Category Archives: Featured

Pictured above from the left: Presenting the Best Payment System award, Phil Reynolds, Managing Director of Vendex; accepting their award, Vianet’s Matt Thornton, Client Director; Rachel Little, Marketing Manager; Mark Parry, Commercial Director; and on the right, The Vendies 2022 host, comedian Ian Moore.

On Thursday, 9th June 2022, Vianet travelled down to the capital to attend The Vendies 2022. This year’s Vending Industry Awards, hosted by Vending International, were held in the Grand Connaught Rooms in Holborn, Central London, and welcomed a wealth of suppliers and operators from across the UK’s vending industry.

Vianet was crowned the winner of two awards; ‘Best Payment System’, and ‘Best Supplier Website’. The Company was also ‘Highly Commended’ for the ‘Corporate Responsibility’ award, alongside the category winner, Mondelēz International.

 

The ‘Best Payment System’ award is a major achievement for Vianet, as contactless payment reached new highs of demand throughout the pandemic and the Company’s brand new contactless payment and telemetry solution, ‘SmartContact Pro’, was introduced to the unattended retail market to meet demand.Contactless Payment for Vending Machine

Vianet’s contactless payment, telemetry, and data services work in synchronicity to provide invaluable insight for the industry looking to utilise cashless payment data. Vianet offers the only truly end-to-end solution on the market, having already helped many vending businesses adopt cashless technology and data capture across their estate to make informed decisions.

Winning ‘Best Supplier Website’ is an excellent accolade for Vianet, following the launch of its new and improved website in November 2021. Changes were introduced to the website to improve the users understanding of Vianet’s products and services, improve the user journey, and introduce a streamlined login area for accessing service dashboards remotely.

Vianet was shortlisted in seven award categories, which were decided by a judging process in the spring. Each award entry was reviewed by an independent panel of industry experts, comprising leading names from across the sector. The judging panel assessed the entries in accordance with a strict set of criteria to determine a shortlist in each category.

The shortlists went to an online vote, where professionals from the vending sector were invited to make their voices heard by casting a vote for the products, operators, and individuals that they believed would be worthy winners. Each stage of the vote held a 50% weighting in the final decision.

Mark Parry, Vianet’s Commercial Director, attended the awards, stating, “We had a fantastic day in London for The Vendies, and I’m extremely proud of the Smart Machines division and our support functions who have contributed to this success. Already in 2022 we have had some great achievements, launching new features into SmartVend and expanding our reach in the payments market. These awards are testament to this and the hard work of our team.”

Huge congratulations to the other award winners at the event. There is incredible talent within the vending industry at present and it is fantastic to see this recognised. To find out more about the winners of The Vendies 2022, please click here.

The Vendies 2022 Winners

Pictured: The Vianet team alongside other ‘The Vendies 2022’ award winners at the Grand Connaught Rooms, London.

Vianet hosted their southern golf day on Thursday 26th May 2022 at Frilford Heath Golf Course, which this year will host the  English  Trophy presented by  Rocket  Yard  Sports  Marketing when the  European Challenge  Tour returns to  British soil in September.

The day started with registration, goody bags and breakfast rolls as clients arrived.

The event brought clients together from both Vianet’s vending and hospitality divisions, creating a refreshing dynamic allowing both sectors to collaborate and network. The teams played four ball better ball, with prizes for nearest the pin and overall winners. Snacks and refreshments were provided at the halfway house for our teams as they made their way round the 18 holes.

We ended the day with a fantastic evening meal with a prizegiving. Our prize winners included Mark Grunnell of Red Oak Taverns and Lee Worgan of JW Vending taking prizes for nearest the pin, alongside Chris Worgan of JW Vending taking prize for the longest drive.

The overall winning team on the day included Vianet chairman, Jim Dickson, Mark Grunnell of Red Oak Taverns, Ken MacIsaac of Lavazza Professional, Greg Wallis of Shepherd Neame. The winning team members will go onto the final at Gleneagles as well as receiving a selection of wine.

GALLERY

Vianet hosted their northern golf day on Thursday 12th May 2022 at The Alwoodley, the very first golf course designed by Dr Alister Mackenzie who went on to design Augusta and Cypress Point amongst other iconic courses. This stunning course is situated in Leeds and was recently ranked as No. 36 in the top golf courses in GB & Ireland by Today’s Golfer.

The day started with registration, goody bags and a full English breakfast as clients arrived.

