Product research

Product View from Bob Tullio: For these mysterious service calls, Innovolt has an explanation and a solution

As an operator, even if you are currently residing in the executive suite, chances are you have received more than one service call in your lifetime. Having worked in just about every channel in the vending and entertainment industry, I have received many service calls over my 37 year career.

Out of order – but why?

What was the problem with the equipment most of the time? Why was there an out of service sign stuck on the glass of this Asteroids machine (circa 1980)? Why was the kiosk in the micro-market closed (and all the employees there were staring at me)? Typically, there was nothing obvious. Sometimes the screen was frozen in place.

How did I fix the hardware? By turning the power on and off.

Fixed – with little confidence

It took an hour drive in LA traffic and an hour back – to turn the equipment off and on again. Sometimes I checked the connections on the circuit board (just for show). The customer still looked skeptical and I left with a low level of confidence in the repair. This was often confirmed a week or a month later, when the same service call came back.

So what is causing this mysterious problem that is blocking video games, vending machines and now, painfully, shutting down micromarkets?

An explanation

Andy Reese and his team at Innovolt have been studying the origin of these mysterious equipment-related service calls for the past 25 years. In fact, the company has spent millions of dollars on research and development – with over 35 granted and pending patents for their products. Reese is director of business development at Innovolt, and his company has both an explanation and a solution for operators.

“More than 40% of equipment-related service calls in convenience services, especially micro-markets, are related to power anomalies,” Reese said. “I’m talking about outages in the aging electrical network or in the electrical infrastructure at a customer site. Either way, the micromarket kiosk is frozen, sales are halted, there’s chaos among customers, and for the operator it’s a costly emergency service call.

Power abnormalities?

Why are there so many electrical problems in the United States? A recent article in Popular Science Magazine cited studies that show our country has more electrical problems than any other developed country.

As the article points out, “The oldest American power lines date back to the 1880s, and most of the current system was built in the 1950s and 1960s with a life expectancy of 50 years. When those poles, wires and transformers were erected decades ago, the system was initially oversized, with increasing demand expected, says Alexandra von Meier, an electrical engineer at the University of California, Berkeley.

What is the impact on operators?

For operators, this means costly service calls, lost revenue and unhappy customers. The situation is particularly difficult if the problem arises due to electrical surges or momentary voltage drops that occur at a specific location. “Every carrier has locations that get more of these mystery service calls than others,” Reese said. “Of course, no customer wants to admit they have a problem with the electricity in the building, but they will be quick to get you to change a vending machine or a kiosk that regularly breaks down.”

The Innovolt solution

Innovolt offers operators a simple solution, a way to overcome problems caused by electrical anomalies, for approximately the cost of a single service call. “Traditional surge suppressors don’t protect your equipment from the vast majority of voltage events attacking your electronic assets,” Reese said. “Our products provide protection against power anomalies known to cause errors, failures and equipment downtime. It remediates the impact of all damaging electrical disturbances before vital equipment can be impacted. »

How it works?

Simply connect your vending machine or kiosk to an Innovolt device. Then plug Innovolt into the wall socket. “Let Innovolt technology protect your customers from lost sales and prevent you from spending money dispatching technicians on phantom service calls,” said Reese.

Critical value – especially today

Innovolt products offer more value than ever before today, Reese noted, with operators facing labor shortages, increased labor expenses and soaring fuel prices. ‘essence. “Service calls are expensive, not to mention the lost sales, possible damage to equipment – ​​which can happen – and the customer relations nightmare that occurs when a micro-market is closed at lunchtime” , he added.

Innovolt as a sales tool

Reese encourages operators to use Innovolt products as a selling tool, as a differentiator, especially when your customer is complaining about all the kiosk downtime they have experienced with an existing supplier.

Sleep better at night with Innovolt

“An operator who has installed several Innovolt devices told me that it reminded him of having a water leak detection device on a coffee machine. You don’t need them until there’s an incident that could flood the office, but you’re grateful to have them,” Reese said. “Knowing that his micro-markets will continue to experience electrical anomalies and that his service costs will be significantly reduced – all thanks to Innovolt – he says it helps him sleep better at night.”

Which Innovolt product is made for you? For more information, contact


Bob Tullio, Industry Consultant and Contributing Editor of, is a content specialist who advises convenience service industry operators on how to build a successful business from the ground up and advises vendors on how to successfully connect to operators. Tullio’s YouTube channel, b2b Perspective, is designed to “elevate your business in two minutes.”

At the 2022 NAMA Show in Chicago, Tullio presented a pre-conference session titled “Selling Local Services: Strategies of Elite Performers.”

For more information on the services Tullio offers to operators and suppliers, visit his new website at or contact him at