NYC Metro Card “Fritz-Frenzy”

nyc metroNew York City metro customers woke up to a rather unwelcome surprise a few days ago. Citywide outages for the MetroCard vending machines resulted in quite a few frustrated customers. While the “Sorry, we are unable to process your request right now” screen brought about a horrible start to the day for some New Yorkers, the metro line workers took to social media to keep everyone updated on the situation.

@NYCT Subway posted on Twitter to let customers know what was going on and how they were trying to remedy the credit/debit issue. While there were some less than supportive comments, for the most part it let customers know what was going on and when to expect a solution. By early afternoon the issue was resolved and customers were back on their way. The power of social media is vast and even in this situation it helped keep people informed about what was going on.

However, this payment issue with the vending machines brings up an entirely new issue; proper maintenance may help to prevent these issues in the future.

Proper maintenance for these vending machines would include periodic checks into the software to ensure that everything is running properly. When this type of maintenance is completed, it can help to prevent issues, such as the ones seen on May 11th that affected over 100 vending machines around New York City.

There are quite a few professional vending maintenance services that can be employed to provide this service and ensure everything is working properly, no matter the type of vending machine being operated. These professional services provide:

  • Payment solutions if something is not operating properly
  • Substitute equipment for machines that need extensive repairs
  • Expert advice to ensure the machines have minimal downtime
  • Professional reporting services to let owners know the up and downtime of the machines

Vending machines are now used for a multitude of reasons from the MetroCard refill stations to the typical soft drink dispensers and now even grocery machines. Keeping these machines properly maintained is essential to ensure customers can access the convenience they are looking for.

Also, if issues do arise, vending machine owners should let customers know what is going on and keep them informed by utilizing the power of social media. It is one of the furthest reaching and fastest traveling sources of news and information. Take a cue from @NYCT Subway and ensure your customers are not left in the dark.

 

Students Find 3 Year Old Drinks on Campus Vending Machines

MTN-Dew-938x535Proper vending machine maintenance is hugely important for a wide range of different reasons. For starters, vending machines are designed to be largely automated – as a result, a worker isn’t necessarily going to be around 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to fix issues as they arise. More than that, however, preventative maintenance is also necessary to help make sure that people don’t get ill from the items that they’ve purchased under the assumption of trust and proper vending machine maintenance. Case in point: a student at a university in the United States recently discovered a three year old item in a vending machine on his campus.

Gabby Pearson, a freshman at MTSU, was attempting to purchase a drink in one of the school’s many buildings in between classes. Luckily, she happened to check the expiration date before consumption. Though she was buying the drink in February of 2015, it had actually expired on June 17, 2012. As she took a closer look inside the bottle, she also discovered white mold.

In the case of the three year old soda on MTSU’s campus, the issue was one that was unfortunately preventable. All route representatives should be rotating and checking the contents of these machines at all times to help avoid these types of situations in the future. There are also a number of other preventative maintenance steps that should be taken to help keep these solutions running as efficiently as possible at all times.

An inventory of all parts should be kept, for example, to help make sure that technicians can repair any problem that arises with a vending machine without returning to their shop. Maintenance records should also be carefully kept to help clue people in on common and reoccurring issues, maintenance schedules and more. Vending machine officials should also practice regular communication so that everyone on a particular route is always up to date on when the contents of a machine were last refreshed, when the machine was last serviced and more moving forward.

Vending machine maintenance isn’t only important to help keep things running as smoothly as possible – it’s also a way to help make sure that people aren’t getting sick from the items that they’re buying. By keeping just a few key things in mind and following a few best practices, you can help keep your vending machines safe for anyone who puts their trust in them on a daily basis.

Despite Reports of Fraud, Apple Pay is Coming to 100,000 Coca-Cola Machines

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Currently, Coca-Cola accepts Apple Pay at more than 40,000 vending machines across the U.S. However, the company plans to expand the number of vending machines accepting Apple Pay to 100,000 by the end of 2015. Unfortunately, the horror stories of fraud within Apple Pay have left many people cautious about the use of near-field communications (NSF) devices in such machines. Reports of fraud in Apple Pay have left many wondering how fraud can be prevented when using the innovative payment option. However, the greatest error lies at the fault of bank verification processes and poor vending machine maintenance.

Banks and Apple Pay Verification

According to Micah Singleton of the Verge, Apple Pay data encryption has not yet been breached. However, bank verification methods are lacking in protecting personal information. In most cases, a bank will use a customer call as a verification method for the addition of a new credit or debit card to Apple Pay through ‘green and yellow” verification processes. During the initial phase of verification, or the “green path,” the bank receives and transmits personal identifying information about that person’s transaction history and other purchases. Afterwards, the bank calls the phone asking for the customer to provide the four numbers of his or her social security number. Unfortunately, the last four digits of a social security number are easily accessible to criminals who have stolen someone’s identity. As a result, the card gets added to a new Apple Pay account, and the information is taken. However, the use of Apple Pay at vending machines requires another level of security.

