Just wanted to share this article...since I love coke so much! : )
A revolution is coming. Will you be ready? After spending four years and more than $100 million, Coca-Cola (KO) has developed a new soft drink fountain that could include over 100 varieties of its drink brands. Using Microsoft's Windows CE operating system and micro-dosing technology found in drug administering devices, the refrigerator-sized dispenser will replace the ubiquitous six and eight variety dispensers. Coca-Cola enlisted Italian auto designers, a former Apple iPod designer, an R&D company founded by the inventor of the Segway, and its own development team that grew from 7 to 50 full-time employees to create the next generation soda fountain.
The Coca-Cola Freestyle will utilize a touch screen similar to those on smart phones and have a single spigot near the center of the machine for vendees. A wide variety of Coca-Cola brands and their range of flavors, including Coke, Diet Coke, Dasani sparkling and flavored waters, Sprite, Fanta, Barq's, Powerade, and Minute Maid, will be represented with their trademark icons on a touch screen. The future of fountains incorporates new technological advancements. The typical five gallon syrup bags will be replaced by 46 ounce concentrate cartridges that will release the microdoses of our favorite drinks. The smaller size means Coca-Cola has room to offer us more than 100 choices. Radio frequency identification chips incorporated in the cartridges will transmit customer preferences to Coke headquarters and aid in supply and replacement of spent cartridges. (Phew! And I have trouble with the eight choices).
The new machines are currently being tested in Atlanta and Southern California. Test Jack in the Box locations in San Diego are offering 104 varieties. Are you ready for Orange Coke, Peach Fanta, and Strawberry Sprite? They're out there. Just don't take too much time looking for them – I hate cold french fries. Coke's testing has shown that a new user typically takes 22 to 27 seconds to make a selection compared to 15 to 17 seconds for a traditional machine. Consider this a public self-service announcement as soft drinks appear to be getting harder. The 40% space savings over traditional machines should make plenty of room for the lines to form. Let's hope they have more than one when they go national early next year. To move the line along, remain focused when choosing our beverages. This may be why they call it drink concentrate.
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