The Internet of Things
Could Soon Include Your Route
Options to Connect Games & Vending Are Growing & Getting Cheaper; Parish Claims Gemalto’s Cinterion Terminal Seeks to Top Them All
Today, having your route connected to the Internet can be the first line of defense for operators as well as an efficient way to improve revenues. Technology to connect your machines is rampant and rapidly getting cheaper, and with it, reasons to stay in the pre-Internet stone age are falling away.
For operators looking to know the ins-and-outs of their route at all times (especially those that have routes covering large areas), one solution comes in the form of a small orange box: the Gemalto Cinterion cellular terminal. This plug-n-play terminal brings your machines into the Internet of Things (IoT) allowing for analysis on the fly.
“The largest benefit I see for people who own amusement or vending machines is they can monitor the complete health of the machine at all times,” said Scott Parish of Gemalto M2M. “Whether that means checking the inventory levels on a redemption or vending machine, looking at money in vs. money out, power levels, heat levels, what type of products are being purchased. Machine sensors can collect all this data and the terminal will send it back to your IoT platform where you can then analyze the data and load your truck more efficiently at the start of each day.”
Parish and his company have been working to connect industries to the IoT for about seven years, and he says they already have a lot of customers in the vending and gaming market. The terminals are connected through a cellular network, which according to Parish adds a host of benefits.
“Say you have machines in a huge arcade or series of arcades throughout your region,” he said. “If you have issues and are on Wi-Fi, you’d have to call into the arcade and the manager might just refer you to their Internet provider. But on cellular, the owner of the machines can call their cellular carrier to immediately address issues at any location with a Cinterion terminal.”
He also said being on a cellular network provides added security and easier negotiations when going to a location with the idea to connect. Parish sees endless applications for the terminals but highlights vending machines and remote machines that aren’t checked often as the most beneficial to target. A multitude of options and customizations are available in installing the devices, giving operators the choice to utilize 2G, 3G or LTE networks. The struggle, according to Parish, comes in when operators have to decide what data to monitor and collect, and then how to handle the data once its in their hands.
He suggests that anyone with a small route of a few or up to 10,000 machines could benefit from this, but notes that scalability applies and the larger the install, the more beneficial the data. However, Parish says that the company sticks to its strong suit of hardware and warns that companies without any kind of IoT, machine-to-machine or cellular design experience will most likely have to seek outside help.
“There are a lot of design people who can do this quickly and easily,” Parish said, adding that some customers find a consultant to help with the installation.
For the entirety of this industry, uncertainty has been a torrid reality. Parish sees these terminals as “a way to bring industries into the 21st century and make that a thing of the past. If your machines go down now, you may or may not get a service call. Regardless, that machine isn’t making money.”
He continued: “I think it is a great time in the industry for a product like this, and this type of mindset. It’s about taking it from where it is into this new world of analytics. A great opportunity for the smaller guys who may not make this their core business all the way up to the big guys with 10,000 machines spread out. A device that keeps a running, real-time finger on the pulse of your route and could save time and boost your profits,” he said.
“I think it’s interesting taking an old school industry that has, basically forever, just said, ‘Let’s go out, take the money, restock, and when we count the money we’ll know if this machine is doing well or not,’” Parish said. “Now you’re taking that same machine and analyzing the data on the fly. You can just go in and really dive into the problem areas and the profit areas. This machine may make you a lot of money but why? Now operators can take that business model, analyze the demographics of the location and transport that model to a similar location.”
For more details, email Gemalto IoT Channel Sales Manager Scott Parish at [email protected].