Importance of Proper Vending Machine Maintenance

Vending machines are usually located in unmonitored or “hidden” areas, and thieves have a notorious history of breaking into them. The NFC device within the machine allows for a new type of break in: a digital break in. In order to ensure thieves have not installed software or are accessing information gathered by the machine, vending machine manufacturers must create and adhere to a strict maintenance schedule. For example, the NFC device could be used to transmit credit card numbers to a nearby hacker; however, a diagnostic scan of the device would identify and remove such malware. Furthermore, vending machine parts, especially the NFC device, may need to be completely replaced as an added security.

As society moves towards a highly-integrated, digital world, the presence of criminals will only continue to grow. However, Coca-Cola’s decision to expand the use of Apple Pay in vending machines stands as testament to the security features of their machines and Apple Pay. Before placing blame on vending machine manufacturers or Apple for fraud, banks must improve their verification methods, and vending machine manufacturers must ensure machine maintenance schedules do not falter.

Photo Source: http://www.coca-colacompany.com/innovation/100-000-coke-vending-machines-in-north-america-will-accept-apple-pay-by-year-end

Our Conlux Bill Validator, Service Centers and Finance Options

Vending machine owner operators understand that their machine is their 24/7 storefront. They rely on these machines to be up and running 100 percent of the time to serve every customer, every time, no matter the denomination in the customer’s pocket. No one wants to lose out on a sale because their machine will only accept one denomination or worse yet, because the bill validator is out of service. When considering vending machine parts, particularly currency validators, the Conlux Bill Validator should be at the top of your list.

Why Choose the Conlux Bill Validator?

conlux 2Simplicity and flexibility are the hallmarks of the CV1000 Conlux Bill Validator. You can choose to accept bills from $1 to $20 at the push of a button while the validator remains conveniently installed in the vending machine. Programming updates are available with the use of a BPM (bill programming module) right in the field. The Conlux is simple to operate and highly reliable.

Features of the CV1000 Conlux Bill Validator:

  • Accepts bills from $1 to $20 at a 95 percent acceptance rate
  • Acceptance sensors utilize optical technology and boast dual pellet sensing
  • Accepts four different coupon options, including a secure low-cost option, which will allow you to market to a wider customer audience
  • Designed to clear the latest LCD screens on vending machines
  • Cashbox comes in 300 and 500 note capacities with dual side entries to allow easy access to the cashbox
  • Eliminate service calls for jammed bill acceptors

Servicing and Financing Your Conlux

Reduce your vending machine repair costs with our two year warranty on each Conlux Bill Validator. Our service centers are conveniently located throughout the United States. We provide a rapid response should you be in need of warranty or repair services. Upgrading to Conlux Bill Validators? Check out our easy financing option online for orders of 50 or more bill validators.

Innovative Hot, Fresh Fries From a Vending Machine

friesClose your eyes and imagine the deliciousness of a fresh, hot, salty French fry. Where are you?  In a drive through?  In a nice sit down restaurant?  At a vending machine?

French fries have become synonymous with American fast food chains, but in western Australia one company is out to change that, delivering hot, fresh fries from a vending machine. Though called “chips” in Australia, the concept is the same, hot fries delivered at the touch of a button upon demand no matter the time of night or day.

Perth business man Peter Malone heads the Hot Chips Company. His revolutionary design relied on vending machine parts that were only recently available. His machine relies on a robotic arm to scoop the chips after they are fried in a 10-litre vat of rice bran oil inside the machine, which has the added benefit of being cholesterol free.

The risk of food poisoning is very low due to the fact that “potatoes are very much an inert product,” according to Malone. The challenge in creating the right size and shape of chip was greater. According to Stephen Bendotti, director of Bendotti Exporters and WA Chips, the final product would need to be “the perfect size and shape so that it doesn’t get lodged in the machine.”

At this point, Malone has two vending machines in use for the public, one at a service station in Adelaide and the other at Ibis Budget airport hotel in Perth. Malone has his eye on expansion with plans to have 5,000 machines in operation by 2017 in service stations throughout Australia. Malone also has plans to eventually expand his business worldwide. He believes marketing would take care of itself. According to Malone, chips are “popular worldwide. We don’t need to go and tell people that a chip is something they should eat.”

No matter the problem, there are vending machine solutions for every issue, including the need for hot fries even if the local drive through is closed.

The #1 Spot for Your Coffee Vending Machine Product Refills

Coffee_time_(2410222127)Having a coffee vending machine in your business is one of the best ways to keep customers and clients happy at all times. You never have to worry about which employee forgot to brew another cup of coffee, for example, or how long a particular pot has been sitting out. At any given moment, someone is only seconds away from the type of fresh, hot and delicious coffee that will keep them propelled throughout the day.

