Sunday, November 14, 2010

No. 188: A vending machine that recommends drinks (November 14, 2010)

JR East Water Business, a subsidiary of JR (Japan Railways) East, decided to install extensively vending machines that display recommendable drinks on the screen depending on the attributes of the shopper using the face recognition technology. Currently, there are only two vending machines of this kind in Tokyo, and the company will increase the total number to 100 units by next spring and to 500 units by March 2012. The large touch-screen of the vending machine tells the age and gender of the shopper and display recommendable drinks. For example, if the shopper is a male, it displays recommendable drinks like canned coffee as soon as he stands before the vending machine, and then display standard products. The new vending machine can change recommendable products automatically depending on the temperature and the hour. The two units currently operating in Tokyo achieved about three times more sales than the conventional vending machine. The new vending machine will replace the conventional vending machine in terminal stations in Tokyo, and will account for 12% of all vending machines in the Tokyo Metropolitan area by March 2012.

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