RealTime IT News

Zoom Systems Launches "E-Stations"

San Francisco-based Zoom Systems launched its ATM-like E-station product line, calling it "an intelligent delivery system designed to provide consumers immediate access to both products and product selection information."

Zoom CEO Gower Smith said the E-Station solution will give consumers the capability to buy a wide range of products "anytime, anywhere."

"E-Stations give consumers the kind of fast information access they get from the Internet, as well as the instant product delivery they expect from vending machines," Smith said.

E-Station shoppers use interactive touch screens to access information on products they wish to buy. The company said its E-Station solution offers opportunities to retailers of both impulse- and urgent-need products to expand their business reach. From pharmaceuticals to CDs, computer games, videos and other entertainment products, retailers can create mini-stores in hotels, airports and office buildings.

One early user is Hewlett-Packard Co., which is using E-Stations to give its customers easy access to print cartridges, media and other printing supplies. HP is installing its branded HP EXPRESS E-Stations in convenience stores and high-traffic areas such as college campuses.

"The HP EXPRESS system makes buying HP supplies, such as inkjet print cartridges and specialty papers, as easy as going to an ATM machine," said Jill Kramer, brand manager for HP's Inkjet Supplies Business Unit." We want to make sure that a customer who's trying to print an important document at 2 a.m. isn't stuck without a cartridge. . ."

E-Stations are connected via the Internet to and managed by a central facility called the E-Center. The system builds a purchase-pattern database of real-time information. Merchants can manage inventory more effectively, and quickly respond to market changes with pricing changes and promotions, Zoom said.

Modular delivery units, designed to meet customer specifications, can accommodate diverse products in multiple shapes, sizes and complexities.

Privately held Zoom Systems partners include MicroAge, Canteen Vending Services, First USA PaymentTech (a division of Bank One Corp.), Wright Industries, and Crane National Vendors (a division of Crane Co.).