Category: Best Machine Innovation – sponsored by Lavazza
Product: Digital Vend Touch
Company Name: Aeguana
Applicant Name: Jason Vincent
Applicant Company: Aeguana
The Digital Vend Touch is an entirely new approach to vending, centred on a modular, bespoke technology platform that enables us to do just about anything (quite literally). Our primary machine range (abbreviated to the DVT) is only a starting point – it’s the underlying technology we’ve developed that’s important.
We’ve designed the DVT not just as a vending machine for existing product categories (such as traditional snacks and energy drinks), but also as a suitable retail solution for a host of new product categories that are emerging – from “on-the-go” power banks, to flavoured water pods, age restricted e-cigarettes to social media triggered product sampling.
Each client we work with can specify their exact user interface, customer journey and technology requirements. In some cases we have cameras and perform facial recognition. In others we scan passports and ID cards in real time to verify someone’s age.
Payment technology has been modularised and taken very seriously. We are entirely digital, so don’t support any cash based payments – a decision once looked upon as controversial but increasingly accepted as the new norm. Each machine can be cashless (contactless/chip/swipe) or integrate a range of digital payment solutions, such as mobile app based payments, monthly product subscriptions (eg: collect a protein bar every weekday for a month), and cryptocurrency payments such as Bitcoin (BTC) among others.
Due to the fully integrated nature of the technology, every machine comes connected as standard to our VendLive platform. We see this as more than a ‘standard’ telemetry system. It enables real-time sales and error reporting at a very detailed level, but also provides remote update capabilities for everything – from product images to product pricing, standby media to nutritional information. Whatever customers see (and in some cases can’t see) can be managed by operators or brands themselves, in real time, through a sophisticated synchronisation system, designed to operate in the most remote environments. Our platform also supports external API’s, enabling customers to build their own application and solutions that integrate with and manage their machines.
As high streets struggle to the emergence of countless digital retail alternatives, we are confident that vending will play an increasingly important role – but consumers expect more – and brands are becoming more aware of the need to deliver their product in innovative ways. That’s where the Digital Vend Touch (DVT) comes in.
Our technology has been proven to increase sales by providing greater brand visibility and engagement opportunities, and has won numerous awards and honourable mentions, from the British Engineering Excellence Award, to winning the Innovations category of the British Medical Journal Award for its use in intelligently dispensing HIV Self Test Kits whilst collecting key epidemiological data. No sensitive data is stored, but by encrypting the customer’s phone number we can ensure each user is validated and can only collect one kit every 28 days.
Aeguana develops even more experimental technology for marketing and brand engagement which we trial with select customers. This has included emotion sensing capabilities that trigger different rewards (happy customers pay less for instance) being widely used in PR events and marketing campaigns. The underlying technology is then evaluated and often finds its way back into our core machine technology, enabling us to continually improve on it.
Our technology is not just limited to the Digital Vend Touch range – we also partner with existing manufacturers to integrate our modules and deliver the same benefits but on different machines. We’ve worked with Jofemar to integrate our technology onto their machines, leveraging both their engineering and our technological expertise. We’ve then worked closely with brands such as Tossed to deliver fresh salads daily, with our software enabling complex “meal deals”, dynamic pricing throughout the day, and monitoring temperature hourly, reporting any anomalies back to their restaurants and our service desk.
For the future we’re working on leveraging artificial intelligence to increase sales and help customers make better product choices, along with integrating with blockchain solutions to enable truly autonomous organisations to be created – where machines are financed by third party investors, providing a variable rate of return directly linked to the sales and profit margins of each and every machine, disrupting the traditional lease finance model.