Blog - Vending Machine News
July 15, 2011 – 1:31 pm
Developed by a German company, the first gold vending machine appeared over two years ago at Frankfurt airport on a one-day showing. Following this it was permanently sited in Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace hotel around a year later.
Various sizes of gold bar are available from these vending machines, depending on the depth of the customer’s pocket. The vending machines also automatically update their price of gold every 10 minutes, to ensure the rates are aligned with the ever-changing market value.
Security is obviously major consideration with vending machines of this kind. Weighing in at 500 kilograms, the outer casing is constructed from stainless steel and 4cms of molybdenum steel – the machines also feature anti money laundering software to help keep sales legitimate.
The vending machine in Abu Dhabi has shown itself to be a success, and following this initial installation these machines have since been adopted by a number of different countries.
England is the now the latest country to get one of these vending machines. The machine was installed in west London’s Westfield shopping centre late last month.
March 2, 2011 – 4:36 pm
Many vending machines in Taiwan will now be subject to a new law following recent regulation changes made by the government. The new regulation comes in to affect this month and states that all public drinks vending machines in Taiwan will now be required to have a recycle-bin situated within 50m of the machine.
As explained by an Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) executive, the new regulation has been implemented in order to close a loophole in their current waste recycling policies. Shopping centres and other shops are already obliged to recycle waste containers and batteries – now there will also be a requirement throughout the country for vending machines and beverage shops to provide recycle bins for customers.
It is reported that vending machine operators who do not comply with the new rule can be fined between $60,000 and $300,000 (Taiwan Dollars). At the time of writing, this works out to approximately &163;1,200 – &163;6,200 (UK Sterling), $2,000 – $10,100 (US Dollars) or €l1,450 – €l7,300 (Euros).
October 22, 2010 – 12:38 pm
A vending machine selling live crabs has been installed in a shopping centre in Nanjing, China.
The Chinese Mitten Crab – also known as the Shanghai Hairy Crab – is considered a delicacy in the region and needs to be served fresh. In an attempt to take advantage of its high demand, one unnamed businessman has found a way to conveniently and cheaply sell the crab, while also keeping them pretty much as fresh as possible: by keeping them alive and supplying them through a vending machine.
The vending machine is kept refrigerated to a chilly 5 degrees Celsius; a temperature low enough to coerce the crabs in to a state of hibernation. This helps to stop them from moving around too much, and apparently eases the discomfort of being trapped inside a box [inside a bigger box].
Additionally, the low overheads of operating vending machines compared with that of staff managed retail mean the crabs can be sold approximately one third cheaper than in shops.
August 18, 2010 – 11:18 am
Britvic Soft Drinks have worked together with Juicy Drench spring water to create vending machines which reward customers with a free drink, providing they successfully beat one of the touch-screen mind games developed for the machines.
The idea is to demonstrate that a properly hydrated brain has a greater capacity for completing tests of mental agility, while of course entertaining the user at the same time.
Similar recent vending machine marketing initiatives include the ‘Share Happy’ vending machine, which uses facial recognition technology to determine the emotional state of the user – and rewards ice cream if they are deemed ‘happy enough’. More on this story can be found in our blog post here: Smile, you’re on [a vending machine] camera!
This new ‘intelligent vending machine’ from Britvic will feature around 40 different games – which can also be played online – the games range from mathematically based challenges to traditional ‘spot the difference’ types. Train stations and shopping centres in Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester and London will be the first locations to see these new vending machines.
August 4, 2010 – 10:34 am
Condom vending machines are likely to be installed in various places around the Commonwealth Games Village in New Delhi, India. The National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) is responsible for the plans, and intends to offer free condoms in an effort to reduce the risk of a potential influx in the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases and infections during the fortnight of the competitions.
The plans result from the vast numbers of tourists expected to be brought to the area by the Commonwealth Games. Free condoms are expected to be handed out to athletes competing in the games, as well as to support and administrative staff who will be located at the site.
For others, condoms will be available free of charge from chosen venues around the Games village, and also for a low cost from condom vending machines which are to be installed at selected locations around the village and stadia. About 200 condom machines are expected to be installed in the area – the campaign is part of a larger government initiative to distribute condoms over the country, in continued attempts to reduce the impact and spread of HIV/AIDS.
July 29, 2010 – 2:23 pm
A first for the UK – Sainsbury’s have begun trials of prescription medication vending machines in two Sussex branches of the superstore.
Upon registering with the vending machine, customers are given a unique ID and PIN number to be later used to collect prescriptions. Before stocking machines with the required medication, a trained pharmacist manually ensures the validity of prescriptions as a preventative measure against potential abuse; the medication is then placed in to the kiosk along with any applicable usage instructions.
To collect prescriptions, customers simply sign in to the vending machine using their ID and PIN code. A list of their prescriptions is then provided on screen, along with any relevant payment information; medicines are then dispensed through the collection point.
