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Crane, Heartland Join Forces To Unveil Cashless Solution; Streamware Adds Remote Machine Monitoring Capability

Posted On: 4/2/2008

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LAS VEGAS -- Making their debuts in late March were two "end-to-end" solutions for vending operators from Crane Co.

Crane Merchandising Systems and Heartland Payment Systems (Princeton, NJ) have teamed up to launch Heartland Crane CashCard Solutions for cashless vending. Heartland is a leading provider of credit/debit/prepaid card processing, payroll and payment services; it acquired cashless vending pioneer Debitek two years ago. It's designed to work over cellular or Ethernet networks, and allows local-area machine-to-machine networking to enable credit-card acceptance at the vending machine. The system was previewed at the National Automatic Merchandising Association Spring Expo here.

Also taking the stage in Las Vegas was Streamware Connect from Crane Streamware (Norwood, MA), a seamless solution for wireless remote monitoring of vending equipment. It integrates with Streamware's VendMax management software and Crane's Currenza Recycler payment system.

The Heartland Crane CashCard initiative involves a new bezel for Crane's Currenza bill validators, jointly developed by Crane and Heartland to provide a single-slot solution for operators seeking both bill recycling (i.e., the ability to pay back banknotes as change) and multiple cashless payment options. This device works with the Streamware Connect telemetry system, which links vending machines with a wide-area network. The third element is Heartland's back-end credit card processing system and merchant services.

Features of the Heartland Crane CashCard Solution include comprehensive real-time reporting of both cash and cashless settlement, and a guarantee that operators will receive payment for credit card transactions within 48 hours.

Streamware Connect provides two-way data communication between operator and machine, and so can deliver critical information about sales and inventory, cash and machine functionality "24/7," in real time. Crane noted that this actionable information will allow VendMax customers to service more machines on each route without the need for additional resources. This makes it possible to add business without adding a truck or consolidating routes to free up a truck.

Crane Merchandising Systems president Brad Ellis observed that, by joining forces, Heartland and Crane "match strength with strength." Heartland is a market leader in cashless payment hardware and processing solutions, and brings daily bank settlement deposits, real-time Web-based transaction data access and superior cashless technology to the vending channel.

"Crane, through our Streamware Connect monitoring solution, provides accurate, instantaneous vending machine reporting detail for sales, inventory replenishment and machine health alerts," Ellis added. "Together, we are developing a cashless solution unlike any in the industry. Both Crane and Heartland offer world-class customer care. For operators, it's an end-to-end wireless solution that optimizes machine management and improves profitability."

Heartland Payment Systems chairman and chief executive officer Bob Carr pointed out that "Our joint vending solution with Crane Merchandising Systems sends a powerful message to vending operators that it is safe and smart to implement cashless vending right now." The Heartland Crane CashCard Solution will be available through Crane Merchandising Systems and Heartland Payment Systems sales representatives. It's compatible with virtually any current vending machine, and was designed to complement the Currenza bill validator/recycler.

Glenn Butler, vice-president and chief technology officer of Crane Merchandising Systems, observed that Streamware Connect offers many advantages beyond service-frequency optimization. These include machine-status alerts that can flag jams, compressor failures and sold-out conditions for immediate action, and Web-based reporting capability enabling the operator to obtain critical information immediately over any Internet connection, in or out of the office.

Improved "pre-sell" accuracy is a key benefit, Butler emphasized. "When you know with certainty when to service the machines and with what product, you can better manage your resources. And when your remote monitoring solution integrates seamlessly with your software and equipment, your efficiencies are doubly increased."

Crane Merchandising Systems reports that it is the only original equipment manufacturer to offer a completely integrated solution, from payment systems through vending equipment and software to aftermarket parts and service. Each CMS business unit leverages the organization's breadth of resources and talent. Crane's entry into the remote monitoring arena for vending comes after years of wireless experience in other markets. The Streamware Connect platform was developed by Crane Wireless Monitoring Solutions, and has been proven in other industries such as oil and natural gas extraction.n