McCormick Place 'kills it' with convenience services back on the move| NAMA 2022 | Vending Times

2022-04-22 21:52:48 By : Ms. Wendy Wang

Vending, micro market, coffee service and pantry service operators converged by the thousands onto the trade show floor for three days, anxious to find new products, technology and equipment.

April 11, 2022 | by Elliot Maras — Editor, Kiosk Marketplace & Vending Times

With people returning to work in record numbers, the convenience services industry isn't missing a beat. That much was evident from last week's well attended National Automatic Merchandising Association show at Chicago's McCormick Place.

Vending, micro market, coffee service and pantry service operators converged by the thousands onto the trade show floor for three days, anxious to find new products, technology and equipment.

Exhibitors didn't disappoint as they showcased innovations developed during the COVID downtime. Exhibitors, for their part, had a hard time keeping up with the show floor traffic.

This year's trade show, following a canceled event in 2020 and a poorly attended one in 2021, featured the inaugural "Imagination Way" interactive gallery that greeted attendees on the way to the main trade show floor. The Imagination Way exhibits demonstrated how certain innovations can be leveraged in unique consumer environments, such as transit centers, multi-family/campus housing, senior living/healthcare and hotel lodging and hospitality.

Following are highlights from Imagine Way and the main trade show floor in alphabetical order.

365 Retail Markets introduced several technology solutions:

Customers will soon be able to pay for purchases at vending machines using their Venmo and PayPal accounts thanks to a customer facing QR code provided by Apriva, a payment processor in the unattended retail space.

Apriva demonstrated its Venmo and PayPal interfaces which it plans to offer in the near future.

Venmo and PayPal offer a more efficient and less expensive payment option to credit cards.

Apriva partners with point-of-sale hardware manufacturers, including Castles Technology, CBORD, Crane Payment Innovations, GlobalCom, ITC Systems, Blackboard Transact, On Track Innovations, Touchnet, Atrium and more.

Cantaloupe Inc. introduced several innovations: • The company's partnership with Hivery, an artificial intelligence provider, offers AI and machine learning to Cantaloupe Seed customers. Hivery's subscription service delivers new product recommendations and space-to-sales optimization, enabling operators to boost top-line revenue and operational efficiencies. • Next Generation Yoke Platform and Yoke POS+ allows both cash and cashless acceptance. The newly unveiled Yoke software includes an enhanced consumer interface, loyalty programs, customized promotions and mobile app engagement. • Touchless vending is now available through Cantaloupe's partnership with Vendekin Technologies, a Pune, India based provider of vending technology. Consumers can scan a QR code, select items from a menu and pay from their smart phone or at a card reader. • The ePort Engage Combo offers an all-in-one card reader and telemeter, digital touchscreen and payment platform that operators can install over the existing bill acceptor. Consumers can pay with cash, EMV chip or contactless, magstripe or mobile wallet.

Cafection, an Evoca Group brand, introduced its Emblem brewer that features touchless interaction using a QR code as well as an 18.5-inch touchscreen and customizable LEDs with color matching interface.

The machine has a water tank, bean hopper, soluble canisters and vending options, which include a coin mechanism, a bill acceptor and credit card reader.

Accessories include a cup and condiment dispenser, wood base cabinets, a waste chute, filter paper rolls, a printer and an ADA compliant touchpad.

Farmer's Fridge presented its fresh food vending machine in Imagination Way in addition to an exhibit of its food on the main show floor.

Farmer's Fridge has developed a nationwide network of fresh food vending machines in high traffic locations, including airports. The company produces its own food for its machines, and offers its branded food products to retailers.

The Fastcorp Vending exhibit featured a CBD kiosk offering branded CBD products.

AB Seachange Inc., which markets branded CBD in unattended retail, uses Fastcorp Vending technology to merchandise products, manage information, educate customers and help operators learn more about their customers.

The machine features a video screen that runs promotional information about the products the machine carries.

inReality presented its retail analytics solution designed to improve the customer shopping experience and give retailers data that can improve customer outcomes.

The solutions include camera sensors and radar sensor hardware.

The analytics can improve the placement of fixtures within a retail space to gain the most customer engagement. The location can test and measure fixture placement and analyze traffic trends to plan optimal staffing or improve associate engagement.

The data can also measure the effectiveness of media campaigns and determine the best performing content.

Invenda Group AG, a first time NAMA exhibitor, demonstrated its ecosystem of hardware and software for automated retail designed to personalize the guest experience while enabling remote machine management.

