What Do You Call A Soda Dispenser With Onboard Data Analytics?

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What Do You Call A Soda Dispenser With Onboard Data Analytics?

If you haven’t yet experienced the new Coca-Cola Freestyle with its onboard data analytics, this is NOT your father’s soda fountain. The new device has more than 100 options and unimaginable combinations of liquids thanks to a computer-powered “brain.” Behind the touchscreen of options is a set of analytics tools to count up the flavors that were selected, in what amounts, even the time of day or top-ranking combinations.  Coca-Cola-Freestyle

The business intelligence built into the Freestyle extends to the RFID-equipped flavor cartridges that ‘report in’ to headquarters for a refill. Introduced last year, hundreds of the machines have entertained – and perplexed — thirsty visitors in restaurants in Chicago, Atlanta, Southern California and parts of Texas. Freestyle even has its own Twitter account @ccfreestyle for fans that pick where to eat now based on drink options. Articles and videos explaining the device and its innovations have identified several reasons for adding so much business intelligence into a fairly simple product.
Beyond real-time knowledge about what customers are trying (and liking or disliking) they can offer ‘test-drives’ of flavors and know when they are rejected by users.  Coke can also expand its visibility of different brands – Dasani, Minute Maid, Fanta and, yes, Smart Water – without having a giant freezer case of idle inventory. One observer speculates that Freestyle can also recover ‘lost sales’ from customers who choose no drink because their preferred flavor or option isn’t stocked.
With 106 options of items to mix in a single cup, the Law of Big Numbers just complicated your choice.  Coke claims there are more than 81 nonillion drink combinations possible in a single machine.   I much prefer recipes with ‘a little of this and a little of that’ – especially when you only get an hour for lunch . . .

David Wallace
Spotfire Blogging Team
Image Credit: Courtesy of Coca Cola