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Author Topic: Detailed idea on Bitcoin vending machines  (Read 1572 times)
zimmah
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January 05, 2014, 01:29:54 AM
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I think bitcoin and vending machines would make a great combination for several reasons.

The target audience
of course we're looking for bitcoin users, or people that are open minded about bitcoin. If i'm not mistaken At the moment this group is mostly formed by 20~40 year old males, especially tech-savvy males.

Location

With vending machines, location is very important. The more persons that walk past your machine that like the products you are vending, the better your sales will be. It wouldn't do you much good to have a vending machine selling healthy drinks right next to a bar, for example. As the audience that visits the bar is unlikely to buy a healthy drink before, during or after visiting a bar.

Therefore, it would be best to think about where most bitcoin users would gather, and what products they're interested in. Possible good locations are:

1) Japan (Tokyo especially)
2) Any university or college in Western Europe (especially Scandinavia, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands) or North America, especially universities focusing on engineering or computer technology.

In Japan, they have vending machines for pretty much everything, although cold and hot drinks make up about 40% of all vending machines. In universities in Europe and America they mostly sell snacks and soft drinks.

What would be the benefits of the vending machines?

There's several advantages with bitcoin-based vending machines.

  • Not everyone carries cash (although in japan they do, that's one of the main reasons vending machines are so popular there, but that's another story)
  • Collecting cash is not needed with bitcoin, the money will instantly be safely in your wallet (this could reduce vandalism, can lower the operational costs, and is more practical in general)
  • it's very easy to keep track of sold goods, and therefore you can achieve smart restocking and targeted product placement (more about this later in this post)
  • if enough vending machines are placed and used, bitcoin will become a stronger and more legit currency (this benefits the whole bitcoin community)

How does it work?

Basically unlike regular vending machines, which operate on their own, bitcoin vending machines have a front-end and a back-end. The front-end is the machine itself, and the back-end is the server behind the machine, in another location.

Front end
The machine will look like most machines, except it does not have a vault for cash at all, and depending on the model, it could either have a number dial pad or not.

Model 1
Model 1 will have a dial pad, and there is 1 QR code (or NFC device) for each machine. You can pay bitcoins to the address and the machine will allow you to dial whichever number you want to pick your item. (or push the button corresponding with your item of choice).

Model 2
Model 2 will have no dial pad, and instead it will have a different bitcoin address for each item. As soon as the server recognizes a payment made to an address, the machine will know which item the customer wants, and gives that item to the customer.

Back-end
The back end is a server that handles all transactions accross all the machines owned by the company. It actively scans all addresses to see if any address recieves the correct value, and once an address recieves the right amount of bitcoins, it will send a signal back to the corresponding machine to give the product that matches the transaction. If the machine recieves too little, it should probably just return the bitcoins to sender, if it recieves too much, it should probably return the amount that was too much.

Extras
Since you already have a server, this allows for a lot of cool features that regular vending machines do not have.

  • Since the machines need internet anyway, you can and should offer free wifi to nearby persons
  • Since the server recognises which address matches with which product and which machine, you can see exactly how many items are left in the machine, so you can refill in a smart and efficient way. If you store the data you may even see patterns and can plan around the patterns. For example a certain drink may be sold more often in a certain place and/or season.
  • You could even have the server remember the addresses it recieved payment from, and allow the users to benefit from actions, either discounts, a free drink on their birthday (if they make an account and link it with their bitcoin address), or some nice virtual goodies. Coca cola once made machines with QR codes and when you scanned the code you could get some avatar on your smartphone and dress it with all kind of items. This would be easy to implement since you have a QR code and a server already anyway. So some kind of fun program and/or a loyalty program will likely catch a lot of attention and recurring customers.
http://www.simplyzesty.com/Blog/Article/November-2011/Coca-Cola-s-Happiness-Quest-Brings-QR-Codes-Gamification-To-Vending-Machines
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rw-f4GABMTg

