Projekt: Mobile programmierung of vending and change machines
The starting point
With the introduction of the Euro, the manufacturers of systems equipped with coin testing devices (such as vending machines, change machines or coin telephones) were faced with the task of converting each device to accept the new currency punctually on the day of changeover. There are e.g. over 800,000 cigarette machines in Germany alone, whose conversion was previously only possible by replacing with a pre-programmed coin testing unit. Together with the German subsidiary of National Rejectors, Inc. (NRI), a worldwide operating manufacturer of coin testing devices, we searched for more elegant alternatives and organised a market study for mobile programming solutions and we decided on realisation using PDAs running on the PalmOS operating system.
The demands were high: Over 50 different coin tester versions stretching back 2 decades, different historic communication protocols and electrical connections, extensive external software to “fuel” the respective PDAs, hardware copy-protection and lastly an absolutely immovable delivery deadline all had to be overcome. The various programs were developed in an intercompany team of mathematicians, electronics engineers and IT specialists.
The project was implemented successfully and on schedule in several stages across Europe. Besides the pure conversion to other currencies, development has continued to the present day with additional functions: Old coins could also be accepted during a transitional period or alignment functions were accomplished to reject constantly recurring counterfeit money and the identification of new coins, as well as the configuration of sorting paths, price and discount calculation in addition to databases for archiving and historical tracking.
The effective and cordial cooperation led to further joint projects, including the creation of an Oracle database for acquiring the characteristic measurement values of many thousands of coins from around the world in a web/client environment.
Further information is available at www.nri.de