Potato vending machine from KINALI: HW and SW development under one roof
Agricultural cooperatives also seek new and innovative ways to get their products directly to consumers and bypass the conventional supply chain. It makes sense. This move allows the price of fruit and vegetables to be lowered for consumers and the producer's profits to increase instead of being lost in the wholesale and retail sector. One such project we helped bring to the world in the form of potato vending machines.
The client expressed a need to expand their sales reach without increasing their current human resources. They are a major potato grower in the region, offering their products mainly through direct deliveries and an e-shop. It now plans to make its produce available to customers through a self-service vending machine.
KINALI solution proposal
At the beginning of the project, we conducted several interviews with the client. The aim was to get an overview of his current working practices related to sales and distribution of production. For example, the method of shipment, responsibility for approving the filling of each potato vending machine or the frequency of restocking, etc. We tried to take these practices into account as much as possible when designing our new solution. At the same time, an analysis was carried out which focused on the detailed characteristics of the end customer and the ideal location of the machine.
The key milestones of the project were the development of hardware for fast and accurate weighing, ergonomic potato dispensing and the design of a device resistant to outdoor climatic conditions in different seasons. In terms of software, we focused on the user-friendliness of the system for both the administrator who will operate the potato vending machines and the end customers.
The entire system, custom designed for our client, envisages the gradual deployment of a large number of vending machines - "potatomats" - throughout the Czech Republic. Thanks to high-quality insulation, heating and air conditioning, the vending machines can be installed in any location, including those exposed to adverse weather conditions (heat, cold, snow, rain, etc.).
In order to simplify the logistics of the entire installation and to meet the economic requirements of the client, we decided to divide the construction and assembly of the hardware "potatomat" into two parts. We design and deliver the internal technology and components to the client. The client builds the outer shell of the machine himself under more economically advantageous conditions. Subsequently, they integrate our technology into it and finalize the whole device on their own.
From hardware to software
The next part of our work was to create a user application and software to control the "potatomat" as a whole. The end customer purchases the potatoes through a friendly and intuitive user interface. This allows card payment and the purchase of up to 10 kg of potatoes at a time.
The solution also includes a server application that monitors the operational status of individual "potatomats", such as their filling, temperature or possible malfunctions. The application is designed with the client's plans in mind, so that it is possible and easy to manage a large number of machines from one place.
Interesting facts from the realization
This order was unique in terms of our deployment of technology. For the first time in history, we used the potential of artificial intelligence, specifically MidJourney, to design the user interface.
And also in terms of the degree of integration of different software and hardware under our roof. Unlike similar projects carried out by other companies, the entire solution was created under one roof and only in collaboration with the client. Common practice for comparable contracts involves the cooperation of several specialized entities, which usually complicates and makes the project more expensive. In the case of "potatomat", the design of the internal hardware part, integration of the payment terminal and payment application, server application and user interface was carried out entirely by us.