Innovative and cutting edge technology is now hitting vending machines, and even Starbucks and Keurig are getting into the vending business. These machines will dispense "High end premium coffee beverages, including lattes and cappuccinos, in a workplace environment and in less than a minute and half you can have a quality, bistro-type coffee experience right in your office," says Marc Whitener with the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA).
He says the new machines accept credit cards or smartphone payments and are connected to the Internet. And they can also offer value meals, "that will allow you to bundle transactions across multiple machine platforms."
And even though we usually associate vending machines with junk food, many of these machines carry fresh food, even fruit and salads.
These vending machines of the future, some already here around the New Orleans metro area in locations like hospitals and the airport, will also display nutritional information and show a product spinning 360 degrees on a 46-inch touch screen with a tap of a finger, and do all of this without what is probably the biggest problem with vending machines now. "So if you push a button for a certain product and it doesn't vend, it doesn't drop, for whatever reason, the machine knows it doesn't drop and allows you to make another selection," Whitener says, "Or it allows you to get a refund on the spot."
He says the machines are also connected to the Internet so the owner knows if they are empty or need servicing.
This free event will be held at Tulane University on Tuesday, November 13, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Thousands of products and samples will be given away NAMA says, and they're expecting thousands of Tulane students to attend.