Everything Everywhere, the UK’s largest mobile operator, and Nokia Siemens Networks have announced a partnership that will offer vending machine owners the opportunity to increase revenue and reduce costs through remote stock monitoring, increased customer interaction and multiple payment methods.
Through the international partnership, vending machines will be linked to Nokia Siemens Networks’ VendMe application and installed with Everything Everywhere SIM cards, connecting them to both the UK’s largest 3G network and France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom’s (Everything Everywhere’s parent companies) international footprint.
This connectivity will allow vendors to monitor stock levels remotely and plan efficient replenishing of machines without the need to make site visits - offering environmental as well as efficiency and productivity benefits for fleet management teams.
Vendors will also have access to new ways to engage potential customers, through sending targeted messages to those people in the vicinity of a smart vending machine, and even interacting with customers and their contacts through their social networks of choice.
Once customers are at a smart vending machine, they will not need cash to make a purchase, but can take advantage of Near Field Communications (NFC) technology, through Orange Quick Tap from Everything Everywhere, or NFC-enabled cards. Contactless payments are also possible through reverse SMS and chip and pin, meaning the risk of leaving cash in machines is reduced, while the convenience to customers is increased.
The solution was this week awarded the Cloud-Based Vending Innovation award at the Global Telecoms Business Innovation Awards. The smart vending machines will be piloted during summer, with commercial roll-out expected to take place later this year.
Marc Overton, vice president Wholesale and M2M at Everything Everywhere said: ‘Vending is just one of many areas where we are offering innovative services outside the traditional telecoms remit. There is great potential for M2M technologies to provide companies operating internationally in all sectors with instant access to data, making businesses run better and improving the customer experience.
‘In Nokia Siemens Networks, we have a global partner that shares our focus on developing cloud-based applications to address the needs of all markets and customers, however far they may sit outside the traditional telecoms space,’ added Overton.
Bernd Gross, head of the M2M business line at Nokia Siemens Networks, added: ‘Nokia Siemens Networks is committed to driving the benefits of M2M applications into different industries by developing solutions that address a wide variety of requirements seamlessly and cost-efficiently. This partnership with Everything Everywhere means that we can offer our customers a reduced time to market of up to 60%, and with half-a-million vending machines across the UK and many millions more around the world, we see a great opportunity to use mobile broadband and our customer experience management expertise to offer an improved experience to people.’