SAP, market leader in enterprise application software, recently announced that it is developing a smart vending machine solution that claims to enable customers to purchase and make payments with NFC technology. It claims to allow customers to link purchases with social profiles such as Facebook and Twitter.
In October 2013, SAP Hana partnered with Vendors Exchange to launch this new initiative. SAP’s new offering enables users to tap their NFC phones against an NFC enabled vending machine. A user’s profile and account information can be obtained from the cloud. It also offers users a personal experience and enables payment to be charged to a pre selected account.
The SAP Hana app has to be installed on the consumers smartphone. This enables the cloud menu to recognize and build a user profile based on purchase history of the consumer. Through that SAP algorithm, Hana claims to have developed predictive analytics for vending companies. Vendors can track the transaction records of customers allowing data collection.
Working of the Smart Vending machine can be seen in the video below:
"Companies can also get real-time data on what's selling and what's not selling, and it allows feedback from consumers as well — they can tell manufacturers what they would like to see in the machine” said Kijoon Lee, V.P. technology & innovation marketing, SAP. "Therefore, companies can get real-time access to data from machines, predict the optimal assortment for each machine based on big data analysis, and know when to replenish the machine when stock is low, instead of just sending a truck out once a week like some do today” he added.
Some other companies that have forayed into the Smart Vending machine industry include Tencent’s WeChat and LikeUs network. LikeUs network offers a mobile payment device with plug and play feature. Their wireless node is integrated easily to the chipboard inside the vending machine. The device connects itself to the LikeUs secure network. Mobile payments are enabled without any external alterations to the machine itself and not a single setting on the vending machine has to be changed.
LTP View: SAP’s offering is an innovative concept that combines the offline and online platforms in a seamless manner. In 2012, there were around 500,000 to 700,000 smart technology vending machines in operation in the U.S according to a report by Frost & Sullivan and this number is estimated to increase to 2 Mn by 2018. This could be the appropriate time for SAP to tap into the potential that exists in this field. Data collection from consumer habits through predictive analysis is another advantage possessed by SAP.