Coca-Cola taps into AI to power new vending machines
- In its latest push into artificial intelligence, Coca-Cola will introduce an app that consumers can use to order drinks, then have them available on the vending machine, according to Venturebeat. The technology will be available in about two weeks at places including U.S. colleges.
- The app will be able to adjust its tone to the location of the specific vending machine, being fun at a college while more subdued at a hospital where the focus will be more on utility and functionality.
- “My goal is to push boundaries and push the brand forward,” Chambers said at Mobilebeat 2017, Venturebeat reported. “AI is the foundation for everything we do. We create intelligent experiences. AI is the kernel that powers that experience.”
Even as soda consumption slumps as more consumers flock toward waters, teas and flavored drinks, Coca-Cola has been aggressively looking for ways to create more interest and attachment to its iconic products. The beverage giant has released a new Fanta bottle that looks as if it's been twisted by hand, and the company continues with its popular summer promotion of putting names on bottles.
It also has developed digital signage for grocery endcaps that use a mix of Google Cloud technologies to deliver branded video and e-coupons. The technology tailors messages to passing shoppers based on the data on their smartphones, offering brand campaigns, store-specific promotions or app-guided shopping lists depending on the individual.
“As humans, we build emotional connections to machines and with products,” Chambers said during the session. “We will do this in new and exciting ways. You should enjoy the process of acquiring a Coke as much as you enjoy consuming a Coke.”
The new vending machine is a cool way to bond with the on-the-go soda drinker, especially technology-savvy millennials at universities who want to order a soda. As Chambers noted, soda companies need to do all they can to bond and establish a closer relationship with consumers.
While the new app seems cool on the surface, it's unclear how close the user will need to be to the vending machine or how easy it would be for the individual to grab their smart phone, find their nearest machine, order and then pay for the soda — all without someone grabbing the drink by the time they get there.
Still, if Coca-Cola can answer these questions and get the app to be embraced by consumers, it could be a positive way to bring additional attention to its beverages, even if it is unlikely to generate a meaningful jump in sales.
- Venturebeat Coca-Cola reveals AI-powered vending machine app
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