After you purchase your drink vending machine, however, there are a few key things to keep in mind. For starters, you’ll have to purchase product refills on a regular basis to help keep the machine stocked as often as possible. Additionally, even the best designed machines will eventually develop issues and parts will sometimes need to be replaced. When you find yourself in those types of situations, there is only one online source that you need to remember: VendNet USA.

VendNet USA: The #1 Spot for Your Coffee Vending Machine Product Refills

Instead of trying to source all of the products you need through multiple distributors (and paying hugely inflated prices as a result), you can get everything you want and more through VendNet USA. The site offers a huge variety of different coffees, teas and other delicious hot beverages that will keep everyone as happy as possible at all times. The site offers great products like gourmet hot chocolate, soluble vending tea, premium fresh brew coffee and more. Everything that you could ever need is all conveniently located under one roof.

Ordering Your Items

Purchasing coffee vending machine refills, vending machine parts and other items on the VendNet USA site is a straightforward experience that will only take a few quick moments of your time. First, if you know the specific type of refill you’d like to purchase or the part you’d like to browse, you can enter its name or SKU into the “Search” box on the upper right corner of the screen. Once you locate the listing for the item you’re looking for, you need only to click the “Add to Cart” button to begin the checkout process.

If you’re looking for vending machine parts but aren’t quite sure where to start, you can use the “Parts Price List” hyperlink at the top of the screen. You can also click the “Search Catalog” button to gain access to more advanced search options that will help make finding specific items easier than ever before.

To browse our extensive collection of coffee vending machine product refills, click here.

Smart Scooter Revolution with Vending Machine Docking Stations

gogoro_family_shot.jpg__1072x0_q85_upscaleAs our society focuses more and more on energy efficiency with each passing year, it is natural that the “smart” vehicle revolution has begun to gain traction. First it was the “smart car,” which typically took the form of small electrical or battery powered vehicles that eschewed traditional gasoline in general. Now that idea is becoming even more portable with the “smart scooter,” which is a small scooter that essentially operates on the same principle. A well-funded startup called Gogoro recently unveiled its new e-scooter to the world at CES 2015. Perhaps more impressive than the scooter itself was the startup’s idea to install vending machine-like “battery stations” in urban areas across the country.

The idea itself is relatively straightforward. Instead of returning home to charge your battery or trying to find the nearest charging station (like you currently do with an electric car), you would drive your smart scooter to the nearest vending machine parts distribution location and pick up a new battery. Your new battery would be fully charged and you could continue on your way. Your old battery would remain behind and would be charged for the next person who needed to use it.

The idea has begun to take hold in the wake of the “mega city” and its rise in prominence not just in the United States, but in countries all over the world. Mega cities are described as those with over 10 million residents. In 1990 there were 10. In 2014 there were 28. According to the United Nations, that number is expected to increase to 41 by 2030.

Vending machines are ideal for this type of situation because of the large amount of different processes that can be easily automated. The only major factor that companies would have to deal with manually would be vending machine repair, but that will still cost only a fraction of what it would to man battery distribution stations with real people.

Gogoro’s e-scooter is dubbed the Smartscooter and it runs on two lithium-ion battery packs that are stored under the driver’s seat. The company has already raised more than $50 million dollars for its ambitious plan from just two Taiwanese investors. They aim to raise $100 million more in the near future. This will all be great news to the more than 200 million people who are riding scooters all around the world in 2015, which is also a number that is likely to increase in the near future.

Full Time Retiree Finds Part-Time Success in the Vending Industry

LTF_nful_1_28_vending02When Georgia resident Marty Lock retired from a lifetime of working in the telecommunications field, he refused to take on the normal role of retiree. He was anxious to continue working, but at his own pace and direction. He began a new venture, called Oasis Vending, in 2009 thinking that starting a vending machine business could be a satisfying part-time career for him.

His father, a full-time firefighter, operates a similar business, so Lock was already familiar with the ins and outs of operating a vending machine business of his own.  He started with three machines that dispense standard beverages and others that include microwaveable entrees. He has paid as little as $700 for a used vending machine and as much as $10,000 for another.

Lock credits his success to keeping things simple. He doesn’t have any contracts with vending machine manufacturers. This means he is responsible for any vending machine repair issues that arise, but at the same time he retains full control over the product in his machines. He also has very short term, 30-day non-binding agreements with the locations where his machines are placed. This arrangement works well for Lock and for his clients. According to Lock, “Most of them are just concerned with you taking care of the machine and responding to any issues that arise, if people don’t get their product.” Lock said that his most profitable machines are located in hotels. These vending machines produce the greatest revenues during conventions and seminars when customers are looking for a cold drink, hot coffee, or a quick snack between sessions.

