Transfer Pricing Associates

Coca-Cola: Connecting Soda with Internet

post Tuesday January 14, 2014

Tags: coca-cola, internet, soda, vending machines


There are more than 2,000 soda fountains around the world that let customers create their own drinks, also known as Freestyle machines. What many people do not know is that these machines are connected to the internet. Freestyle machines enable Coca-Cola to track what drinks people make and how often, thus an excellent marketing machine.

All the network cards of these Coca-Cola Freestyle machines have MAC addresses. A MAC address is like a virtual serial number of a device that stays the same on any network. Coca-Cola now owns 16 million of these unique network identifiers usually reserved for Wi-Fi cards and other networking equipment. However, Coca-Cola’s network ID stash is not that unusual, according to John Matherly, the man behind Shodan, a search engine for The Internet of Things. Since 2010, Coca-Cola has owned these identifiers. Although 16 million sounds like a lot, it is actually the smallest number of MAC-addresses you can reserve at one time.

Coca-Cola has found a new way to collect data about the behavior of customers which will lead to a great simplification of the logistics for them, which is a great feature for an enterprise as big as Coca-Cola. In addition, the company has been testing these 200 new web-connected vending machines in the area of Texas and is planning to increase that amount. Besides information on the logistics, the machines can also give a better view on the credit card and mobile payment expenses. Furthermore, with the invention of this new technology, the experiments on their clients will only increase. They could, for example, know what drinks people like the most and will lead to the most sales based on the information of the vending machines.

So far, Coca-Cola has only implemented the 6 million vending machines in the United States with their technology, which means there are still 10 million MAC-addresses remaining untouched in the other parts of the world. Thus, do not be surprised when you see you can create your favorite drink anywhere in the world in the near future. 

Source: wiredbusinessweek

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