SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Liz McMillan, Carmen Gonzalez, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Gary Arora

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The Key to Scaling a Self-Service Kiosk Fleet

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It’s true, the bigger they are, the harder the fall. Kiosk and vending owners and operators know it can be costly and painful when scaling a fleet from hundreds to thousands of machines. Every time those devices are down, the business takes a hit, and customers walk away, probably frustrated and likely not to return. We’ve all seen it, just watch this video. Downtime comes at a high price, including a loss of sales, costly repairs, and potentially can drive customers away.

Making a diagnosis

Operators can gain increased visibility and more efficiently manage a network of kiosks by leveraging an IoT platform.  An IoT platform allows for an operator to have real-time visibility into what’s currently happening on their machines, as well as what will occur in the future. With an IoT platform providing predictive analytics operators can scale more reliably and perform maintenance on the machine before failure s taking place.

IoT software installed on a kiosk or vending machine listens to and processes all events happening and is foundational in diagnosing potential business impacting issues. Then the platform leverages complex event processing capabilities to handle massive amounts of data, and then correlate historical trends in the data to drive observations that might not be as naturally visible to an operator. When a fleet of self-service kiosks begins to communicate in this fashion, an operator can experience measurable time and cost savings.

Planning for scale from the beginning is critical for success

A high degree of real-time visibility coupled with automation is so important, especially when it comes to scaling a business. When you’re going from 100 machines to 500, most device management solutions will provide you with an acceptable level of visibility to run your operations. However, it’s entirely different when you are taking thousands and even tens of thousands of self-service kiosks and vending machines to market.

Without the right technology to support scaling a fleet, degradation of system performance will damage business operations. More important is the potential to leave a bad impression with the end customer. Risking a bad customer experience is particularly troublesome, especially when many businesses are introducing self-service kiosks to improve the experience and increase customer loyalty. It’s safe to say; we only get one chance to get a self-service customer experience right. System downtime, data loss, frustrated customers, and increased service volume are all signs that the underlying technology can’t support scalability.

Is what you have in place today going to work for you tomorrow? Here’s what you need to know.

Architecting an IoT implementation for growth

Start by looking at your technology investments and see if what you have in place today is going to work for you tomorrow. Keep in mind both current and future needs. If the current system isn’t architected with scale in mind, then it will not be able to accommodate future expansion as your business grows. The self-service kiosk and vending market are projected to reach $30.B USD by 2024 according to market research. Scalability should be a top consideration when thinking about IoT. Pay attention to scalability from day one when rolling out new technologies and implementing IoT. Otherwise, it can be a very costly endeavor.  Learn more about the scalability in my video.

Partnering for success

In this evolving market, there are many choices. Don’t have to go it alone, and make sure to select the right partner to help design an appropriate roadmap with the right IoT technology. Make sure they know IoT and are willing and able to learn your business as well as, if not better than your team. Selecting the right vendors, partners, and technology is the game changer for businesses entering this exciting market.  Getting this right could be the difference in winning versus losing business.

Embracing the Internet of Things

IoT is an exciting and energizing industry. It’s an industry filled with innovations that can positively disrupt existing, and create entirely new business models. It’s equally important however to understand that IoT is a maturing market.  Every day there are new ideas, evolving standards and advancing technologies to consider.  It’s easy to get caught up in all this excitement and get drawn into new IoT ideas, but it’s imperative to remain focused on the overarching business objective. Make sure that an IoT implementation is continually re-evaluated to ensure that it will drive measurable results.

Are you rolling out smart vending and kiosks implementation? Then you need a back office for IoT. Learn about Canopy, the most advanced IoT platform for managing large networks of connected devices.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Steve Latham

Steve Latham, founder, and CEO of Banyan Hills Technologies, is an Internet of Things expert and strategic technology leader. He founded the company in 2013 to impact the world through technology and a deep commitment to social responsibility. He has a strong track record of leveraging cloud-based technologies to optimize and accelerate business strategy and is highly regarded by his peers for his deep industry knowledge in Retail, Entertainment, Healthcare, and Financial Services.

Latham has successfully led architecture, implementation and delivery for one of the largest self-service, retail exchange kiosk systems in the world. Earlier, he served as CTO for the Entertainment division of NCR, where he helped orchestrate a successful divestiture of the business to Redbox for $125M. Prior to NCR, he held various technology leadership positions at Harland Clarke and led the consolidation of their e-commerce platform to a unified product offering for its customers. Latham serves on the board of directors for various businesses and academic institutions providing technical leadership.

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