The event brought clients together from both Vianet’s vending and hospitality divisions, creating a refreshing dynamic allowing both sectors to collaborate and network. The day itself brought superb weather with the sun peeking through the clouds throughout the afternoon.

The teams played four ball better ball, with prizes for nearest the pin and overall winners. Snacks and refreshments were provided at the halfway house for our teams as they made their way round the 18 holes.

We ended the day with a fantastic evening meal served in the Alister Mackenzie Room with a prizegiving. Our prize winners included David Graddon and Gary Raymond from Graddon Vending taking prizes for nearest the pin, alongside our very own Business Development Manager, Paul Sansome.

The overall winning team on the day included Vianet chairman, Jim Dickson, David Graddon of Graddon Vending, Ross MacDonald of Upton Group and Andrew Buchanan of Daniel Thwaites. The winning team members will go onto the final at Gleneagles as well as receiving a selection of wine.

With the great feedback we’ve received from the day so far, we are thoroughly looking forward to our event in the south on Thursday!

 

“As golf days go that was a special one!”

Simon Wilkes – Wilkes Vending

 

“The whole day was very enjoyable, the course magnificent, the food very good”

Ross MacDonald- Upton Group

 

“Simply amazing, well organised, great people and a wonderful day.”

Kevin Reed – Tower Leasing

 

“A thoroughly enjoyable day.”

David Wigham – Admiral Taverns

GALLERY

Vianet have been shortlisted as a finalist for this year’s Tees Tech Awards under three award categories – ‘Company of the Year’, ‘Digital Innovation’, and ‘Best Digital Project’. Vianet are the only company amongst the finalists that have been shortlisted for 3 awards.

The Tees Tech Awards is a Tees Business event in association with DigitalCity and Middlesbrough Digital, and the award ceremony itself is due to take place at Hardwick Hall Hotel on Thursday, April 28. The awards recognise and celebrate the organisations and individuals thriving within the Tees region’s fast-growing digital sector together with the local companies driving their business through digital transformation.

Nearly 90 entries and nominations came in for the awards across the 11 categories, with sponsors now announcing their choices for the final three for each award.

Vianet have seen a strong recovery coming out of the global pandemic as hospitality and pubs reopen, together with good growth in both new business and contactless payment solution sales in their unattended retail division. Innovative and ever-growing, Vianet have evolved and shown strong potential throughout their 27 years as a technology business on Teesside.

 

Company of the Year

Vianet’s aim is to be the recognised leader in delivering unparalleled insight and actionable information that is game-changing for customers in their chosen sectors. As well as this, Vianet pride themselves on being a people business, creating opportunities for growth and development for their employees as well as their customers.

With over 140 employees, Vianet has over 300 customers across their technology estate, including several global blue-chip clients such as Lavazza, Greene King, Compass Group, Atalian Servest, Coca-Cola, and many more.  With more than 250,000 devices connected to Vianet’s platform, along with years of experience and knowledge, form a powerful technology and insight capability that few can match.

 

Digital Innovation

Vianet are an Internet of Things company whose software platforms and solutions specialise in delivering innovative data insight, remote asset management and contactless payment for the hospitality, vending machine, unattended retail, food service and fuel sectors. With products such as their SmartInsight reporting suite, and SmartVend insight portal, Vianet deliver unique and meaningful data to customers, including blue-chip companies, allowing them to make informed operational decisions to drive profits, increase sales and create efficiencies.

 

Best Digital Project

With the vending industry going through a period of change, Vianet’s SmartVend data insight platform, combined with its contactless payment and telemetry solutions, offers the industry’s only cloud-based IOT “end-to-end” solution for the vending, coffee and unattended retail markets.

Built around an easy, intuitive dashboard, SmartVend gives vending operators the ability to view their machine data anytime, anywhere.

The software is proving a big hit. For example, Compass Group – the world’s largest foodservice company – has identified a 45 per cent increase in average monthly sales as a result of installing contactless payment and being able to review its sales data remotely within the SmartVend portal.

 

Vianet would like to wish all their fellow finalists the best of luck at this year’s Tees Tech Awards.

 

Keep checking back for updates on our progress.

 

Throughout each year, Vianet give something back in a way that has the potential to have a positive impact in the wider community. One of the ways we achieve this is through delivering an annual fundraising campaign to raise funds for a specific charity, so rather than doing one-off fund-raising for multiple charities, we have a more focussed approach to supporting one main charity.

Some of the different means of support our employees and partners offer include fundraising with cake days, Christmas hampers, raffles/prize draws, shoebox appeal, Just Giving donations, as well as larger scale events.My Sisters Place Logo

Giving Something Back to My Sisters Place

Vianet’s chosen charity for 2022 will be My Sisters Place.

