- centralized accounting of vending machines and their owners
- collection of data about cash funds accepted by the vending machines and about their functioning
- data storage and processing
- providing access to information for the vending machine owners
- providing access to information for the supervisory (tax) authorities for controlling businesses related to retail trade with using vending machines
Until quite recently, state controlling authorities could get a picture of the vending machine trade turnover only by studying the reports provided by their owners. And a tremendous number of vending machines remained completely unnoticed, because it is very simple to place a coffee vending machine in a crowded place, and the owner can just fill it and collect the money.
Vending machine control system has been developed following in order to establish control over the turnover of money in cash in this retail trade segment. Development of the vending machine control system has been performed with international practices taken into consideration and in dense cooperation with organizations that perform vending (trading by using vending machines without human participation).
The database of the Vending machine control system (hereinafter referred to as VMCS) allows to unambiguously identify the objects of automation (the vending machine, its owner, the user of the system, etc.), and also to register their activities.
A special device, which is called Tax Authority Control System (hereinafter referred to as TACS) and embedded into the vending machine, performs transfer of data about vending machine operation into the TACS and sends information about cash funds acceptance into the system data processing center. The TACS device connects to the plug of the data bus, which runs between the cash acceptor and the control device of the vending machine, and which transmits the banknote acceptance signals. The TACS is capable of recognizing these signals and transmitting them by using a GSM module to processing center in the form of messages of specific format. The signals are very simple: vending machine startup, communication acknowledgement, receiving a banknote at a specific moment of time, disabling communication.
The system is implemented on a three-tier architecture “client—application server—DBMS server” with remote access of users to the system via the Internet.
The system comprises the following structure elements:
- web resource (system website);
- data processing center (DPC) subsystem;
- communication subsystem;
- integrated controller for tax authorities supervision;
- data transfer system;
- information protection system.
Hardware and technical architecture is based on hardware and software already owned by the owner, as well as networking infrastructure. The system has been implemented and prepared for commercial use in the record-breaking shortest terms. Only 9 months have passed between the start of development and the end of implementation.
For controlling agencies:
•The system has provided a unique capability to collect data on real-time cash circulation accurately, to a banknote, and to possess all the information that is necessary for control.
•A great number of wrongdoing and abuses has been detected: replacement of cash acceptors, their reprogramming in order to accept banknotes of large denomination and not give return money. Also, there were a lot of cases when clients made complaints that they had paid the money and the goods were not delivered.
•The owners of vending machines can supervise the serviceability of vending machines in real-time mode. Previously, sometimes machines were unserviceable for many weeks, for instance, as a result of system failure or competitors unplugging the power supply cord.