TROY, MI -- Two of the nation's largest micromarket providers have partnered to develop what they say is the industry's first data integration standard. Access Integration and Management, developed by 365 Retail Markets here and Avanti Markets (Tukwila, WA), permits vending operators who add micromarkets to leverage their investment in vending management software for administration of the new micromarkets, too. AIM is an open protocol available to all micromarket and vending management solution providers.
According to 365 chief executive Joseph Hessling, micromarkets are now recognized as mainstream vending and foodservice solutions. He said his company and Avanti want to make sure that there is a standardized framework that will benefit operators and facilitate future innovation.
Avanti chief executive Jim Brinton added, "This project will help give all operators the opportunity to integrate their vending and coffee and micromarket business segments with their current vending management systems."
In developing AIM, the two firms created a single interface for managing product, sales and inventory data. Built as a common application programming interface (API) with input from all major vending management system developers, AIM will provide both the technology and documentation necessary for these systems to seamlessly enable communication between the micromarket management system and existing vending management systems, along with their associated handheld devices. Both 365 and Avanti expect this integration, over time, to become a standard option with the vending management software market.
Because micromarkets inherently generate more and richer data than their vending counterparts (for which the vending industry data transfer standard, widely called DEX, was developed), both 365 and Avanti believe this standard is essential for enabling the continued growth of the micromarket segment, while limiting the expenses operators must incur to manage both their micromarket and vending accounts. AIM deals with not only standardized data, but also addresses its storage and transmission, so third-party software providers will now be able to develop new solutions.
"The micromarket segment has unlocked many new business opportunities not seen before in the traditional vending industry," Brinton said. "This project will remove the constraints of operators having to manage more than one system to reconcile their business financials."
Hessling explained that "The people who use the micromarket every day might want to integrate data with personal applications and services, like wellness programs or fitness trackers. With AIM, that is now a possibility."