Facial-recognition data is typically used to prompt more vending machine sales.

  • Flying Squid
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    -13 months ago

    It’s not hard to know when machines need to be refilled. You just come regularly, take note of how much or little stock has been purchased, then adjust your refill amounts and times accordingly. This has to be done regardless of a handful of computerized machines because plenty of them still aren’t.

    Accepting a credit card or tap-to-pay would probably require computerization, but the technology should be no more complex than any other, similar piece of hardware and the machine should even be able to work if the card network is down and just accept cash if that happens.

    So sure, part of the machine should be computerized. The part that accepts money. The rest is unnecessary, probably raises the price of the machines unnecessarily and certainly never justifies a camera.

    • Rob T Firefly
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      103 months ago

      It’s not hard to know when machines need to be refilled. You just come regularly, take note of how much or little stock has been purchased, then adjust your refill amounts and times accordingly. This has to be done regardless of a handful of computerized machines because plenty of them still aren’t.

      I worked in the arcade/vending business in the 1990s. That blind maintenance model was a crapshoot for the machine owners. We had to routinely send a crew (usually me and one other person) to drive to a location - near or far - with games, photo booths, vending stuff, etc. just in case the supplies in some machine or another ran out, something needed fixing, etc. Sometimes we’d arrive and learn we have hours of refilling and/or maintenance work to do on a machine, sometimes it had been a slow week or two and a crew had just spent their whole workday and a tank of gasoline to collect $50 from the cash box and go home again. Remote administration really changed the game for that whole business.

      • Flying Squid
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        93 months ago

        Fair enough. Sounds like I was wrong.

    • @[email protected]
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      43 months ago

      An IoT SIM costs a whole lot less than sending a technician to every machine to check stock. I’m not arguing in favor of facial recognition, I’ve already made that clear, but you are dead wrong if you don’t think automation at scale isn’t economical.

      If you’re already putting a modem in the box for credit cards, why not collect some telemetry? Sensors are cheap and effective.

      • Flying Squid
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        -13 months ago

        They have to go to every machine to restock regardless. All they have to do is note down on a little notepad or even an app on their phone what sells, what doesn’t and how quick.

        I’m sorry, I just can’t go along with internet-connected public vending machines. If you want to connect everything in your house to the internet, fine. But a machine that sells candy bars does not need to be connected to the internet just because it’s marginally more efficient to do so than the way it had been done previously for decades. Because it results in this sort of shit. And unnecessary price-gouging through selling a university expensive machines with an unnecessary connection to the internet instead of something that worked perfectly well already and didn’t cost as much money.

        • Aatube
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          3 months ago

          They have to go to every machine to restock regardless.

          But by managing stock over IoT one can minimize the amount of visits to only when machines need restocking, instead of also having to go to check stock

        • @[email protected]
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          13 months ago

          A $5 esp32 has more than enough computing power to run a vending machine, cameras and connectivity too. Would be cheaper than having to run all the analogue circuitry.