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How Blockchain Could Influence Leisure Centre Vending

Picture of Alcohol in a Vending Machine

It seems like everywhere you look you find technology that is in some way linked to blockchain. Just in case you missed the news, blockchain is no longer confined to cryptocurrency. Blockchain technologies are being used to facilitate better logistics, maintain corporate accounting, and automate administrative tasks in law offices. It is even making its way into vending.

A new blockchain vending system was introduced in the US earlier in 2019. The system is designed to allow for vending of age-sensitive products like alcohol and tobacco without risking minors getting their hands on products they shouldn't be buying. Assuming the system is successful, we can easily see it having an influence on leisure centre vending.

Guarding Age-Sensitive Products

Putting something like beer or wine coolers in a vending machine is a no-brainer in the UK. The problem is preventing minors from purchasing those products. You cannot make it simple enough that a child could walk up, deposit a couple of pounds, and walk away with a lager. But how do you prevent such a thing? Through age verification.

A US company specialising in electronic payments came up with a solution based on simple blockchain record keeping. It is a system that relies on a one-time age verification process and a smartphone app that links the user's phone to the payment processor's computer network.

When a registered user wants to purchase a beer, he or she holds his/her phone up to the QR code on the vending machine's screen. The vending machine and phone then ‘talk’ to one another to verify the user's identity. As long as the identity checks out, the machine dispenses the beer.

Block chain is the ideal tool for this sort of thing because of its immutability. In other words, once the record of a user's identity is entered and verified, it cannot be changed. It cannot be deleted either. That makes it extremely difficult to hack the system in order to get around age verification.

Block Chain in Leisure Centre Vending

There are other details about the system we do not have the space to cover here. But let's talk about what it could mean to leisure centre vending. To our knowledge, age-sensitive products are not carried at your typical leisure centre, but they could be if the powers that be approved.

We are thinking more along the lines of recommending vending options based on personal profiles. Consider a leisure centre guest who is also diabetic. Certain kinds of vending machine products would not be appropriate for that person. Using an individualised profile for that guest, the vending machine could present choices appropriate to his or her diet. Along with those choices could be all of the nutritional information the guest needs to make a wise decision.

Blockchain is finally making its way to the vending ecosystem. If we had to bet, we'd say that it will be mainstream within a year or two. You might even see it in leisure centre vending.