System and method of zero-cost data exchange between automatic vending machines
Publication Date: 2014-Apr-22
The IP.com Prior Art Database
This article explains a system and method of zero-cost data exchange between automatic vending machines, where the token that people use for the payment of the drinks is adopted as a media to transfer data between a machine and the others.
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System and method of zero - machines
The automatic vending machines are widely used in offices for the distribution of drinks and various foods. These machines sometimes have the ability to connect to the network to communicate their status (the amount of drinks available, malfunctions, ..) to the control center coordinating operators for supplies and maintenance. Unfortunately this is not always possible: sometimes the machine is located in places not reached by radio signals. Often the volume of business generated by the machine does not justify the cost of the communication device with the control center. If the communication takes place via the cellular network we must also consider the cost of subscription to the service provider.
Here is disclosed a low-cost solution of communication between vending machines. The idea is to use the token that people enter for the payment of the drinks as a media to transfer data between a machine and the other. A person, moving physically from one machine to another, carries data in its token. With this method it is sufficient that even one of the machines in a building is connected to the network to communicate to the control unit state of all the others. Usually, a person uses the same machine. Occasionally, when the person moves to another machine, the person not only carries the data of his/her usual machine but also the data that other users had brought in his/her machine from the other (see figure). In a short time all machines have the data of all the others. Of course, on the tokens are recorded only machine's data and not personal data of the holder.
In the image that follows is shown schematically the flow of data between the machines (in this example arranged one for each floor of the building). The users bring their token from one floor to another and in this way they move the data. The machine on the first floor is the only one to be equipped with a data transmission system. Thanks to this single connection, the operator in the control room is able to have the status of all...