Yenra : Wireless : Wireless Vending Machines : Allowing consumers to purchase snacks with their mobile phones

Vending Machine

Nokia, in cooperation with Aerial Communications, today began a demonstration of the "Dial-A-Snack" concept - an application, now being tested in Europe, that integrates wireless data and vending machines to allow consumers to purchase a snack simply by using any GSM 1900 mobile phone.

The Dial-A-Snack concept is designed to extend additional revenue opportunities for GSM 1900 wireless carriers. The concept also adds convenience for mobile phone users, eliminating their need to fumble for change.

Comercially, Dial-A-Snack allows a customer to use a GSM mobile phone to dial the appropriate phone number indicated on the vending machine. The machine then dispenses the corresponding snack selection, and the purchase is confirmed through a signal sent to the customer's mobile phone. The charge for the snack appears on the customer's regular wireless service statement.

In a related application in Finland, service provider Sonera is conducting trials of soft drink machines, juke boxes, golf ball dispensers at driving ranges, and car washes that operate in a similar way to Dial-A-Snack. In the first 15 days of testing for the wireless-activated soft drink machine, the vending company reported that 31 percent of the beverage sales came from mobile phones. This demonstrates the interest and convenience for mobile phone users and the increased usage possibilities for carriers.