22 May 2017
IoT-Enabled Fresh Rice Vending Machines Set to Woo Mainlanders
With fresh rice just a push button away 24-hours a day, are China's purchasing habits about to be transformed?
Fresh rice-vending machines are the latest options for busy mainlanders keen to explore convenient dining without compromising on their nutritional requirements. A number of such machines are now in situ in several districts of Beijing and have proved to be highly popular with locals, largely on account of their facility to quickly serve up freshly milled rice, with the high-fibre bran content remaining fully intact.
Part of a new generation of smart vending machines, these automated suppliers of milled rice utilise internet of things (IoT) technology, with remote monitoring ensuring they remain fully stocked and that all their contents are stored at the optimum temperature. As a result, fresh rice can be dispensed on a 24-hour basis, with nitrogen gas packaging and cold storage helping to maintain the integrity of the product.
In order to reassure customers that they are receiving a quality product, the machine's operators guarantee that all of the rice dispensed has been recently harvested and hulled within the last month. It is also stored at a constant temperature of 15°C and subject to a 108-step quality assurance programme.
The machine's digital connectivity also ensures that mobile payments – including Alipay and WeChat Pay – are accepted. As an extension of this, rice can be ordered and paid for remotely, with customers then directed to the machine via GPS in order to collect their purchase. In essence, these smart vending machines operate as unmanned convenience stores, able to dispense rice, noodles, cereals, oils or other daily necessities as specified by their owners/operators.
The machines are said to be particularly suited to the needs of elderly users, providing them with high-quality fresh rice at a convenient location. As many of these automated vending systems are situated close to residential communities, older customers can frequently collect their daily requirements without any need to leave their immediate neighbourhood.
Lynn Ma, Beijing Office