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Soda With Chips.... Vending Machines Go High Tech

Boot Camp feature for Tuesday, July 27, 1999

From parking meters to vending machines...get ready for a high tech explosion. I'm Fred Fishkin with Bootcamp, a report on computers and technology. At first glance it looks like a regular soda vending machine, but...

"The machine right here in front of you could be operated five ways. Cash, the old way. Credit cards, your telephone, which the drink is billed to your telephone, your palm top, Internet and even billing to your home phone number."

Terrence Julius of a company called Televend. The technology lets you pay for drinks online....

"You download your drinks from the Coke site or from the Pepsi site, they're logged into your Palm top, and whenever you find a Palm enabled machine, you simply go and beam a drink out.

Using the infrared connection. Or you can user your wireless phone to call the vending machine and have the drink billed to your number...

"For a cola, press one. For a diet cola, press two."

The machines use Windows CE and are equipped with LCD screens...that can be used for advertising...

"Hungry? Bring this can to Pizza Home for a free second slice."

Since the vending machines have built in wireless phones, they can notify suppliers when they need to be re-filled. The technology is being built into parking meters too. Just call the meter to pay for more time instead of having to run back to your car. It will be in use in some marketsby the end of this year.