My Sisters Place is an independent specialist ‘One Stop Shop’ for women aged 16 or over and have experienced or are experiencing domestic violence.  Established in 2002 in Middlesbrough, the charity are committed to working in partnership to tackle domestic violence.

Their approach is rooted in an understanding of the gendered nature of violence against women and girls, and recognises the way intersecting factors such as age, ethnicity, sexuality and disability can affect women’s experiences and the journey through recovery. Women and children have a right to live free from all forms of violence and abuse, and society has a duty to recognise and defend this right. My Sister’s Place takes this responsibility seriously and works with a wide range of partners to generate the best outcomes for women and children.

 

My Sisters Place Purpose:

  • To deliver accessible, effective, specialist services that are informed and evaluated by service users experiences promoting individual freedom and quality of life.
  • To explore new and innovative ways to address domestic violence issues with a range of partners, and share best practice locally and nationally.
  • To challenge inequality in access to safety, justice, health and wellbeing, and campaign for change to shape future policy and practice.
  • To work with the wider community through education and community involvement to create a cultural shift in a zero tolerance of domestic abuse, and better equip families to protect one another.

For further details, please visit their website

 

This doesn’t prevent or exclude Vianet from supporting other charities of course, but we hope that it will enable us to have greater awareness about our chosen charity and increase the amount of money we are able to raise for them.

Keep checking back to find out more about our ‘Giving Something Back’ campaign, and our fundraisers throughout the year.

My Sisters Place Womens Aid

During National Apprenticeship Week (7th – 13th February) Vianet marked the successful achievements and commitments of our apprentices for the last 18 months. Apprenticeships are a brilliant option for people of all ages to launch their careers, or simply upskill at various levels within Vianet. Participating in an apprenticeship at Vianet allows employees to acquire valuable skills and experience as well as a recognised qualification.

Growth and Success for Young People in Teesside

To celebrate the hard work and graduation of our apprentices, Vianet held a Graduation Presentation Day on the 11th February.  For this memorable event, Vianet invited the Executive Board and local dignitaries on site including the Mayor of Middlesbrough – Andy Preston, Leader of Stockton Council – Bob Cook, Principal Employment & Skills Officer – Roland Todd and Vice Chair of North East Apprenticeship Ambassador Network (NEAAN) – Alan Wallace. The day involved a short tour of the Head Office showcasing the great work within the organisation, meeting with the Executive Board and presentation of certificates to our apprentices.

Martyn Bell, Andy Preston and Maret Ward Talking

(Photo: Andy Preston, Mayor of Middlesbrough speaking with our Solution Developer, Martyn Bell and Learning and Development Advisor, Maret Ward)

Local Dignitaries and Vianet Team Talking

(Photo: Allan Wallace, Bob Cook and Roland Todd meeting the Vianet Team during site tour)

Dignitaries and Vianet Team

(Photo: Dignitaries and Vianet Team in the Board Room)

Vianet are proud to celebrate the graduation of the following apprentices:

Graduation Presentation Day - Rhys Debono

  • Rhys Debono, IT Support Engineer completed his apprenticeship with a Level 3 Infrastructure Technician qualification and has secured a permanent role within the team.

Graduation Presentation Day - Danny Liu

  • Danny Liu, Data Analyst completed his apprenticeship with a Level 4 Data Analyst qualification.

Graduation Presentation Day - Ashley Heyman

  • Ashley Heyman, Data Analyst completed his apprenticeship with a Level 4 Data Analyst qualification.

Graduation Presentation Day - Martyn Bell

  • Martyn Bell, Solution Developer completed his apprenticeship with a Level 3 Software Development Technician qualification.

Apprentices get to apply their learning and contribute to the work environment, developing the practical skills and understanding they need to excel in their role. The apprentices and their managers commemorated the occasion with a trip to an Escape Room for some entertainment at the end of the day!

Maret Ward, Learning & Development Advisor said:

“This was our first and I am sure the graduation event will now be firmly in the annual calendar. It was a great opportunity to recognise all of the hard work each individual apprentice has given to their continuous professional development; they have all given 110% commitment to completing their apprenticeships. I would encourage anyone within the organisation who wishes to express an interest in participating in an apprenticeship as part of their own learning and professional development to contact myself or their line manager.”

