The winners will be honored during an awards presentation at 5 p.m. EST on Dec. 5., when the Summit honors the most innovative solutions for kiosks, vending and facilities for adapting to the new normalcy of COVID-19 and its aftermath.

One purpose of the Self-Service Innovation Summit Dec. 4-6 is to recognize the products that are contributing to our dynamic industry. Hence, a key aspect of the Summit is the Automation & Self-Service Awards, formerly known as the Self-Service Innovation Awards.

The winners will be honored during an awards presentation at 5 p.m. EST on Dec. 5, when the Summit honors the most innovative solutions for kiosks, vending and facilities for adapting to the new normalcy of COVID-19 and its aftermath.

Readers of Kiosk Marketplace and Vending Times submitted nominations from August through October. A panel of judges reviewed the nominations and selected the winners in seven categories: Best Use of AI, Vending, Kiosk, Robotics, Accessibility, Best Mobile Solution and Influencer of the Year.

Following are the finalists in each of the categories.

Best Use of AI

AI-powered Elera Commerce Platform

Submitted by Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions

The Elera Commerce Platform leverages embedded technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, computer vision and biometrics to enhance personalized customer experiences, optimize operations, support loss prevention strategies and enable data-driven decision-making.

Shoppers are able to switch between channels (digital and physical), providing unified and personalized recommendations, maintaining shopping cart continuity and offering convenient options.

They can also identify produce, eliminating the need to manually input item codes at checkout.

Dynamic Interaction

Submitted by SoundHound

SoundHound Dynamic Interaction enables conversational AI for human-computer interaction by not only recognizing and understanding speech, but also responding and acting in real-time.

The consumer interface for drive-thrus, kiosks and any customer service device with a screen enables instant, continuous audiovisual feedback in response to both verbal and touch commands.

In customer service settings such as ordering food at a restaurant users don’t have to speak in a slow or unnatural way to be understood. They can communicate just as if they were talking to a human and receive instant responses. They can also customize and edit a food order “live” verbally, by touch or using both interchangeably.

The system can ignore off-topic speech, make proactive suggestions to the user and help decide when to use audio or visual output. Beyond restaurants, the tool can be adapted for a variety of products and services.

Best Vending Solution

Selfy Store

Submitted by Selfy Store

The Selfly Store allows shoppers to tap their payment card or mobile wallet, then open the cabinet door to explore the contents. Transactions take just 10 seconds. Additionally, 28% of customers buy more than one item. The system also supports QR-based e-receipts and feedback, enhancing customer transparency and involvement.

Occupying one square meter, the unit uses RFID technology for real-time analytics even in freezing conditions, along with a heating system for a clear glass door.

Shoppers tap their payment card or mobile wallet on the terminal, then open the cabinet door to touch and inspect the products inside. Once the door is closed, they are charged only for the items they’ve chosen.

Shoppers also have the option to scan a QR code for an electronic receipt and to leave feedback, adding an extra layer of transparency and opening the door for additional customer input.

The expiration date management functionality helps to control food waste.

Nayax Management Suite

Submitted by Nayax Ltd.

The Nayax Management Suite from Nayax Ltd. allows operators to manage machines, inventory, terminal software and customers with an interface that provides a continuous view of operations and KPIs.

New features to the suite include:

  • Product maps and picklists: Data-based insights help operators organize stock.
  • Route management and planning.
  • Inventory management: Add or edit products right from the app, create or edit product maps to reflect changes, create picklists and manage inventory.
  • Machine monitoring: A dashboard highlights sales, alerts and machine status for operations, enabling operators to locate problems by filtering through changes.
  • Real-time alerts: To view real-time alerts and inventory status, the operator can change machine configurations and reduce the reliance on office support for routine maintenance tasks.
  • Actionable alerts: MoMa 2.0, Nayax’s management app, puts the power of monitoring at operators’ fingertips to optimize their operation by tackling issues as they occur.
  • Third party integrations (payment, management and machine-to-machine): Oprators can connect to any third party to add features and tools to business processes.

