The changing shape of street vending

Posted in business, design, digital, economics, emerging issues, retail, social, sustainability by thenextwavefutures on 17 May, 2007

Fujitsu UBWall
A couple of recent posts from the Core 77 design blog tell complementary stories about the future of street vending machines. They will be more responsive to the ambient environment around them, and also less resource hungry.

The first is the ‘Pouchlink’, a vending machine developed by the UK company WaterWerkz which forms the packaging for the drinks it sells on demand, from a flat roll. The incentive is that it reduces resource impact: “vendors simply attach the Pouchlink to a water source, as with the icemaker on your ‘fridge”.

As Core 77 explains, when consumers purchase a drink, the machine filters and mixes water with whatever concentrate is required for that particular beverage, then loads it into a capped, re-sealable, flexible pouch. This also increases the gaps between restocking times. Nestle is said to be on board.

Exhibit 2 is a plasma kiosk developed by Fujitsu for Nomura Securities in Tokyo which changes function depending on what customers are doing. The UB Wall combines a touch-sensitive plasma screen, motion sensors, and RFID technology. If not in active use, it acts as a videowall; when a customer approaches, motion sensors turn off the ads and switch on a touch screen menu (cash point mode, in effect). And if the customer wants to take information with them, the Wall can send it to a suitable device (e.g. a mobile phone) using RFID and Wi-Fi.

As Core 77 observes, the UB Wall is similar to the iPod: it re-combines a bunch of proven technologies in a new way that happens to be useful to consumers – and, as they didn’t say, also more useful to the business.


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