I suppose there are a few people who wonder why I find vending machines interesting and blog about them. I’ll try to keep this short and to the point:
1) Vending machines can fabricate an item on demand. Example: the Pouchlink system (reLink)
2) Vending machines can be significant point-of-sale locations. Example: Automated C-Stores (reLink)
5) Virtual vending machines offer brands of all sizes a myriad of opportunities; from brand marketing to research and development. Example: VirtualThirst (reLink)
6) Virtual vending machines allow consumers to customize products and lets vendors collect data on consumer preferences. Example: Reebok in Second Life (reLink)
8) Vending machines are an excellent kind of “smart appliance” which can connect with users in a variety of ways. Example: A report today over on C|Net, “Machines give kids lessons in food, finance” (Link)
Hopefully that collection of links explains why a product design/virtual world blog takes an interest in the generally overlooked vending machine. If there’s an area that’s ripe for growth, that one is a good candidate imo. I can imagine all sorts of possibilities. Unfortunately, this latest news under #8 will include fewer opportunities for people like Adam Sandler to write songs about lunch ladies.
(Related post discussing a larger system of which these could be a part – reLink.)