SICAP Cashless Vending Machine
The Cashless Vending Machine Is Here
Coca Cola vending machines using SICAP Mobile Payment are already deployed in Switzerland. Each machine has a sign that clearly indicates that cashless operation is available and gives a unique number that mobile phone users may dial. The number is actually a USSD string, which is captured by the Mobile Vending Machine Server (MVS) that forms part of SICAP Mobile Payment. The message is forwarded over the air to the machine, which is specially equipped with a GSM module. If the vending machine can fulfill the request then the customer is notified through a USSD text response and, in parallel, the availability of the service is shown on the vending machine's display. Having made their selection, and having received their goods, the MVS receives confirmation of the transaction from the machine, including the price of the item selected.
All error conditions and exceptional circumstances are handled gracefully by SICAP Mobile Payment, which also generates vending data records and passes them on to the operator's billing system to be handled in the usual manner. Post-paid customers receive specific information about each transaction on their next statement, while prepaid customers shortly notice that their prepaid balance has been reduced by the cost of the item purchased. Appropriate reports are generated for monitoring purposes and for settlement between the GSM operator and the product supplier.
Vending Machine USSD Messaging
Communication between SICAP Mobile Payment and the
vending machine is also based on USSD. In this instance, however, it is a
network-originated channel that is opened. Each vending machine is equipped with a GSM
module and firmware to handle messages forwarded from the Mobile Vending Server.
When the transaction is complete, the vending machine returns details of the product dispensed and its price. Commands may also be issued to retrieve value and item counters from each vending machine. This information is then used to synchronise restocking of the machines and to help audit the settlement process
Akadia was involved in this project with the following tasks:
... let's have a coke ... using the handset as the payment method.