Vending machines are great for convinience, and automatic payment has become much easier with barcode technology such as QR codes and RFID tags.
Putting the two together, a Colorado-based company known as ShelfX is putting the technology to good use, with its new Vending Fridge.
Automatic payment of course, means getting rid of the cashier and having the customer check out goods on their own. However, there are many troubles hounding this method of shopping, the least not being shoplifting.
The Vending Fridge is an apt name for the technology, as it is a fridge that works similarly to a vending machine, except much smarter. The fridge will only open to customers when it recognises an account with its associated payment method through a QR code scanned from the user’s phone, or an RFID card.
Customers are then allowed to scan the sheves for whatever they want to buy, and remove whatever item they like. When the door of the fridge is shut, the system knows what items have been removed and automatically charges the customer’s account. What is good about the fridge is that you can move items around as you like, you will only be charged for the items that are missing off the shelves.
It also helps owners do automatic inventory checking and will send remittances to shop-owners once a month of the revenue generated, minus a fee that is taken by ShelfX.
ShelfX has stated that potential use of the technology are in hotels, offices, retail stores, gyms, schools and libraries. The Vending Fridge is available for pre-order for US$599 via ShelfX’s website.
This is actually a pretty useful tool, and I can see potential use for all the places cited by the company. Automated payments make life so much more convinient, and this technology can also help curb shoplifting. I hope to see this type of system out in the streets sometime soon.