Best Kiosk Solution

Samsung Kiosk

Submitted by Samsung Electronics

Powered by the 11th Gen Intel Core Processor and built on the Windows 10 IoT Enterprise operating system, Samsung’s KMC-W kiosk offers full compatibility with major ordering, point-of-sale and property management system software solutions.

The expanded interfaces for third party peripherals allow businesses to tailor the kiosks for various scenarios, including using them as ID/passport scanners, external cameras, payment terminals and vending machines.

Businesses can integrate all of their inventory regardless of location and bridge in-store and online shopping experiences with endless aisle capabilities while also tapping new revenue streams via digital out of home advertising opportunities delivered directly to customers.

The kiosk can also integrate loyalty programs into each interaction to entice, engage and increase ticket sizes long term.

A shatterproof film and UL-certified antimicrobial coating protects its screens and customers while delivering state-of-the-art picture quality.

Scan & Go Market

Submitted by The Wittern Group

The Scan & Go Market offers operators the capacity needed to sell a wide range of products, including fresh food, beverages, snacks, candies and pastries.

The system includes a mobile app that simplifies scanning, ensuring accuracy and item identification while also offering various payment options, including credit cards, digital wallets and contactless payments.

The system’s controlled cooler access with automatic locking mechanisms provides security while allowing consumers to make informed purchase decisions and examine the product before completing the sale.

Scan & Go Market is also equipped with temperature sensing technology to ensure health safety compliance. If the air temperature inside the smart cooler rises above the health safety temperature limit for more than 15 minutes, perishable food is automatically prevented from being sold. This feature also notifies the operator of which products are no longer safe to sell, ensuring that in-demand products are always available for consumers.

Furthermore, Scan & Go Market provides data analytics capabilities that offer insights into consumer behavior and preferences.

Best Use of Robotics

Robojo Coffee Kiosk

Submitted by Robojo Coffee

Robojo is a 12-foot wide unattended retail kiosk capable of serving 100 cups of bean-to-cup coffee per hour.

The kiosk is built around two WMF-5000S+ automatic espresso machines featuring two latte art printers, a refrigerator and a Kawasaki robot arm. The equipment is connected to the monitoring system via ethernet cables allowing devices to be plug and play.

Customers can order at one of two credit card terminals or via a propriety downloadable app. The app provides a bar code that’s good until it is redeemed at the kiosk.

This unit can make 600 drinks before it needs to be restocked with cups, beans and milk. The robot arm is capable of making up to five drinks at a time.

The central ERP system monitors the entire kiosk, providing daily sales reports while constantly monitoring the equipment and notifying managers if issues arise.

Once the unit is installed it requires about an hour a day to restock and clean the machine which equates to labor savings versus traditional coffee shops.

Cotton Candy Robot

Submitted by Sweet Robo LLC

Cotton Candy Robot from Sweet Robo LLC allows customers to witness their treat being spun and formed into dazzling shapes right before their eyes. The robotic arm takes a fresh paper stick and spins different sugars to build flavorful layers to each treat, then shapes it into the customer’s selected design.

The machine features a security camera, sensors, a sound system, a touchscreen, a tracking app and a payment system which includes a bill acceptor, credit card reader and coin changer.

Operators also have the option to custom order additional payment systems that accept coins, other currencies or a credit device.

Sweet Robo offers round-the-clock technical support via various communication channels — be it chatbots, video calls, Telegram or email.

Best Accessibility Solution

Visor Accessible Wayfinding Solution for the Visually Impaired

Submitted by Icomera

Visor is a technological service innovation designed to enhance the appeal of public transportation in accessibility, comfort, design or user-friendliness of a transport system, vehicles and stations. Visually impaired people have difficulty using traditional signage and therefore cannot be fully independent in unfamiliar environments. Visor provides contextual guidance to blind and visually impaired users at stations, helping make transit facilities fully accessible.