Our aim is to continue to grow the apprenticeship opportunities within Vianet following the success of previous cohorts. We are focused on providing continuous professional learning and development as the business continues to grow and develop into new verticals. If you would like to find out more about our apprenticeship opportunities at Vianet, please visit our apprenticeship page.

The festive season is upon us, and the end of another challenging year to say the least. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all our partners for their custom and co-operation this year, as well as our employees. We wish you all and your families a very Merry Christmas and all the best for 2022.

Don’t forget, out of hours and during the times we are closed, there is installation guides, troubleshooting guides and training support available 24/7 through our SmartAcademy Training Platform.

Vianet’s Customer Experience Team’s open hours over the Christmas period to support you are as follows…

 

SMART ZONES – HOSPITALITY, PUBS & BARS HELPDESK

 

SMART MACHINES – VENDING, COFFEE SERVICE & UNATTENDED RETAIL HELPDESK

 

compass group

Vianet have worked closely with foodservice giant, Compass Group UK & Ireland, since 2018, offering payment and business insight solutions across their vending estate that contribute to their overall goal of protecting their people, property, profit, and brand.

As a result, Vianet and Compass have been shortlisted for Retail Risk’s Fraud Awards for their collaboration, with the awards taking place on 2nd December 2021. The awards shortlisted for are, ‘Award for best collaborative retail risk management solution’ and ‘Award for most innovative retail risk management cross-functional or supply chain solution’.

Together their collaborative approach to risk management and profit protection is a strategy that involves gradually eliminating cash as a payment method from the Compass business. By adopting contactless payment through Vianet’s technology, Compass manage, minimise, and reduce the risk of theft and cash loss from their vending machine estate, both protecting their clients, protecting their profits, and protecting their exceptional brand reputation.

Compass currently host 1200 of Vianet’s contactless payment devices on vending solutions across six different sectors and 150 locationsContactless Payment for vending across their estate. These contactless payment devices are all protected with high level PCI security, and supported by NMi and Elavon merchant banks, which are updated regularly to increase payment functionality.

Moving forward, they have a long-term plan to expand, installing a further 5000 devices over the next two years across their wider estate. Some of their existing contactless payment readers are in-situ across sites support businesses with 24-hour operation to allow quick and simple access, as well as secure transactions and convenience.

Not only do Vianet’s solutions offer a secure payment method that protects profits, but it also minimises risk from a health and hygiene perspective through reducing machine contact and cash handling from both the engineers and the consumers. With keyworkers in their locations as well as those returning to work in distribution centres and office spaces, the hygienic element of using self-service machines is now an essential consideration.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Vianet saw a massive shift in the use of contactless payment versus cash, seeing a more than 50 per cent increase in contactless payment usage due to the risks presented by the pandemic and fear of contamination through surfaces and cash handling.

Alongside contactless payment readers, Vianet’s telemetry devices also send data automatically from the machine to Compass to give them an overview of their estate eliminating any manual data readings or human error. These telemetry devices send data from the vending machines straight into Vianet’s real-time insight platform’ through the Internet of Things (IoT). This provides Compass with a digestible overview of their vending machine estate and cashless sales data, whilst also eliminating the risk of any manual or human error which may otherwise occur when taking readings.

It also gives Compass the ability to monitor and manage their vending stock and levels, as well as machine upkeep and performance, eliminating the risk of cash loss through machine break downs and theft. It also aids them with time management and profit protection through specifying labour levels and how many machines need filling, managing stock levels, optimising labour, revealing top-selling products so they can ensure they are meeting client needs and requirements, as well as creating efficiency.

Cole Little - VianetBusiness Development Manager, Cole Little at Vianet said,

We offer Compass Group UK & Ireland a product service that assists in supporting and futureproofing their tenders when pitching to clients, as well as efficiently managing their business remotely in the current unpredictable climate.

“Vianet’s products also help Compass employees with time management and profit protection by illuminating required service levels across the estate, optimising labour, ensuring hygiene requirements are met, as well as revealing top-selling products so they can ensure they are meeting client needs and requirements.”

 

Keep checking back to find out whether Vianet and Compass Group take home a trophy in this years Retail Risk Awards 2021.

 

As part of Vianet’s aim to ‘Give Something Back’, we are taking part in various fundraising activities for our chosen charity, PAPYRUS including our recent Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge.

PAPYRUS is a young person suicide prevention charity which exist to reduce the number of young people who take their own lives by shattering the stigma around suicide and equipping young people and their communities with the skills to recognise and respond to suicidal behaviour.

