Intel has introduced its IoT Retail Gateway Reference Design for Intelligent Vending, aimed at addressing the interoperability gap that is encountered with trying to retrofit machines into an Internet of Things (IoT) network. The gateway is built using the Intel IoT Platform.

The IoT has become a powerful driver of business transformation. The IoT will include 50-billion units installed by 2020, according to IDC. This surge in connectivity is making an impact across industries, including vending where global shipments of intelligent vending machines are forecasted to reach around 2-million units by 2016, with both new and retrofit markets combined.

However, there are significant costs and complexities associated with retrofitting the large amount of existing equipment that is not currently connected, managed or secure.

Building on previous Intel reference designs, the Intel IoT Retail Gateway Reference Design for Intelligent Vending integrates pre-validated building blocks that facilitate the integration of multiple compute workloads. Examples include vending machine controller, touch screen, telemetry, digital advertising, payment and transaction management, as well as simplification of integration with back office applications.

Adopting proven compute models enables vending machine manufacturers and vending operators to focus on innovation, reduce development time and investment risk while differentiating themselves by moving to a powerful PC-based platform.

“By consolidating multiple workloads onto a single vending platform, manufacturers can free up time to focus on meeting the increasing expectations of today’s tech-savvy consumers,” says Jose Avalos, worldwide director of visual retail at Intel. “For example, customers can integrate new natural user interfaces, social media capabilities, loyalty programs and nutritional information – all of which will have a positive impact on the consumer’s vending experience.”

The Intel IoT Retail Gateway Reference Design for Intelligent Vending is based on the Intel Atom processor E3815 system-on-chip (SoC) and includes the Intel IoT Gateway software stack. The compute board is based on the Intel Reference Design for Digital Signage, which vending machine manufacturers can make or buy. The gateway solution also includes a vending machine I/O board and a vending machine API, both outlined in the Intel Reference Design for Intelligent Vending.