I hope someone can put this idea to good use.
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kezzyp
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January 13, 2014, 01:32:28 PM
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I share your idea bro and to be realistic i have taught about this couple of times, but here on bitcointalk you cant get anyone here to do any project people here are made up of broke bitcoin users and a'lot focus on the software and design aspect for a one time penny not all Bitpay made it very far and some-other online present bitcoin service providers but the main place to spread bitcoin out is via hardware something like this in shopping malls, even in a bar there can be section to buy beer automatically via bitcoin, just scan the the "code" and pay via bitcoin, after 1 confirmation or so order delivered this can work and people will try to figure out why we different.. Anyways i am talking to some manufacturing tech in japan on this i will keep you updated on the progress after i get a good quote, the main problem is that the machines is expensive and they have to be shipped around the world to make it heard...

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January 13, 2014, 06:14:04 PM
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I share your idea bro and to be realistic i have taught about this couple of times, but here on bitcointalk you cant get anyone here to do any project people here are made up of broke bitcoin users and a'lot focus on the software and design aspect for a one time penny not all Bitpay made it very far and some-other online present bitcoin service providers but the main place to spread bitcoin out is via hardware something like this in shopping malls, even in a bar there can be section to buy beer automatically via bitcoin, just scan the the "code" and pay via bitcoin, after 1 confirmation or so order delivered this can work and people will try to figure out why we different.. Anyways i am talking to some manufacturing tech in japan on this i will keep you updated on the progress after i get a good quote, the main problem is that the machines is expensive and they have to be shipped around the world to make it heard...



What makes the vending machine expensive? It's sure not the display. Things that count bills cost up to $300 retail. What, specifically, is it?
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January 13, 2014, 08:20:11 PM
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I share your idea bro and to be realistic i have taught about this couple of times, but here on bitcointalk you cant get anyone here to do any project people here are made up of broke bitcoin users and a'lot focus on the software and design aspect for a one time penny not all Bitpay made it very far and some-other online present bitcoin service providers but the main place to spread bitcoin out is via hardware something like this in shopping malls, even in a bar there can be section to buy beer automatically via bitcoin, just scan the the "code" and pay via bitcoin, after 1 confirmation or so order delivered this can work and people will try to figure out why we different.. Anyways i am talking to some manufacturing tech in japan on this i will keep you updated on the progress after i get a good quote, the main problem is that the machines is expensive and they have to be shipped around the world to make it heard...



What makes the vending machine expensive? It's sure not the display. Things that count bills cost up to $300 retail. What, specifically, is it?

A vending machine for food and for drinks cost way up to 4000$, unless you have another vending machine i don't know about then you will have to enlighten me..
zimmah
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January 14, 2014, 02:40:06 PM
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$4000 isn't exactly a lot of money for a serious investor in a new business. And besides, you can usually get them cheaper if you buy them in bulk.

Vending machines are not exactly top of the line technology, and if you accept bitcoin you won't even need any kind of money accepting and storing mechanisms. So they'd actually be cheaper.

It also depends on if you need your vending machine to also keep your products cool or not. Obviously a vending machine that sells candy would be much cheaper, since candy in general doesn't need to be cooled.

Some machines can go for as little as a couple of $100s
kezzyp
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January 14, 2014, 04:11:19 PM
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$4000 isn't exactly a lot of money for a serious investor in a new business. And besides, you can usually get them cheaper if you buy them in bulk.

Vending machines are not exactly top of the line technology, and if you accept bitcoin you won't even need any kind of money accepting and storing mechanisms. So they'd actually be cheaper.

It also depends on if you need your vending machine to also keep your products cool or not. Obviously a vending machine that sells candy would be much cheaper, since candy in general doesn't need to be cooled.

Some machines can go for as little as a couple of $100s

Anyways your point is correct, i have made contact and they are actually implementing bitcoin payment right now and this will be ready in a week, i was thinking it will be best to sell this back to the community, so other bitcoin investors can actually own it and install it around their place.. The price factor you  all is correct i checked out and actually found that i can easily get for 1200$ and a cool one too..
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