25 July 2018
Vending Machines and IoT: The future for facility managers
Vending machines are an important part of facility managers’ businesses. They can generate a significant amount of money, but only if they remain stocked. Annual sales for the vending machine industry are estimated to be about US$7 billion worldwide. When facility managers can’t keep a constant eye on them, however, it can be impossible to know what state stock levels are in. This can lead to empty machines, or worse, surplus supplies that go to waste. In either scenario, profit falls.
Like every other industry, the Internet of Things (loT) offers facility managers a way to dramatically improve their business. Connected devices offer a way for facility managers to be remotely and instantly alerted to dwindling stock levels in vending machines, increasing revenue and reducing expenses as a result. Think Amazon Dash, but for vending machines.
Button-in-Utilities devices change the game for vending machines
Smart button devices are one of the most simple and effective IoT devices in the world. The device works in a similar way to the Amazon Dash. One push of the button and individuals can contact the facility management company instantly. The device is plug-and-play and will work out of the box as soon as it is attached to vending machines. And because it is connected by the Sigfox network, the device will work even when there is no Wi-Fi. That makes it perfect for vending machines which can often be placed in remote locations not typically served by an affordable Internet connection.
How do Smart button devices work on vending machines?
Smart button devices can be installed discreetly on vending machines wherever facility managers have them installed. As the device is plug and-play, facility managers can install them without any set up. It’s as simple as sticking the device onto the vending machine.
With the device installed, facility managers no longer have to worry about vending machines running empty. When machine stocks run low, customers can simply push the button to notify the facility manager of the issue. Facility managers will receive the notification instantly and can then order products if necessary and schedule refills.
The benefit to users is clear. The reordering and replacement process becomes significantly easier by using connected devices. No more phone calls, emails or website visitors, the push of a button is all that is needed for clients to immediately get in contact with their facilities manager. This makes it a low maintenance solution for facilities managers.
How facility managers benefit
Smart button devices provide huge benefits to facility managers who run vending machines. Instead of scheduling regular refills during which maintenance teams find that the vending machine is completely out of stock or needs little refilling, facility managers can schedule refills when they know that the vending machine is running low. This dramatically improves the user experience for customers, too. If vending machines aren’t stocked regularly, there’s no reason for organizations to allow them on their property. By ensuring that machines are always sufficiently stocked, then, Smart button devices allow facility managers to retain and win more clients. The data generated by the devices also allows facility managers to gain better insight into their business. After months of operation, facility managers can use the data to begin to predict when machines will need refilling and can order supplies based on this predictive analysis. This means less wasted stock and lower operating costs.
For more information on how the IoT can empower facility management companies and how they can be used to refill and maintain vending machines, read the Sigfox Use Case study.