(WJBK) - The future of vending machines is being molded right here in Detroit.
"We're in the technology business for vending and food services; that's what we do," says Verii CEO Joe Hessling. He got the concept for the new-aged vending maching years ago when his deli, Abe's Deli in Southfield, was put in a pickle by the recession of 2009. He needed to figure out how to get his sandwiches out to more people without having to hire more labor or open more locations.
Joe got creative. He figured if he could get his sandwiches into something like a vending machine, he could sell more without needing to hire more. The problem was the technology for this just wasn't there.
So he went to work making it.
And he did make it work, creating "micro markets" where you use self checkouts. But some places wanted smaller. Or, at least, cheaper.
"Everybody wants to be Google, but not everybody can afford it," he says.
He had to get creative again.
Joe's idea then evolved from an automated machine's screen to the screen on your smart phone.
This time he made Verii, an app that allows you to scan the item you want with your phone and then money is deducted from your preloaded account. You can see how it works by watching Derek Kevra's Tech Talk report in the video player above.
Test markets for Verii include Detroit, Boston and Nashville. They are currently ramping up to expand all over the United States.
You can get more information at www.verii.com.