making snacks smarter
Providing innovative technology is one thing. But what about changing the snacks vending machines serve? That’s where Goodie Monster comes in.
From making vending machines fun and entertaining to filling them with healthy, nutritious food, Goodie Monster is working to change the way we snack. But they could use your help. And that’s why they’ve started a Kickstarter project. To help garner enough funding to move from prototype to production.
[Full disclosure: VendScreen was a PIE company. One of the folks helping Goodie Monster was part of the inaugural group in PIE in August of 2009. I work for PIE.]