Last week I had my in-depth examination of where I think Coinstar is going, and why they could move into food. Not a geeky thing on the top, but very pro geek when you look at target audiences and the technology that will be employed. So, I want to expand on this theory, specifically . . .
If there’s an onslaught of automated vending, what does it mean for we professional geeks? What does it mean for our careers, beyond, you know, easily accessible coffee.
First, let me explain my pursuit of this in the first place:
- As noted, I see Coinstar validating vending systems, often unusual ones, with their current plans.
- There are a lot of vending devices out there. Be it Shop24, or the bizarre electronic vending machines here in Silicon Valley (really, want to get a DS? An iPod?), it seems vending machines are slowly becoming more and more common.
- Vending machines, done right, offer benefits to the consumer: fast, automated service, known stock, constant availability, the potential for useful geographic access, and technical integration.
- Vending machines, done right, offer benefits to the provider: predictability, 24/7 access, integration with existing technical systems, less human interface.
- Japan, which is infamous for having vending machines for everything, may show potential for success of increased automation.
- There is a cultural acceptance of technology that seems to only be increasing.
- Changes in people’s living due to gas prices, de-suburbanization, etc. could be taken advantage of by companies providing automation. Or in short, throw the machines where demographics mean you can make money and where you can take advantage of the changes.
- Machines can be deployed in many ways. They can be permanent, experimental, even temporary. They can be mobile – imagine strapping a bunch of vending machines onto a truck and driving that thing around to where it’s needed.
- Timeshifting. As sad as it is, some people don’t want to take the time to cook, go to an Apple store, or whatever. Vending machines provide that.