2011
05.03

My wife thought it was strange that I took a moment to snap a picture of a soda fountain with my iPhone at Wendy’s the other day. Judging by the puzzle looks of the people around me, I fear she wasn’t alone in her opinion.

But let’s set things straight; this wasn’t your average soda dispensing machine. It was the Coca-Cola Freestyle machine. And I am sort of a geek when it comes to things like that, and I was just excited that I finally saw one. For the record, my wife was excited too, but for much different reasons. She liked the idea that it presented her the option of pouring a strawberry soda, but seemed less impressed at my little tidbit of knowledge that the machine might have very well communicated her beverage choice to the marketing folks at Coke for analysis. It uses some cool technology from Odyssey Software.

Frankly I think she’s had it with me pointing out connected devices in our everyday lives. That parking meter we just swiped the credit card on in the city? “Yes, I know … it’s M2M,” she groans. Well then, forgive me for dropping some knowledge on her.

It’s cool to see M2M at work in our everyday lives. I like the fact that the beverage I consume at my local Wendy’s today could one day be bottled in mass capacity at my corner grocery store due to my unsolicited input. I have that much influence as a consumer. And today, the machines are impressive enough to be able to listen to my suggestions.

Retail is an incredible outlet for gathering this information—and retailers now have the means with which to get real input without feeling they are imposing on customers. And the devices and machines being rolled out today should be capturing every piece of information they can about the consumer. To me it’s no coincidence we have seen so many new vending and retail solutions in the news these days. Did you hear about the social media soda machine from Pepsi? Peggy talked about it today on the radio.

The likes of HP, Intel, and others are throwing their weight behind adding intelligence to kiosks and other retail solutions these days, and frankly that makes me confident that this trend is here to stay.

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