Intel Offers Internet Smarts for Dumb Vending Machines

By Jeremy Hsu

Most vending machines seem stubbornly stuck in the 20th century. Intel sees an opportunity to change that sad state of affairs by transforming vending machines into Internet-connected devices. Such a solution could enableintelligent vending machines to continuously update their advertising displays and send wireless alerts requesting a refill when they run low on Coca-Cola or potato chips.

The typical “dumb” vending machine has a basic microcontroller to manage payment, dispensing  products, refrigeration, and lighting control. Intel recently unveiled a hardware and software upgrade package, named the Intel IoT Retail Gateway Reference Design for Intelligent Vending, that adds PC-based computing “brains” to vending machines. Vendor companies can use Intel’s technology to either retrofit existing vending machines or provide a smarter platform for new machine designs.  …[Read more]