Revolutionising Venpay’s Business Model with Eseye’s Ubiquitous Global AnyNet Connectivity

Smart vending machines have revolutionised the retail landscape and how customers experience a brand and its products. The coronavirus pandemic has only accelerated this shift in retail. Where physical stores have closed their doors, smart vending machines have remained operational and a safe, efficient channel for retail transactions.

At the heart of a smart vending machine lies four key components: interactive displays, sensors, connectivity, and payment technologies.

The average smart vending machine has between 50 and 100 sensors all keeping track of real-time data and metrics, for example, the number of items sold, time of day activity, sales per machine, and even more advanced data such as gender, length of time gazing at the display and time spent at the machine.

For smart vending machines to work at optimal performance and successfully collect continuous real-time data, they must rely on ubiquitous connectivity.

Many machines are Wi-Fi enabled. But many will be positioned outside of Wi-Fi zones (such as remote bus stops) or not allowed on the local network, or face interruptions when there is a modem issue, or the password is changed, and no one thinks to update the vending machine.

Mobile network connectivity has the potential to offer near-100% uptime. But it has its problems too. Did you know that cellular networks today cover around 98% of populated areas? However, they only cover 60% territory coverage (M. Hatton, W. Webb, The IoT Myth, 2020). This level of connectivity uptime effectively kills the vending machine business case.

Poor, unreliable connectivity has repercussions. It negatively affects device uptime and the smart vending machine’s ability to continuously collect real-time data. causes delays which impacts on customer experience, retention and brand reputation. Every minute of downtime means lost business.

Imagine what poor connectivity could cost a vending machine operator in the space of a year.

Venpay SpA is a leading Italian operator in the provision of telemetry services and payment terminal management in the vending sector, and the creator of an innovative consumer mobile payment app called “coffee cApp”. Venpay’s estate of smart vending machines offer hot drinks where commuters can grab their morning Lavazza coffee in XL sizes, as well as snacks, cold drinks and everyday objects, including personal care.

With customers in Italy, Spain, Switzerland and France, operating tens of thousands of vending machines, Venpay wanted the same reliable, easily deployable solution for all areas, with certainty over connectivity costs.

Venpay turned to Eseye, a leader in global cellular connectivity, to ensure their vending machine estate was powered by reliable top-tier solution.

Within two months of starting the project, Venpay installed thousands of Eseye’s AnyNet SIMs in new vending machines and machines located specifically in areas with unreliable connectivity.

Nicola Scardi, Head of Marketing and Business Development at Venpay said, “A reliable network connection is the core of our market proposition. We need it to enable mobile payments and retrieve real-time alarms and sales from each vending machine so we can deliver customer satisfaction and supply chain efficiency.”

“We provide a full-service solution to our customers – hardware, connectivity, service and support,” Scardi explained. “In order to manage and sustain our business model, we need a competitive, fixed monthly fee, tailored to our application’s average data consumption.”

What makes Eseye’s cellular connectivity stand out in the market is its advanced AnyNet connectivity solution. Each SIM that is embedded into Venpay’s machines has unique multi-IMSI technology. An International Mobile Subscriber Identity or IMSI is a number used to authenticate a SIM on a cellular network. Each IMSI has an allowed network coverage list attached. In other terms, a limited number of Operator Networks can be attached for a specific IMSI. This limit is depending on the number of roaming agreements which have been negotiated and agreed between an operator and their network partners.

Eseye’s AnyNet SIM is configured to hold multiple IMSI profiles, which can be switched between to improve device connectivity and up-time. So, if Network A’s connectivity levels drop or lag for any reason, the AnyNet SIM can dynamically switch over-the-air to Network B, C or D’s service to ensure connectivity is not interrupted or lost. This fallback capability optimises connectivity, device performance and reduces costs.

Between these profiles and their roaming options, Eseye provides access to over 700 mobile networks worldwide to achieve near 100% up-time for Venpay’s estate. The AnyNet connectivity solution gives Venpay complete confidence that their machines are connected to the network with the strongest and best available connection at any given time, in any given location across the world. See how it works in our video here

Armed with connectivity reassurance, Venpay is currently working with IVS Group, one of the top vending machine operators in Europe, tailoring its telemetry and payment services to a new range of vending machines for the Paris Metro. 1,250 installations are currently underway and will feature the introduction of interactive touch displays and improved user interfaces to enhance the customer experience.

“Switching across different local operators is the major benefit and improvement we were looking for” Scardi said. “Eseye helped us overcome the connectivity issues we had in several locations, where a single operator couldn’t provide the minimum signal required to maintain an acceptable service level to our customers and users.”

Key Features

  • Ubiquitous global connectivity: achieve over 99.8% device connectivity uptime across more than 190 countries globally.
  • Out-of-the-box, zero-touch provisioning: automatic over-the-air connection and setup of the device with no on-site configuration
  • Central management: One global point of contact for service, support and billing for all IoT device connectivity; no need for multiple mobile network operator contracts and associated support agreements.
  • Improved connectivity resilience: AnyNet SIM with multi-IMSI capability allows complete autonomy to switch networks whilst preserving multiple fallback bootstraps in the event of an OTA switch.
  • AnyNet Connectivity Management Platform: Network-level dynamic switching capabilities, private APN and Secure Data Provisioning, and offers users complete ownership of the SM-SR.
  • Flexible integration: multiple out-of-the-box integration options with Cloud providers (e.g AWS, Azure).