The company provides vending machines with integrated software solutions or upgrades existing vending machines with its proprietary retrofit kit, including touchless transaction technology, gamification and crypto capabilities.

The company recently closed a deal with long-time client Mars Wrigley and also recently installed its first outdoor machines.

Just Baked Smart Bistro presented its hot food vending machine that allows foodservice and retail establishments to offer freshly baked meals and pastries for indoor environments. The company provides the machine to customer locations on a revenue sharing basis.

The 48-by-39-by-76-inch, ADA-compliant machine can hold up to 68 servings and offers internal connectivity so no Wi-Fi access is needed for remote monitoring.

Consumers place orders on a 50-inch touchscreen or via a touchless option.

KioSoft Technologies LLC, a manufacturer of robotics and payment technologies, displayed several innovations at Imagination Way.

The company's automated coffee store features a robotic roaster that allows customers to watch the roasting process through a window after ordering their drinks on a touchscreen.

Its game card and power up stations feature a range of kiosks that reduce coin collection and facilitate points collection for prize exchanges.

Its management portal combines web-based reader configuration, financial reporting and equipment health and management.

The Lavazza Group debuted its Flavia Creation 600 in its single-serve brewer line which brews coffee, tea, authentic espresso and hot chocolate. The unit includes a refill module that holds 219.7 ounces of water and can be either plumbed in or pourover.

Features include a tap n' brew mobile app for remote brewing, an online portal to manage brewers and monitor consumption trends, email service alerts, an "over ice" brew option, a dairy and non-dairy in-cup milk frothing option and more.

LBX Food Robotics presented its Bake Xpress, offering freshly baked meals and pastries. The machine features a robotic arm that selects an item, scans a barcode and delivers food to the oven, which uses a combination of microwave, infrared and convection heating.

Food is packaged in barcoded boxes that are stacked in adjustable shelves in the machine. The barcodes enable the operator to track on-screen ordering.

Customers can order on a 55-inch touchscreen and pay using Nayax's integrated payment offerings.

Nayax Ltd. introduced its EasiFit bill validator kit to allow the acceptance of both cash and cashless payments.

EasiFit works with VPOS Touch, Nayax's cashless payment solution, to simplify the acceptance of cash and cashless transactions from a single location on a machine.

The unit mitigates supply chain issues related to sourcing technical parts and needing an additional device.

EasiFit can go on any machine and addresses the pain points of operators seeking a single knockout on a machine or in situations where ADA requirements necessitate the cashless device and bill validator be in the same knock-out hole.

Nayax also demonstrated an EV charging station called the Bee Meter in the Imagination Way. EV charging stations are one of the fastest growing self-service verticals as consumers embrace EV vehicles.

Nespresso Professional introduced the Momento 120, a touchless brewer that makes it possible to create coffee without touching the machine.

The system includes a refrigerated milk tank and offers a choice of 12 specialty coffee drinks.

Settings can be customized for desired temperature, cup size and milk recipes, and can program three and 10 coffee sizes into the machine.

A refrigerated milk container keeps milk fresh longer, while the unit automatically rinses throughout the day.

Nestle Partners Solutions Lab introduced a Starbucks branded twin cold brew and nitro countertop tap system designed to allow operators to expand into two of the fastest growing refreshment beverages.

Known as the WPS Starbucks Cold Brew & Nitro Countertop System, the system includes a 6.7-by-20.3-by-21.7-inch countertop tap with a stylish, vertical tap handle and a 1.5-gallon Bunn shuttle.

The system does not require an external nitrogen gas supply and allows the user to switch between nitro and cold brew.

Cold brew powder can be ordered separately and prepared without the countertop system.

Newco presented its cold brew coffee machine that brews with ambient water to prepare authentic cold brew coffee. The system allows 1.5-gallons of cold brew in just over one hour compared to 12 to 24 hours required by other methods.

The brewer's clean and rinse function provides a full cleaning of the dispenser brew basket and tubing.

Programmable water volume and contact time offer full control of extraction and taste profile.

The stainless-steel funnel can hold up to 16 ounces of ground coffee.

Parlevel Systems introduced a low-cost version of its self-checkout Cater solution for foodservice environments.

The self-checkout system includes a mobile app for purchasing on the go and ordering ahead, along with a kitchen display system.

A touchscreen displays menus and allows customers to select an item on the touchscreen or scan a product barcode for grab and go.

