Vianet’s New Website

Vianet Plus Vendman Adds Up To ‘Game-Changing’.

‘Together as one, Vianet and Vendman together have an unmatched capacity to provide end-to-end solutions, from payment systems and mobile applications through to management tools like Vendman and Vendexpert.’ Matt Lane.


Anyone who’s a major player in vending – and a hell of a lot of people who aren’t – knows Rob Little; or at least, they know who he is. That’s why our coverage of Vianet’s take over of Vendman so far has had a distinct ‘Rob’s gone and done what?!’ tone to it.

However, now that that the dust has settled and the genuine ‘sleeves rolled up’ work has begun, it’s time to reverse the super-trouper and try to answer the questions many in vending are asking: ‘Who are Vianet anyway, and what’s made them dig deep into their pockets to purchase Vendman?’

Matt Lane: ‘the face of Vianet’.

To many of us, the face of Vianet is Matt Lane. He’s been around the vending business for a while and we at PV have always referred to him as Managing Director. So let’s clarify his position. Matt is a Director of Vianet Ltd and his actual title is ‘Managing Director, Smart Machines.’

The entity that’s bought Rob’s baby is Vianet Group and that’s an altogether bigger beast. It was established 22 years ago and it’s been listed on the AIM since 2006. It’s been referred to in its local newspaper’s business pages as ‘a beer flow monitoring company’; it numbers ‘global blue chip companies’ amongst its roster of over 300 clients and over 250,000 devices are connected to its platform.

Vianet Group is on a mission to ‘be the recognised leader in terms of delivering unparalleled insight and actionable information which is game-changing for customers in our chosen markets.’ CEO is Stuart Darling. He was appointed a Director on 2 September, 2009. He joined with a UK and international background in Consumer Goods. He’s supported by CFO Mark Foster, a Non-Exec Chairman (James Dickson) and two Non-Exec Directors, (Chris Williams and Mike McGoun).

The stock-in-trade of Vianet Group is the connection of assets to The Internet of Things. They’ve been doing that since before most of us even had an inkling what it meant…

Make no mistake: Vianet Group is a Big Player. Consequently, it has the muscle and the expertise to ‘boldly go’ into areas that, working alone, Vendman could only fantasise about.

What’s for sure is that Matt sees the deal as win-win. ‘It’s a fantastic acquisition for both Vianet and Vendman’, he says, ‘bringing together two companies that together have almost a quarter of a century of knowledge and expertise in their chosen fields. The upshot is that there’s now one company that can support customers in controlling their businesses through the use of our management tools; lead the way through innovation designed to drive improved revenue margins in a period where cost pressures will only increase, and finally, help customers transform their businesses by improving efficiency and unlocking new capability, through the imaginative use of data and insight.’ Boiled down, that’s ‘control’, ‘innovation’ and ‘transformation’ heading vending’s way at a rate of knots.

‘It’s really exciting’, Matt says. ‘Together as one, we have an unmatched capability to provide end-to-end solutions, from payment systems and mobile applications through to management tools like Vendman and Vendexpert.

‘Control’, ‘innovation’ and ‘transformation’ heading vending’s way…

‘As one team, we need to bring the two companies together over the next couple of months but both Rob and I believe that customers should be as excited as we are about the future. We believe that in this case, one plus one really does equal three: The whole is truly greater than the sum of its parts. The benefits we’re going to bring to market over the next twelve months and into the future really will help operators in the vending industry to unlock their potential.

‘On a day to day basis, our customers will not see an immediate impact and it’ll will be business as normal’, Matt says. ‘Having said that, the new products on the horizon can genuinely be described as ‘game changing’.’

The purchase of Vendman dovetails perfectly with Vianet’s strategy of developing game-changing – there’s that phrase again – solutions, by empowering talented people focused on positively transforming business performance; and by securing long-term contracts with recurring high cash margin annuity streams that are scalable.

A marriage made in Heaven? We’ll see: what’s for sure is that these particular nuptials are enjoying a great reception.

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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