Japanese vending machines: Now dispensing Wi-Fi

Japanese vending machines: Now dispensing Wi-Fi

Summary: Asahi Soft Drinks have revealed plans to set up thousands of new vending machines that will work as free Wi-Fi hot spots.


Asahi Soft Drinks have unveiled a new type of vending machine: one that acts a free Wi-Fi hub.

The vending machines, that will also dispense your standard drinks, will send out Wi-Fi signals to a 50m radius.

The Wi-Fi will be free and accessible to anyone without a passcode or payment. From these machines it will be possible to surf for up to 30 minutes before you get cut off. It's not much of a catch though, as users are free to log back on after their time is up.

You don't even have to buy a drink from the machine to get access to the network.

As of 2012 Asahi hopes to set up 1,000 of the new vending machines throughout five regions of Japan. The eventually goal is to increase the number by tenfold throughout Japan within the first five years.

Asahi is already one of the most dominant vending machine brands in Japan, with around 250,000 throughout the country. However, Wi-Fi is not what you would usually associate with Asahi Soft Drinks, a Tokyo based beverage company.

Wi-Fi hotspots are becoming more prevalent in Japan with the rising popularity of smartphones and tablets among consumers -- with these new vending machines simple, free Internet access will be more prominent than ever.

Additionally, the machines could serve useful for tourism and shopping. When a user logs on to the free Wi-Fi they are taken to a homepage with information about local shops and sightseeing locations.

On the release on their official website Asahi also commented that the Wi-Fi networks will be accessible via all the major network carriers, as well as all devices.

There is no denying that Japan is light years ahead of the West when it comes to vending machines.

One of the most recent innovations being tested is facial recognition -- with a new vending machine that scans approaching customers and displays advertisements for the right target demographic, amongst other useful features.


Topics: Mobility, Networking, Wi-Fi

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  • Brilliant idea!

    BRILLIANT! ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT! It's nice to see a company develop a way both to help the public and likely increase sales too!
  • About time!

    Just ask anyone who travelled to Japan and they will tell you it's down right impossible to find a hotspot you can use...

    While Japanese might be "light years ahead of the West" when it comes to vending machines and arguably 3G technology, WiFi is definitely not one of it since it was so convenience to surf or tether with the "keitai" (mobile phone).
    If it wasn't for Nintendo DS, PSP or tablets I doubt there were demand for Wifi at all.
    • It is getting better

      I live in Japan and whilst public wifi access used to be bad as you say it has definitely been getting a lot better (particularly in Tokyo). This effort from Asahi is a sign of the rapid increase in public wifi.
  • RE: Japanese vending machines: Now dispensing Wi-Fi

    Why would they add facial recognition on a vending machine?
  • That's interesting idea to increase the sales from vending machines.

    I was very wonder to read this that a vending machine can send out Wi-Fi signals to a 50m radius. it's a very good indication to increase the sales from a vending machine. Thanks for sharing this informative and valuable post hope to see the next update soon.