Will smart vending machines replace the IT service desk?

Smart vending machines are giving employees instant access to the supplies they need -- when they need it. But will it solve the hardware administrative headaches for IT?

The digital transformation of vending machines

Video: The digital transformation of vending machines

Large tech companies who wish to streamline their IT processes and bring flexibility to their employees have been turning to smart vending machines to help the IT service desk

Indianapolis, Ind.-based vending machine company IVM supplies technology companies such as Facebook, Intel, VMware, Dropbox, and HP to vend tech peripherals to users.

These vending machines also track supply inventory and asset utilization on back-end systems. Technology companies are adopting these machines.

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For example, Microsoft has six vending machines for its staff: five in Seattle, Wash., and one in NYC.

Automating the distribution of necessary hardware such as keyboards, mice, headsets, cables, and other peripherals keeps employees productive and gives them the business products they want.

A swipe of your employee badge and the peripheral is logged against your name and tracked at the inventory end.

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Stocks of hardware can be maintained instantly to better manage your stocks. IT will become more efficient, save costs, and improve employee satisfaction.

Intel has introduced smart vending machines to streamline the deliveries of new PCs. Instead of waiting for a new PC from the IT department, configured with Intel-specific apps and settings, users can use Intel's Grab-and Go lockers round the clock to collect their new hardware.

Will smart vending machines replace the IT service desk ZDNet
(Image: IVM)

Users choose when to collect their new PCs and return their old PCs. New PCs are provisioned using a self-setup automated process via USB stick that delivers the user's cloud-based profile and IT-supported application to whichever PC they adopt.

Intel reckons that up to 1,500 users per week use this process, which has reduced IT PC delivery costs by up to 30 percent.

So, how will smart vending machines impact the future of IT?

Automated supply vending allows IT staff and employees to work more efficiently. It also enables companies monitor the cost, deployment, and use of those supplies to make sure that expensive peripherals and are accounted for.

Cutting down waiting times for IT service requests lets workers access replacement laptops to keep them working. A week-long process to get a new laptop can now be supplied in minutes leading to a rise in productivity and associated improvement on returns on investments.

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Technology combined with tracking and logistic software can take are of your asset inventory and pave the way for frictionless IT.

Associating costs of items to departments and discovering how employees are consuming the hardware will enable IT service desks to become more efficient.

And if these machines replace most of the work that the service desk currently does, there are always opportunities in IT software -- or vending machine support.

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