Once items are ordered, an RFID badge reader allows guests to log in to their personal account and pay with preloaded funds or at a payment terminal. The payment is confirmed through physical or virtual receipt.

PayRange Inc. introduced capabilities to accept store gift cards, cryptocurrencies and the ability to "buy now and pay later" on a date that is convenient for the user.

Store gift cards supported include Target, Starbucks, Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, Apple and more.

To pay with cryptocurrency, consumers sign into their Coinbase account with the PayRange app and fund with bitcoin, Ethereum and more.

For the "buy now pay later" feature, operators are paid when the transactions occur and assume no consumer repayment risk.

Quench USA Inc., a provider of filtered water solutions across the U.S. and Canada, presented the Wellsys S4 water fill station that dispenses sparkling, cold, hot and ambient water. The station features dispense indicator lights, a glassfront panel and hands-free water dispensing.

The S4, which will be available this summer, complements existing Wellsys models including the W9 water cooler and the WS 15000 ice and water dispenser.

Sanden Vendo demonstrated its V21i, IoT Vendor at Imagination Way, which features a 32-inch touchscreen and a media management system to generate advertising revenue in addition to product sales.

The machine accepts digital payments and allows customers to make touchless transactions by downloading a QR code.

The machine software offers route management and predictive analysis.

Features also include beacon capabilities, a GPS module and email notifications for alarms.

Seaga introduced its Envision combination snack and beverage merchandiser, featuring 1,000-lumen power LED lighting, an LCD display, a back-lit Braille keypad, a contoured bezel, dual coils, a guaranteed delivery system and a motorized return system.

Optional features for the ENV5C machine include a media center, an interactive touchscreen, motor pairing, a sixth tray, custom graphics, a front kick plate and cashless payment.

Swyft demonstrated its "Grab & Go" glassfront merchandiser featuring a cutglass door and a digital advertising screen. The customer can open the door by using the payment module in the cutglass section.

The Imbera merchandiser features four shelves for displaying product in addition to the bottom level.

The side of the machine draws attention with a large lettered message: "Pay Grab & Go."

The machine includes no moving parts and will be available some time in the fourth quarter.

Three Square Market, a provider of micro market kiosks and software, introduced a warehouse picking system, Pick-Easy. The system uses an API that connects to the operation's existing management software and allows the warehouse personnel to pick up to eight vending or micro market orders at a time.

TouchTunes, an in-venue, interactive music and entertainment service that operates jukeboxes, presented its TouchTunes Unlimited, a music service for worksites that allows employees and customers to choose music for the location.

The TouchTunes Unlimited subscription includes the jukebox, a companion app, unlimited song plays and curated background music channels.

Locations can also customize the music.

TriTeq presented its FreshIQ 2000 series intelligent locks for micro market swing door coolers and freezers that enable remote cooler monitoring, remote unlocking, lock event recording and lock activity alerts.

In the event of a power failure, the doors automatically lock in two minutes while the system continues to monitor and automatically unlocks if power is restored before a protection locking event occurs.

The technology retrofits Imbera, True Manufacturing, Habco, Liebherr, QBD, Minus Forty, IDW, Mimet, Royal, Pro-Cool, FrigoGlass, BevAir and more cooler brands.

True Manufacturing presented its 365 PicoCooler which the company produces in partnership with 365 Retail Markets. True Manufacturing provides the refrigeration for the cooler, which features a 365 Pico payment terminal mounted on the glass door which is sold separately by 365 Retail Markets.

True Manufacturing uses reverse condensing fan motor technology that allows for the reversal of the condensing fan motor, helping to keep the condensing coil clean and reduces energy consumption.

The merchandiser also has a built-in barcode reader, an integrated door lock, a health safety timer that locks if an unsafe temperature lasts longer than the allotted time, a self-closing door and custom graphic options.

Vianet, a U.K. based telemetry services provider, introduced its services to the U.S. market. The company offers SmartContrctPro, an EMV payment terminal with a touchscreen, camera, scanner, video display, proximity sensors, audio speaker, HDMI output and built-in telemetry.

The Linux operating system with SDK allows users to develop customized features and supports mobile, Pulse and closed loop payments

The company offers a touchless vending option and multimedia capabilities for its touchscreen.

Transforming Food & Beverage Organizations through Remarkable Processes, Outstanding Products, and Legendary Customer Service. At Parlevel, we build the most robust set of management and sales tools for the unattended retail industry.

Elliot Maras is the editor of Kiosk Marketplace and Vending Times. He brings three decades covering unattended retail and commercial foodservice.

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