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PC-based platform for intelligent vending from Advantech

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PC-based platform for intelligent vending from AdvantechAdvantech is releasing a new product with the Intel Reference Design for Intelligent Vending. Advantech delivers the Vending Machine Controller (VMC) functionality to a PC-based computing platform with a Vending Machine IO (VMI) board. The PC-based computing platform makes vending machines intelligent, allowing enhanced user experience with LCD and touchscreen interface, telemetry, proximity marketing, advertising and data analytics (real time promotion, pricing update, i.e.) using data coming from the cloud.

Fabrizio del Maffeo, Embedded Computing Group Sales Director of Advantech Europe says: “The Vending market segment is transitioning to the digital era. We see huge opportunities for computing platforms in this market where Internet of Things plays a heavy role to drive business transformation. It is a great honour to work with Intel on delivering connected, secured and managed for Intelligent Vending.”

Jose Avalos, Worldwide Director for Visual Retail at Intel’s IoT Solutions Division, says: “With the Intel Reference Design for Intelligent Vending we deliver IoT-ready computing technology to the vending industry. By adding intelligence to vending machines we are taking the current trend of digital makeovers a step further to make the vending experience more personal, interactive and fun for consumers while allowing brands and operators to utilise new business opportunities, cloud services and data analytics.”

The Advantech system based on the Intel Reference Design for Intelligent Vending provides developers easier access to typical machine peripherals such as coin dispenser and refrigeration by the integration of a hardware platform including a Vending Machine IO (VMI) and application programming interfaces (APIs) used by application software. This approach is designed to significantly reduce the time to market for intelligent vending machines.

Advantech’s system re-architects traditional vending machines into highly capable, Internet-connected machines. Vending machine manufacturers can use the system to design future machines or to retrofit existing ones. There are several hardware and software components, including:

  1. Computing System: An Intel processor-based platform with a VMI board replaces VMC, thus providing machines with wired Ethernet or broadband wireless connectivity to the outside world and the computing power needed to deploy emerging services. Vending machine manufacturers can choose three scalable families of processors including Intel Core vPro processors, Intel Atom processors and Intel Quark processor which can run the same code (i.e. backward compatible) and are supported by a very large, established ecosystem of independent software vendors (ISVs)
  2. Vending I/O Interface: Today’s vending machines use a wide range of bus protocols (e.g. CAN, ccTalk, MDB, USB) to communicate between the VMC and machine peripherals, such as control mechanics and note readers. The Advantech system contains a VMI board that supports these I/O interfaces and more
  3. Software Stack: The software stack includes an operating system, programming interfaces (APIs) to machine peripherals, and various applications. There is a single API that accesses more than a dozen peripherals and can be used by application software to more easily access typical machine peripherals (e.g. coin dispenser, refrigeration)
  4. Remotely Manage Multiple Devices with SUSIAccess: All Advantech platforms are bundled with Advantech SUSIAccess which provides remote device management and system recovery powered by Acronis, and system protection powered by McAfee, allowing users to easily monitor, configure, control and even recover multiple systems through a single console from a remote site

As an Intel Internet of Things Solutions Alliance Premier Partner, Advantech delivers a wide range of industrial hardware, from standard products to fully customised design to cover all requirements of vending machine manufacturers. Intel Reference Design for Intelligent Vending and Advantech SUSIAccess can be integrated in all Advantech products, giving vending machine manufacturers the flexibility to develop their own vending platforms. The possibilities cover from embedded board connected to an industrial display to interactive touch computer, Advantech is able to fulfil all the different demands:

  1. AIMB-215 and Advantech Industrial Display Kits: AIMB-215 is the new Mini-ITX board-based on Intel Baytrail Celeron Quad Core J1900/N2920; connected with Advantech industrial-grade LCD display IDK series (5.7”~21.5”), it delivers a fanless and durable system for vending machines
  2. UTC-520E: A 21.5” interactive touch computer based on Intel Core i5-4300U features an all-in-one computing system equipped with wide format, touch-based LCD panel. It is easy to integrate key peripherals and display systems for diversified self-service and interactive signage deployed in different application areas. The systems deliver updated information with well-designed interactive interfaces, ensuring relevant content and targeted promotions are delivered
  3. UTX-3115: A fanless & wide-temp embedded box coupled with the Intel Gateway Solutions for Internet of Things (IoT), which features a pre-integrated software and hardware platform containing a Linux operating system, security and management features. This out-of-the-box option simplifies customer deployment of IoT products, and it allows secure data aggregation, filtering and analysis from edge devices to the cloud through WiFi and/or even 4G technologies.

The Advantech sytem based on the new Intel Reference Design for Intelligent Vending will be available for order in the third quarter of 2014. For more information, please visit www.advantech.eu.

 
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