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Jabil, Intel partnership makes vending machines smarter

Margie Manning

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A partnership between Jabil Inc. and Intel Corp. is changing the experience of getting a beverage, a candy bar or a bag of chips out of vending machine.

Jabil (NYSE: JBL), a St. Petersburg-based manufacturing solutions firm, has developed a new platform that makes it simpler and faster to add digital technologies to traditional vending machines.

The resulting equipment becomes a highly connected smart machine with touchscreen controls, video, audio, scent, gesture-based interaction and cashless payment, a news release said.

That adds value for vending machine owners and operators, product distributors and the owners of the property where the machines are located, said Frederic McCoy, senior vice president, Jabil Retail.

The global intelligent vending machine market is expected to reach $15 billion by 2025, according to Persistence Market Research, but low operating margins, a steady rise in the cost of locating machines, return-on-investment concerns and high credit card transaction fees have slowed adoption of the new technologies, Jabil said.

Jabil is filling that gap in adoption through its partnership with computer networking company Intel (NASDAQ: INTC). Jabil is using Intel’s processor-based design and Application Programming Interfaces, or APIs, for accessing machine peripherals. APIs are a set of clearly defined methods of communication among various components.

Jabil is partnering with Intel to leverage its reference design for intelligent vending and deliver fully integrated solutions that turn traditional vending machines into highly connected smart machines.

Jabil optimizes the hardware and software and integrates the user interface and control software, sensors and remaining components in a consolidated, connected platform, the company said. The sensors collect data on vending machine inventory and customer buying patterns and preferences, among other things. Machine operators get real-time notifications about inventory which helps with restocking, and updates on performance problems to expedite repairs.

Jabil is the largest company headquartered in St. Petersburg, with $22 billion in revenue for the fiscal year that ended Aug. 31. The company historically relied on Apple for as much as a quarter of its total revenue, but has been focused on diversification for several years.

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