The automated kiosk is not intended to replace the existing pharmacy service. Both services will run side-by-side so customers are still able to ask advice from qualified pharmacists if desired. The idea is the vending machines will provide an extra level of convenience and flexibility for the consumer – allowing prescriptions to be collected quickly and at a time that better suits their schedules. It is even possible for a family to group prescriptions together, so they can all be collected at the same time.
The vending machines themselves have a storage capacity of up to 450 packs of medicines and each pack is uniquely identifiable by the kiosk, thanks to a barcode system.
Sainsbury’s currently has a total of 236 in-store pharmacies. If the trials of the prescription vending machines are successful and well received by customers, they are likely to be featured in more stores over the country in the future.
July 15, 2010 – 4:24 pm
The state of Pennsylvania is home to some of the most strict and unusual alcohol laws to be found within the United States.
Pennsylvania is one of USA’s 19 ‘alcoholic beverage control states’ where the distribution and sale of alcoholic beverages are monopolised, restricted, and controlled by the government.
For example, in Pennsylvania wine and spirits are sold exclusively by state owned shops. The prices of the drinks in these shops are also governed and are kept consistent throughout the entire state.
Softer liquor such as beer can only be obtained in restaurants, bars, bottle shops or dedicated distributors. Although these distributors will happily sell or refill beer kegs, smaller quantities such as the familiar six-pack must typically be purchased from bars or restaurants.
Pennsylvania became an alcoholic beverage control state as a result of the 1936 Johnstown Flood. The state imposed a ‘temporary’ tax rise of 10% to help pay for the clean-up operations and repairs to damage caused by the flood. However, the tax still remains, and has in fact now almost doubled to 18%. Additionally, the estimated $200 million raised annually by the tax is no longer distributed to flood victims.
In an attempt to put some convenience back in stores, while also working within the peculiar laws governing the sale of alcohol in Pennsylvania, special wine vending machines have just been developed and are currently being trialled in two different supermarkets. There are plans for significant expansion should the trial realise success.
Though, perhaps the actual convenience provided by these machines is up for debate. In order to vend a bottle of wine, the customer must first select their drink of choice, swipe their driving license for identification, look in to a surveillance camera, and blow in to an alcohol sensing breathalyzer. The sale is then approved by an employee located remotely, in the state’s capital city: Harrisburg.
July 1, 2010 – 2:00 pm
They say it costs nothing to smile – actually, now it pays.
Breaking tradition from the usual suspect for unusual vending (Japan – who else), reports of an innovative vending concept have this time sprung up from down under, as Australia reveal their joy-judging vending machine.
The ‘Share Happy’ vending machine detects how happy (or smiley) users are. Using images captured with a front-mounted camera which are then processed by sophisticated facial recognition software, the vending machine calculates the size of smiles and rewards accordingly – with ice cream!
Additionally, the Share Happy vending machine is equipped with 3G capability, allowing photos taken by the machine to be uploaded directly to Facebook (with the permission of the user, of course).
The vending machine has been created for Unilever – one of the largest ice cream companies in the world. It is the first of its kind – if you don’t count the age detecting vending machines in Japan – and is due to be piloted later this year, in a number of countries.
Other parties have already expressed an interest in the machine, and industry experts have spoken of it as a sign of change for the way consumers will buy in the future. This original idea presents an interesting new concept for retailers and marketers. Perhaps the technology can be adapted in the future for other uses. For instance, could this be the dawn of the vending machine image consultant?
June 24, 2010 – 3:59 pm
Japan is responsible for (yet) another novel vending machine – this time taking on the concept of ‘green vending’ in an entirely new (and literal) sense. The solar-powered moss-covered machine is one of the latest innovations to be born in the vending-obsessed land of Japan. Top electronics manufacturer: Fuji Electric, developed the idea, and a prototype of the eco-friendly vending machine is already in existence.
As the eco-movement gains momentum, attempting to develop the latest, greatest, most efficient vending machine is beginning to become a popular sport amongst some of the big players; Coca-Cola were amongst the first to showcase prototypes of solar-powered vending machines.
While the concept of powering vending machines with solar energy may no longer be unheard of, this is certainly the first report we have encountered of a moss-clad vending machine.
The manufacturer’s intentions behind adhering moss to vending machines are primarily to provide them with decent insulation (and therefore energy conservation) during winter months. Additional reasoning behind the idea is that the natural covering would help to brighten up inner city environments, while conversely also helping vending machines in more rural locations to stay more in keeping with their natural surroundings.
May 14, 2010 – 2:49 pm
A number of caviar vending machines are to be installed across the Russian capital city of Moscow. Apparently similar in appearance to a regular drinks vending machine, various sized glass/tin containers of red salmon caviar are available at the touch of a button.
The first vending machine has been already been installed – in the mayor of Moscow’s office – the rest are to be installed in government ministries and high-class offices around the city.
Portions of caviar from the vending machines cost between from £3.50 to around £15 (GBP), depending on size.
Caviar is a traditional Russian favourite; however, there are fears that amidst the recent economical downturn, the public’s reaction may not be very sympathetic towards what might be seen as ill-considered pampering of expensive tastes.