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Vended Interest

This spring, Charles Fishman took a look in ongoing developments in airline kiosks and other self-service options. But when you look at this online gallery of Japanese vending machines, what's being done stateside seems relatively mundane. Sure, we've got airline kiosks and self-service grocery checkout. And we've got gumball, candy, and pop machines. You can get a Homies figure for 50 cents.

But what about eggs, rice, and fishing lures? Given the long-running history of the vending machine, America may still be able to catch up as Kodak continues to roll out its film development kiosks and organizations such as Catalyst Consulting experiment with different approaches to public transportation self-service.

You can now get videos and DVD's from vending machines. You can get books printed just in time. You can get art.

What else could be done with vending machines?

[via Greedy Girl]

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  • Dave

    My company makes internet photo kiosks for capturing photos to drive the opted-in online collection of consumer data for marketing purposes. We got our start by developing a patented Internet Photo Booth. I've also consulted for coin-op Internet entertainment device makers.

    The perennial challenge in vending or coin-op is generating enough usage to meet ROI in 6 months max. Otherwise you are toast. Also the coin-op industry is rough crowd b/c there are vicious turf battles over high foot-traffic real estate. It's a cash biz with rampant tax evasion. You meet quite a few interesting characters. Example, the old timers who now sell redemption games to Chuck-E-Cheese used to smuggle similar games in from Canada as gambling machines. "You had to truck 'em in a u-haul in case the feds busted you."

    The DVD vending operations I have seen are promising. Isn't that a dead-end though with video on demand? Anything you can't get at home or at a convenience store is fair game. Services distributed by un-manned kiosks are killer.