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Tuesday 16:05pm, SAP UK Office.

Costa Coffee has just closed and I’ve been preparing a live-demo all day (and night) for a customer meeting tomorrow. Through planned coffee breaks I’ve made it to the final hurdle and the finish line is in sight; but I’m so tired. Unfortunately, it turns out my body has recently finished developing a resistance to caffeine not previously documented in medical journals. My problem now is that I need something else to finish the demo; a sugar hit. Luckily there is someone, or rather something, in the SAP UK Office that knows exactly what I need.


On the third floor is the SAP Smart Vending Machine, as big as a door and a meter deep with a large screen and a comforting whirrr coming from the chiller unit, that is loaded with delights in my time of need. I race upstairs and present my business card and I’m logged in. At the bottom of the large touch screen is a selection of my favourite items and some recommendations; sugar, sugar and sugar. Perfect. Before I know it I’ve vended some snacks and didn’t even have to waste time scratching coins on the machine to get them accepted, as the items were charged to my account. Re-invigorated, I finished my demo ahead of time.

The next day.


The topic of the meeting was the Internet of Things and I ended up speaking largely about the Smart Vending Machine:

“The SAP Smart Vending Machine is a retail machine that knows who is standing in front of them, and disrupts the classical vending scenario by introducing a marketing-to-one principle; It knows your purchase history, learns your favourites and can recommend new products based on these preferences. This data can then be used to tailor experience for other users like you; and vice-versa.


It starts on this machine by using an ID badge and an NFC reader, which logs me into my personalized UI where my favourite products, recent purchases and recommendations, enriched by big-data sets of similar users, are displayed. This data is provided by SAP Mobilizer, part of the SAP Mobile Platform, which handles the accounts and connections to the back-end system. The large touch screen allows me to interact with products in a new way, zooming in and panning around 3D models, and examining nutritional values if applicable. These 3D models can be re-branded and themed much quicker and more cost effectively than actually rebranding physical bottles, and so marketing campaigns can become much more agile, and much more relevant to individuals. The whole digital experience can be re-branded for individual users as required.


Once stock has been vended, the machine is able to restock itself with some logic running on SAP HANA in the back-end, placing orders at optimal times to ensure stock does not run out. As part of a1 networked-economy of machines, this might mean ad-hoc orders to fit in with other, nearby delivery runs or amending order numbers. It could even predict stock shortfalls based on all sorts of events – weather, how busy it’s surroundings are historic and current sales data blended together.

Another source of data for the machine is its own components; they can trigger maintenance alerts and work orders can be completed before the machine breaks down with more predictive analytics. These work orders could be completed the same that the machine is being filled as to not disturb sales, or out of hours depending on the location.”

But that was only one use case, vending snacks and drinks, as it is something that we can all relate to. However, the machine is configurable to the use case, whether that’s medicine delivery, piloting new products, 3D printing. The possibilities are truly exciting.



See our Smart Vending Machine at our upcoming Innovation Forum in February. View the agenda and showcases here: https://spr.ly/UKInnovationForum


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