Internet of People

Connectivity’s Pros and Cons: Reporting Domestic Violence, Saving Dogs’ Lives; But Opening The Door To EFDs…

Connectivity’s Pros and Cons
Nick Bate

Connectivity’s Pros and Cons: I’m pleased to have been asked to contribute my thoughts to Planet Vending’s ‘Thought Leadership’ feature but before I begin, I must say that it’s been difficult to have my say without mentioning cashless payments, or how VMC products can save the world! You’ll have to get in touch with me personally if you want to hear that particular rant.

Do you agree with me that IoT is an acronym that hasn’t quite made it into the national psyche? I don’t know why, but it still provokes a slightly uncomfortable feeling every time I hear it. Maybe it’s because ‘Things’ doesn’t describe anything I can relate to or visualise.

What is it really, this simple unassuming collection of letters, IoT? It sounds like another Emoji my kids are using that I don’t quite understand! The reality is that our world is becoming a very different place to the one in which we grew up. Not wishing to sound like an old timer, but we’re experiencing acceleration in the rate of technological change that surpasses even the impact of the industrial revolution.

Like it or not connected devices are a huge part of this change. They’re everywhere and connected devices create data. As this is happening, public awareness of how we use, store and manage data is being brought into sharp focus by the activities of companies like Cambridge Analytica. Remember them? They used data from 50 million Facebook profiles to influence the US Presidential elections, by targeting voters with personalised political advertisements based on their psychological profile.

As they don’t say in Washington: ‘cor blimey, guv’nor’.

Connectivity’s Pros and Cons

Those who once believed that Facebook is free; that their posts have no value and their data is not being used to generate psychological profiles have had their naivety ‘liked’ and ‘shared’ by all manner of ne’er do wells.

However, let’s not overlook the fact being connected has its advantages, too. This year, for example, we’ve seen reports of Amazon Echo smart speakers alerting the police to incidents of domestic violence. I’ve got personal experience of positive connectivity: my Nest smoke alarm saved my dogs’ life, by sending a Carbon Monoxide alarm to my phone when my central heating boiler malfunctioned. That’s priceless.

Connectivity's Pros and Cons

In our own industry, we’ve been working on projects to deliver ‘smart’ vending with social media integration with calls to action such as ‘wish your friend happy birthday and buy them their next drink’.

Despite everything it can do and all the benefits it offers to the industry, vending telemetry has been slow to gain momentum. A contributory factor in this slow uptake is probably the fact that decision makers and key influencers belong, like me, to an era before IoT, GSM, Facebook and ideograms had been invented.

So, brothers in arms, get real! In a world where people, on average, refer to their smart phones every 12 minutes, the sales pitch for our latest whizz-bang apps won’t have the required impact if the guy we’re pitching to lost his phone down the back of the sofa last week and hasn’t even noticed it’s missing!

To sum up, data, however it’s collected, from IoT to pen and paper, has a huge role to play in managing our businesses. The impact of the accessibility of data on the Internet is only just starting to penetrate the global consciousness.

Connectivity's Pros and Cons
What has the IOT ever done for us?

IoT is the modern equivalent of the Romans building roads to link cities, towns and ports; it’s about speed, convenience and efficiency.

What the Romans could never have foreseen when their work was done was the future’s issues with Diesel particulate pollution: talk about ‘the law of unintended consequences’. Perhaps one of the consequences of the prevalence of data is not quite so unforeseen: IoT, at a stroke, has removed the biggest hurdle to fiscalisation and the introduction of electronic fiscal devices (EFDs) in the unattended point of sale market.

It’s no wonder that tax collectors the world over are advocates of ‘the cashless society’…

*Nick Bate is MD of VMC Ltd, leading providers of open and closed contactless payment solutions for the vending industry.

‘And by the way’, Nick told The Editor some time later, ‘The Romans were also experts in IoT – but that was ‘Ingestion of Toxins’.’ He-he 😉


Connectivity’s Pros and Cons

Connectivity’s Pros and Cons

Connectivity’s Pros and Cons

Thought Leadership? More, HERE

About the author

The Editor

Planet Vending’s Editor is Ian Reynolds-Young and it’s Ian’s unique writing talent that has made PV what it is today – the best read (red) vending blog in the world, and vending’s best read (reed). Ian ‘tripped and fell into vending’, in the capacity of PR executive, before launching a specialist agency, ‘reynoldscopy’, dedicated to the UK Vending business. The company continues to represent the interests of many of the sector’s leading brands.

‘It’s all about telling stories’, he says. ‘We want to make every visit to PV a rewarding experience. By celebrating the achievements of the UK’s operating companies, we’re on a mission to debunk the idea that vending is retailing’s poor relation.’

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