Though it can initially be costly, Lock sees great value in retrofitting vending machines to accept debit and credit cards. According to Lock, “when you have a vending machine that will take a credit card, it increases the sales by 178 percent.”  Lock sees less value in the newer software that allows owner operators to remotely track their machine’s inventory and sales. He prefers a simple spreadsheet to keep track of his data, but admits that other owners are getting real-time data on their vending machines delivered straight to their laptops and smartphones.

Lock has become a huge proponent of the vending machine business due to the availability of reasonably priced equipment and repairs as well as the solid revenue margins offered by the business. According to Lock, “I tell people if I was a younger man, I’d seriously consider doing this full time.

 

BottleDrop Redemption Centers Open to Ease Malfunctioning Bottle Recycling Vending Machines

bottledropMany grocery stores in Medford, Oregon were allowing their customers to recycle cans and bottles inside of the stores. While the process was beneficial to the customers, it often wreaked havoc on the stores. The recycling machines that were located inside the establishments were often sticky, dirty and broken. The administrators did not call anyone for vending machine repair to solve the problem of broken units. Medford has come up with a solution to the dirty job of bottle and can recycling: the Medford BottleDrop Center.

What Is the Medford BottleDrop Center?

The Medford BottleDrop Center is a huge, clean building that houses a large number of machines. The environment resembles a warehouse. The district thought it was a good idea to separate the filth of old bottles and cans from the groceries inside of the grocery stores. Having a separate BottleDrop Center will reduce some of the lines and confusion that occurred within the Medford stores and the surrounding areas. Customers will be able to visit the BottleDrop location and conduct business in less than five minutes. People with more than 24 cans will have to use the new BottleDrop location because grocery stores will not be able to accept their products.

Grocery stores that are within three miles of the BottleDrop location will start to implement the new recycling rules. Grocery stores will still accept cans and bottles from people who have less than 24 on their person. Other customers will have no choice but to take their cans and bottles to the new center. Some consumers may be apprehensive about the change at first. However, they may get used to the idea.

People will be working inside the facility to help keep it clean and presentable. These people will also help consumers who have questions about the process. Either visitors can use the self-service center inside the warehouse, or they can have their cans counted by a customer service representative. There is also an easy drop system that accepts the cans and then places the money on the customer’s account. To use this system, the person must set up an account before he or she performs an initial drop. The other two methods allow recyclers to get their money immediately at the site that they choose to use.

The new BottleDrop location will be open during convenient hours. It will open as early as 9am in the morning, and it will not close until 6pm at night. Therefore, people will have time to visit the site and recycle cans and bottles before or after they go to work in the morning.

The large new BottleDrop location is a convenient building for recyclers and grocery stores alike.

 

 

Get a Degree in Vending Machine Repair For a Lucrative Career

Service-SchoolMore than 28 million businesses exist in the United States according to the number of business IRS returns. Many of those businesses have a vending machine on at least one floor of their buildings. The high number of businesses with vending machines provides an unlimited amount of potential for people who know how to install and fix such machines. Furthermore, the businesses that do not have machines may change their minds and order new machines in the future. Vending machine technician is a promising career that can be quite beneficial for a person who takes the necessary courses.

What Is a Vending Machine Technician?

A vending machine technician’s primary goal is to analyze and diagnose vending machine issues and fix them for their clients. However, a technician installs and stocks vending machines, as well. The person may have some jobs that require him or her to work with game machines or some music machines that are not the standard drink or snack machines. Nevertheless, a vending machine repair person must have a certain level of education before he or she can take on such a job.

What Kind of Education Does a Vending Machine Technician Need?

A technician will have to have some experience with electronics. The person will need to have strong critical thinking skills and time management skills, as well. Anyone can learn the mechanics of fixing a vending machine, but not everyone has enough patience and organizational skills to do the job. An interested person may want to pick up a course to develop skills in vending machine repair and maintenance. Vending machine technicians have physically demanding jobs, but their rewards can be quite fulfilling.

Where to Get Vending Machine Education

Vendnet USA is a company that thrives on educating potential vending machine technicians. The company offers a two-day course for people who aspire to be vending machine technicians. The two-day course teaches prospective repair persons how to troubleshoot a machine. These people will learn how to keep a machine in optimal condition at all times. New venders can learn about cold vending machines, snack machines, drink machines, frozen food machines and hot drink machines. The course can be quite helpful for someone who is looking to break into the field of repairing vending machines.

Any interested party can contact the company to schedule a consultation about the class. A representative will be able to discuss the course in-depth and see whether it is a good fit for the candidate. The job is a promising career for people who like traveling and working with electronic parts. A multitude of opportunities are available for people who would like to become vending machine technicians.