Driving a Data Revolution in Vending Industry


aiio & Fast Food Service

Fast Food Service and the aiio platform is all about connecting equipment and providing services for maintenance and business intelligence to vending machine operators such as McDonald’s, Starbucks and CircleK service stations.

aiio makes smart and innovative connectors and sensors enabling IoT for non-IoT equipment and connects data safely with any system and any actor in your business ecosystem.

The challenge

A Brand Manager responsible for vending machines used in more than 400 nationwide service stations contacted Aiio and asked them to help him to improve sales, reporting, secure quality and protect their brand across all stations.

Reporting the machine operations required every station manager to manually collect the data from each vending machine console. The brand manager receives the data with email and  he update a spreadsheet and statistics. The analytics and reports are shared as paper or PDFs. This process is time-consuming, inaccurate as well as “too little, too late” and not valuable for tactical marketing and sales efforts.

Quality assurance is business critical,  tedious and cumbersome for the decentralized operation. High quality standards are difficult to meet due to lack of preventive maintenance, refiles and required adjustments. Error conditions are often reported by customers at the station, and such happenings are often recognized as poor quality and bad service.

The Brand Manager challenged aiio to prove that they could collect secure a  2-way digital communication with the disconnected vending machines and deliver real-time data. He was also curious to learn how aiio could extend their business analytics with real-time data and provide intelligence which he could use to increase revenue, secure their high-quality standards as well as reduce maintenance time and costs.

The action

A project was established as a joint venture and we shared the tasks accordingly to develop the solution.

aiio develops the hardware for retrofit connectivity to the internet. Nornir configured the Synx service to share vending data with Real Time Web. Together we coded web portal to demonstrate the business value.

We worked a few weeks as an integrated team and shared knowledge and insight, develop and tested the connectivity from vending machine to the web portal.

The Brand Manager gave us access to 5 vending machines operated by the customer and we retrofitted these machines with the aiio.device and connected these to the event-driven Real Time Web using Synx Domain.

The Solution

The web portal uses real-time information from each of the connected vending machines.

The obvious savings and value-add were according to the Brand Manager, above expectations.

Direct sales results from the distributed point of sales in real time. Improved business intelligence analytics with flexible graphs and modeling. Secure service quality with real-time monitoring of all supplies and bins. Reduce costs with predictive maintenance to avoid failures.

We used open data such as local traffic and weather data to demonstrate real-time analytics to plan, operate and review sales and marketing tactics. Correlated with the vending data we could predict if drivers would stop and be responsive to hot or cold refreshments.

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