Application Introduction

Vending machines have been in use by retailers for many years as self-serve solutions to sell beverages, snacks, and tickets to consumers. In recent years, vending machines have proliferated both in numbers and diversity. They can be found in many public locations as well as private facilities, selling different types of goods and services. They are also becoming more and more intelligent, supporting better user interfaces and offering more selection.


ADLINK SEMA Cloud industrial grade solution and
Mini-ITX boards to optimize vending machine business

Application AdvancedTCA Wi-Fi Offload Solution
ADLINK SEMA Cloud industrial grade solution and Mini-ITX boards to optimize vending machine business

Situation

  • High cost of maintenance and support (software updates, troubleshooting and repairs)
  • Revenue loss when a vending machine goes out of order

These challenges can be met with an Internet of Things (IoT) solution enabled through two-way communication between vending machines and a cloud server. In the machine-to-cloud direction, hardware status information and business data are periodically sent to the cloud server. Hardware status information is processed in real-time for health assessment and failure detection. Data is stored in a database for further analysis and modeling. In the cloud-to-machine direction, commands and data can be sent to manage, control, and configure the vending machines. This includes performing remote diagnostics as well as pushing software updates to all devices as required.


Solution Architecture

Shown below is the end-to-end architecture of the Vending Machine Management and Analytics solution based on hardware, software, and cloud technologies from ADLINK. In this solution, new and/or legacy vending machines are connected to the internet via broadband or wireless connection. Data from vending machines are then aggregated and stored on the cloud. From there, the data can be accessed via web-based dashboard, or retrieved by external applications for analytics purposes. Commands and data can also be sent from the cloud to remotely manage and control the vending machines.

System Diagram SEMA: Smart Embedded Management Agent Computer-on-Module


The key building blocks of the solution are:

  • Intelligent vending machines based on an ADLINK Mini-ITX boards and Computer on Module or custom solution, collecting device data and supporting remote management, control and configuration.
  • ADLINK IoT Gateways, aggregating data from multiple vending machines and connecting securely to the cloud.
  • ADLINK SEMA Cloud solution, enabling edge-to-cloud integration and supporting cloud-based management of vending machines and real-time monitoring of machine data.
  • ADLINK SEMA Cloud API, exporting device data and control points for use by external applications.

IoT Solution Benefits

Retailers have the most to benefit from this IoT solution for vending machine management and analytics. Operational expenses are significantly lowered due to reduced resources directed at on-site care, maintenance and repairs. Moreover, Internet based monitoring helps to optimize delivery schedules and streamline logistics.

Business performance will also greatly benefit from an increase in vending machine uptime. Pricing of sold goods can be dynamically adjusted and simplified inventory tracking helps optimize the range of available goods. Last but not least, increased transparency improves business insights into the entire sales process.


Products in Use

SEMA ADLINK Computer-on-Module ADLINK Mini-ITX Embedded Boards
Smart Embedded 
Management Agent
 
Computer-on-Module  Mini-ITX Embedded Boards 
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