50 Innovators of the Year 2021
While our lives are getting busier and busier, we try to find ways to easen up lives. Foodservice is an important service that needs to be quick, safe, and convenient. With the pandemic, we have already seen why we need touchless, automated vending machines. Technology can make self-service faster, safer, and seamless. One of the Global leaders in the industry, 365 Retail Markets is a company that works with the top Foodservice operators around the world, helping to facilitate their success and meet consumers snacking and meal needs. We had a conversation with Krishna Vedula, the Chief of Technology and Operations at 365 Retail Markets, to know more about the company. Here are a few excerpts of the interview:
Q. Why did you choose this line of business?
To make a difference in the industry by creating a wide variety of innovative self-service technologies that change the way people around the world use convenience services.
Q. What are your upgraded technologies over traditional offerings?
We have a variety of innovative vending offerings that upgrade traditional vending experiences. 365’s cashless touchscreen technologies are for today and the future. PicoVend is an advanced vending technology for this decade that is easy to integrate and upgrade. PicoVend provides consumers with:
PicoVend Mini is an innovative self-service vending technology that fits on any standard NAMA knockout with a smaller footprint, making it more versatile and able to fit on most machine models. As part of the 365 PicoPlatform, the PicoVend Mini is a great addition to your vending fleet with its 365 Global Market Account access, touchless flexible payments, on-screen nutritional information, Promotions, and Connectivity versatility, and more.
The 365 PicoVend Mini gives your consumers vending convenience they need and deserve. It is the industry’s go-to option for contactless vending experience. It provides your customers with safer, worry-free vending all from their smartphone via the 365Pay app. This innovative touchless solution requires no connectivity setup, it works between your vending machine and the consumer’s phone via a simple Bluetooth connection.
Q. Why is 365 Connected CampusTM the most innovative and convenient option in the industry?
It’s the first integrated consumer experience of its kind! Our 365 Connected Campus provides consumers fast, secure, and easy ways to pay across multiple platforms via the 365Pay app. From MicroMarkets to vending to dining to OCS services, Connected Campus streamlines your technology solutions and makes checking out a breeze.
We built a completely connected ecosystem to ensure your consumers have secure technology at every touchpoint. So yes, you can say that we’re everywhere you need us to be.
Q. What is the rationale behind launching PicoVend Mini?
To offer operators and their locations with a smaller footprint to fit on a variety of vending machines. It’s the same high-tech PicoVend technology, but a smaller version, another upgraded innovative vending technology option with a lower cost. It also provides operators looking for ways to step outside of the traditional vending offerings to get into self-service technologies.
It fits on any standard NAMA knockout with a smaller footprint, making it more versatile for most vending machine models. The device allows operators to leverage the 365 platform they know and love and the GMA account system their consumers are accustomed to. It brings both credit and GMA to consumers’ fingertips to make for a quicker, easier, and more customizable checkout experience for all.
Q. How does 365Pay audio accessibility help the visually impaired?
Self-service technology can be challenging for some customers. 365 has developed technology and awesome features to make it easier to use and accessible for all. The 365Pay Audio-Accessbilty makes checking out and managing accounts possible for the visually impaired. The built-in accessibility tools provide users with a swipe and touch-based app that reads what they click on out loud. We are proud to share that it’s the official micro-market app for the visually impaired. 365Pay is the first mobile payment app in the foodservice convenience industry to offer audio accessibility.
365Pay now utilizes iOS Voiceover and Android Talkback. These are built-in accessibility tools that users can enable via ‘settings’ on their phones. Consumers can listen to the audio voice of what they select within the app and easily checkout. By enabling this function only one time, in your current 365Pay app or users can download the app and instantly enjoy this new feature. This new update was announced during the recent National Association for the Blind Convention earlier this month and was highly accepted by the attendees.
Tell us about the power of PicoPlatform.
The 365Pico platform is the most versatile self-service technology in the market. It meets today’s consumer’s convenience needs. As COVID-19 has brought the rising consumer demand for unattended retail, contactless payments, the PicoPlatform can be used in multiple locations, providing point-of-sale solutions for operators offering vending, micro-markets, and office coffee services (OCS).
The cooler functionality (PicoCooler) provides access to controlled fresh, cold options while offering operators self-service security. In the same footprint as a traditional vending machine, with nothing but a power outlet needed from the client, operators can merchandise fresh food and beverages together for less than the cost of most vending machines today. PicoCooler expands the addressable market of MicroMarket operators who have been waiting for a solution to make sense for their clients.
PicoVend is the platform’s vending solution and is the advanced vending technology for this decade and the future. It takes away the struggle of using cash and coins. Consumers can use the 365Pay account and vend their items in an instant. With a variety of VMS integrations, the PicoVend is a great addition to the existing vending fleet. With its versatility of vending machines and compatibility, operators can easily replace current solutions with a simple installation. You can use the current VMS system paired with our easy GMA disbursements to help the operator’s fleet function efficiently and seamlessly.
Coming soon to the 365Pico Platform, the PicoCooler Breeze is a weighted shelving capability to help reduce shrinkage and increase security. Offering Grab-and-go convenience with controlled access, high-tech coolers, and payments made easy via 365Pay, it is a reinvented vending experience that provides drinks, healthy snacks, sandwiches, and more. Operators can even combine snack racks to gain new convenience opportunities and additional convenience. Also, it is more flexible in location placement, a versatile convenience for big, small, or medium locations. More to come in PicoPlatform in the future; we’re constantly innovating our technologies that are convenience-focused and consumer-driven.
About the Chief of Technology and Operations
Krishna Vedula is the Chief of Technology and Operations at 365 Retail Markets. He works tirelessly to ensure 365 is on top of changing technology, developing innovative ways to help the company’s partners, being economically and environmentally conscious, and keeping his team and others motivated on a daily basis. He is a thoughtful, incredibly hard worker who brings new ideas and ways to work together in the industry. The products that Vedula and the team have developed speak for themselves and have helped numerous operators grow their business faster than they thought possible. He has won “Automatic Merchandiser’s Reader’s Choice Award: Innovator of the Year and Pros to Know.”