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Browse Prior Art Database

Method of Using Wireless LAN for Remote Communication with Vending Machines

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000123336D
Original Publication Date: 1998-Sep-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Apr-04
Document File: 3 page(s) / 82K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Lingafelt, CS: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

Disclosed is a Method of Using a Wireless LAN for Remote Communications with Vending Machines.

This text was extracted from an ASCII text file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 52% of the total text.

Method of Using Wireless LAN for Remote Communication with Vending
Machines

   Disclosed is a Method of Using a Wireless LAN for Remote
Communications with Vending Machines.

   A Wide variety of problems can cause vending machines to
stop working (machine itself breaks, product gets "stuck", the money
bin becomes full, the product is sold out, etc.).  It is desirable
for the vending machine maintenance worker to be informed that the
machine has stopped working properly without requiring a person to
physically check the machine.

   The invention uses wireless LAN technology to allow
communication between vending machines in one location and
designating one machine as the "call-in machine".  The "call-in
machine" would have a wireless LAN interface at its ingress and a
modem at its egress, which would be connected to a phone line.  This
machine would act as proxy for the other machines in the network for
their communications needs with the maintenance center.  Thus, by
using wireless LAN technology between machines and the use of a proxy
function in one machine, only one modem and phone line are needed for
an entire location.  This is shown in the attached figure:

   Until now, except in rare situations it was not cost
effective to provision every vending machine with "call home"
technology, i.e., a modem and phone line.  Thus the problem of
knowing that a vending machine had stopped working (and why) was
solved by a person physically checking each vending machine or by a
customer calling in a trouble report.

   The advantages of this invention include, but are not
limited to the following:
  1.  Use of standard wireless LAN technology-component costs
      are lower.
  2.  The use of a proxy vending machine to allow amortization of
      the modem and phone line cost across all vending machines.
  3.  Real-time communication from the vending machine to the
      maintenance center for stat...