In the light of recent COVID-19 situation that shook the world over, devastating our economy, some tech-startups has been putting efforts to assist by adapting their core-technology smartly. The 2019 InnoVEX exhibitor from Taiwan under StarFab Pavilion, YALLVEND, is a promising solution provider for the vending machine industry by providing painless upgrade solutions, which will soon revolutionize vending machines as we know it today.
We will come back to COVID-19 in a bit. According to Susan Ward's article at The Balance Small Business, global vending machine revenue topped $23 billion in 2018, and just alone in the US it is estimated at 2.08 million vending machines in action. It is also estimated by Grand View Research that the industry is expected to register a CAGR of 9.4% from 2019 to 2025. There is no doubt that this is an existing and a stable industry, so what can YALLVEND provide to tackle other than simply provide cashless payments, NFC functions, QR Code scans and cloud computing to monitor your sales and inventory? Let us be honest, these functionalities are interesting but they alone might not be interesting enough to catch venture capitalists’ attention. So what does? Here are two interesting points for reference:
- Upgrades: Just the US alone, it is estimated that there are still 40% of the existing vending machines needing upgrades to at least accept cashless payments.
- Product Category: At the moment, vending machines are sticking to consumer products such as cool drinks, snacks or maybe souvenirs and daily toiletries.
Duncan Huang, CEO of YALLVEND, who kindly accepted our interview stated that they are not on a mission to deploy vending machines and create their own networks of it, but aimed at the businesses that does. He then further explains that upgrading existing vending machines to accept cashless payment is merely an entrance to what is about to follow. When the individual machines are connected using their platform and technologies, operators can do so much more than simply cashless or inventory. At step one, Duncan’s system provides a holistic view of the deployment, enabling the operator precision curtail sales & marketing statistics for better decision making. Step two, these upgraded vending machines can be equipped with biometric / image recognition and encoded with blockchain, A.I. technology that can be linked to the authorities, so that the concept of “smart vending machines” can be realized in areas that traditionally seen impossible.
When A.I., blockchain, IoT and advanced authentication systems are synchronized, items that require rigid security checks can be remedied, relieving human resources, manipulations and operational cost. Imagine, things such as prescription drugs, tobacco, alcohol and others can now be purchased via vending machines! This provides an around-the-clock and a secure operation for people who are in need or at areas too costly to hire or too dangerous to operate. Because of the secured data management thanks to blockchain and A.I., authorities are able to check at any time, all trails are locked and cannot be manipulated.
The Outbreak of COVID-19
The virus took the globe over and it has certainly been tough for all. Due to the quarantine measures by many cities and nations, industries are unable to function effectively which resulted critical items for combating the virus became desperately in lack of, one of the items being the surgical facial masks. One of the innovative measures that the government of Taiwan took was taking strict control of production, selling as well as exporting of surgical facial masks. Another measure was to tightly control the purchase of masks of the general public to ensure a fair distribution, allowing production to catch up. A centralized system was swiftly setup restricting the purchase of mask only by registering using the national health card, limiting the amount of masks each person can purchase within a set period of time.
Vending Machine Can Help
The system implemented by the government is great but not perfect, due to the system pharmacies are now burdened with this heavy task, resulting in shortage of human resources. Duncan and his team took the initiative to tackle creatively by integrating facial recognition (or any other biometric recognition), blockchain, cloud computing and A.I., this allows items such as surgical facial masks and other products in critical times (such as sanitizers) be issued (purchased) according to the designed SOP, and at the lowest human resource requirement level. Sure, the government will soon be launching their official online purchase system before mid-March which will also ease the operation of pharmacies.
During the interview, Duncan stated that although their technology can certainly be applied in a diverse array of industries, he will still need to consult with professionals in each vertical industry to match related procedures and legal aspects. At the moment YALLVEND is welcoming their Pre-A series of investment and as well as strategic partnership. YALLVEND was established early 2019 and made their first appearance at the 2019 InnoVEX, which received much attention amongst professionals.
InnoVEX 2020 Register Now!
If you have not yet registered for the InnoVEX 2020, make sure you complete your registration before the end of March to take advantage of the regular rate! Any registration as of April is subject to a 30% increase!