A team of Vianet employees have put themselves to the test by taking on the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge as our HOPEWALK for 2021.  By taking on the Three Peaks Challenge we aimed to smash the stigma and get conversation around suicide awareness started. Our challenge took place on Saturday 4th September 2021, just ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day on the 10th September.

Our team consisted of 12 employees from across our organisation. Our volunteers tackled the peaks of Pen-Y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough,  a total of 24 miles and 1585m of ascent in under 12 hours.

In preparation, our volunteers began training for the challenge a few months ago, taking on both local beauty spots, as well as the Yorkshire peaks themselves. Our target was to raise £5,000 through our Just Giving page but the team absolutely smashed the target raising a massive £7,366. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank anyone who has sponsored the team and contributed to a fantastic cause – your donations kept us going!

Commercial Co-Ordinator, Jo Welsh suffered some nasty blisters, but amazingly powered through the final peak and distance with the loan of some trainers, spare socks and the help of her teammates, arriving at the finish line with a smile – a true warrior! Commercial Director, Mark Parry also suffered a knee injury 4 miles from the finish line, needing the loan of Neil Burtons hiking poles to get him through the last leg of Ingleborough. All in all, we are incredibly proud of the strength, courage, and team spirit of our employees at Vianet.

Special thanks to our amazing support team of 5 on the day, who met the team at check in points offering sandwiches and food to refuel as well as cups of tea, first aid and moral support.

The challenge was a tough one but all 12 of our team passed the finish line ahead of the 12-hour timescale – an incredible effort and deserving of a pint at our finish point, the Golden Lion pub! The whole team had a great sense of camaraderie and great banter to keep each other going through the day.

Vianet employee, Nicola Arnell also took on a fundraiser of her own for PAPYRUS on the same weekend, with the challenge of climbing Roseberry Topping with her daughter and raising another £120 to add to the pot. Their was also a Bake Sale to refuel in the Vianet office on 7th September the organisers, bakers and consumers raised an additional £200+ for the charity.

To find out more about our chosen charity, please visit PAPYRUS website here.

Apprenticeships play a large part in creating opportunities for employees that allow them to move within the business, rather than limiting progression to ‘the next rung on the ladder’. As an organisation that’s experiencing rapid growth, instilling a culture that focusses on learning and development has been an integral part of Vianet’s ongoing success. Abi Thompson joined Vianet in June 2017 as an Apprentice within the Customer Experience Team and, after successfully completing her apprenticeship in 2018, joined the Helpdesk as an Assistance Advisor.

Over the last 2 years, Abi’s dedication to ensuring Vianet provide the best possible service to our customers saw her progress to a senior role within the Helpdesk; taking ownership of our Food Services customers, implementing new processes and procedures to improve the team’s efficiency, and building the knowledge within the wider team to ensure consistent and timely resolutions to customer queries.

Vianet’s Product Manager, Joanne Vinton-Bullwinkel, talks about the personal development she has seen first-hand from Abi:

“I’ve worked with Abi since I joined Vianet as Head of Customer Experience in January 2019 and the transformation I have seen in that time has been a privilege to watch.

Our business needed to evolve throughout the pandemic, and we came out of it stronger than ever because we have a wealth of people like Abi, with a steadfast commitment to ensuring the collective success of the business and our customers. Abi’s experience epitomises the spirit of Vianet for me, by investing in the development of our people, we ensure the delivery of our goals.

Abi tends to work quietly, without fanfare, supporting those around her and setting herself incredibly high standards. These qualities, and her continued investment in her own development, paved the way for Abi to progress within the business, and join the Product Team this year as a Junior Business Analyst. This role will allow Abi to play an active part in shaping the future of our products and the experience she has gained in her previous roles will further ensure their success.”

 

Apprenticeships are not only a great way to support young people in their transition between education and the workplace, but also an opportunity for existing employees to gain invaluable experience and recognised qualifications. Abi is a perfect example of this, and the focus Vianet have around developing their people.

When asked about her journey at Vianet so far, Abi said:

“Starting my apprenticeship with Vianet was a fantastic opportunity; I was provided everything I needed to learn which helped build both my personal, and the team, knowledge. This meant that I was able to progress with the company, working towards becoming a senior member of the team. During this time, I found a niche that I thrived in, and Vianet gave me the space and freedom to learn to work towards this goal. I am thrilled to be facing new and exciting challenges in my new role, and continuing my career and further education with Vianet, and I’m looking forward to my future within the company.”

 

If you would like to find out more about apprenticeship opportunities at Vianet,
please feel free to contact us.