Visor leverages NaviLens BIDI codes and GoMedia’s cloud-based, passenger information system to display directions in the NaviLens and NaviLens Go apps. Visor makes use of optical BIDI codes that can be scanned from distances over 60 meters away from a smart device. Passengers simply hold up their smartphone. The smart device automatically recognizes any BIDI codes in view and displays location- and context-specific directions to help the passenger reach their destinations more quickly and easily.

Visor provides user contextual awareness and autonomy with a personalized interface, something that point-to-point navigation does not provide.

Theme Park Wristband Dispensing Kiosk

Submitted by Swyft

Swyft has deployed automated wristband dispensing kiosks at Universal Studios Hollywood at the Super Nintendo World attraction to enable fully automated wristband acquisition for all guests, including those with disabilities.

The kiosks feature a 23-inch PCAP user interface with ADA compliance in mind that allows guests to add multiple items to their cart without transitioning between various cumbersome pages to decide on what they want.

In addition, text has been completely removed from the interface, thus eliminating language barriers.

When guests are ready to check out, they are invited to pay via a credit card reader only. As a fully automated solution, cash sales are accepted in theme park retail stores only.

Best Mobile Solution

Good2Go Automated Access Solution

Submitted by Good2Go Inc.

Good2Go’s automated access and virtual queuing technology gives shoppers frictionless access to restrooms, dressing rooms and locked merchandise with QR code technology while deterring crime and misuse. The solution enables businesses to provide access to high-risk areas without staff needing to manage keys or punch codes.

There’s no app to download. Shoppers use their smartphones to scan the QR code directly outside the door. They immediately receive a mobile pass on their phone, which they display to the scanner, and the door opens automatically and seamlessly.

Good2Go software automatically operates virtual queue capability and eliminates long lines, allowing customers to shop or sit at their table while waiting their turn.

The solution offers a single access tool for an infinite number of entry points, from simple restroom and dressing room solutions to a single point of access for every customer touchpoint — transportation, entertainment, order fulfillment, EV interface, travel, transport and more.

Canadian Tire Mobile App & Customer Facing Device Kiosk

Submitted by Canadian Tire Retail

Self-service kiosks and mobile apps play an important role of Canada Tire Retail’s omnichannel customer journey as both devices enable customers to view the company flyer, register the company’s “Triangle” rewards cards and determine the right product to fit a customer’s vehicle.

And while all customers seek help locating products, they also have varying levels of comfort with technology. Tech savvy customers may prefer to use their mobile device and not interact with store staff, while customers from the older generations are not always as comfortable with tech or may not even have a mobile device in hand. Either device displays the aisle location of the products the customer is looking for.

The kiosk also displays a QR code on the homepage that enables users to download the app to their phone while in the store.

Each week, analytic insights are shared with stores, creating visibility to top search terms to inform them of what customers are looking for so they can adjust their merchandising if needed.

Influencer of the Year

Aslak de Silva, CEO, Selfy Store

Submitted by Selfy Store

Selfly Store, a Finland-based company owned by Stora Enso, has grown to 21 European countries in addition to the U.S. under de Silva’s leadership. The company has also expanded its unattended, RFID-enabled freestanding stores designed for contactless on-the-go purchasing.

The company most recently launched an intelligent vending freezer to its suite of unattended products.

Neil Thompson, VP of Digital, HMSHost

Submitted by HMSHost

HMSHost has taken a leadership role in leveraging self-service technology for airport food concessions. HMSHost’s effort has led to a doubling of self-service kiosk deployments at HMSHost-operated airport restaurants in 2022. As well, HMSHost has created significant value for travelers through self-checkout and QR code order deployment as well as OpenTable virtual waitlists and reservations capabilities.

Neil Thompson leads HMSHost’s digital efforts, and he credits the IT and operations teams at the company for the dramatic rise in digital adoption rates in North American airports in providing incremental traveler value.

To register for the Summit, click here.

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