VENDORS EXCHANGE TRANSFORMS RETAIL AUTOMATION WITH FULLY INTERACTIVE DIGITAL SIGNAGE
The VE CONNECT is no ordinary vending machine. The “traditional” vending machine experience – dropping coins into a metal and glass box, punching numbers into a keypad, and watching a bag of pretzels fall from the slot – now has a ferocious challenger that comes with rotating 3D product images, sleek multimedia advertising, and unique informational displays, all experienced through a beautiful, intuitive, interactive touchscreen.
While the VE CONNECT is certainly transforming the traditional vending of chips and sodas, it is also moving the automated retail experience into other markets. You might soon spot the VE CONNECT interface distributing:
- Purple nail polish at grocery stores and malls
- Laptop batteries and other computer peripherals at business offices
- Protective gear such as goggles, helmets, and gloves at factories
- Fancy cupcakes at airports
A typical vending machine gives instant gratification in places where cost and/or space limitations make a regular store impossible or impractical. The VE CONNECT has that same benefit – in a much slicker package – but it also functions as a digital sign when no one is directly interacting with it and can be used as a virtual shopping device.
The VE CONNECT requires constant Internet connectivity for uninterrupted operations and an optimal customer experience. These machines are distributed all over the world in incredibly diverse locations including university campuses, factories, malls, airports, sidewalks, and business offices, each with different connectivity challenges. Vendors Exchange needed a single connectivity solution that was both affordable and would work in any environment.
With narrow profit margins, there is little room for error, especially with no one there to troubleshoot. “We wanted to make sure that when we integrated technology, we didn’t disrupt the existing functions of the VE Connect,” explains Chris Goumas, Senior Vice President of Business Development and User Experiences. “Installation of the Cradlepoint is seamless, enabling our machines to create a dynamic user experience.”
Vendors Exchange needed a network solution that was reliable, cost-effective, and could easily connect to any of the following Internet sources – depending on the unique needs of each diverse location:
- Public WiFi (e.g. university campuses)
- Private WiFi (e.g. office buildings)
- Mobile broadband from numerous carriers around the world
The Cradlepoint COR IBR600 with robust features in a small, M2M-designed package met the requirements. The Cradlepoint COR was built for flexible and reliable connectivity anywhere through Ethernet, WiFi, or its embedded modem that works with carriers around the world.
Vendors Exchange found a perfect marriage for its VE CONNECT in the Cradlepoint COR, in part because of its flexibility, but also because of its excellent reliability. “Shy of unplugging the device, Cradlepoint routers pretty much run all the time,” says Goumas. “That’s been something I haven’t had to worry about as we bring this game-changing technology to the world.”