There have been a number of announcements recently about companies using their IT capabilities to change the interaction with people on a daily and dynamic basis.
One recent example is PepsiCo’s launch of a “social vending machine”. It’s half vending and half bank machine, allowing "random acts of refreshment," or the ability to buy a drink for a stranger, in situations such as sending "a symbol of encouragement to a city that's experienced some challenging weather or a congratulatory beverage to a university that just won a championship," PepsiCo said. I can see it now when a city wins a championship – drinks all around.
Coke had done some other interesting things with interactive vending machines and custom flavors. The Pei-Wei near my home recently put one of these in. Unfortunately, I just wanted a drink and having millions of combinations was a bit too much to deal with.
All of these machines have one thing in common. They collect information about the tastes of those who use them and send that information back for analysis. They provide flexibility and increased functionality. It does make you wander what new business models are possible and what information can be gained, especially if they are linked to our mobile devices to enable the transactions.
We’ve seen it from banks for a while, and in some parts of the world (like Kenya) with phones. Based on some of the videos it looks like we’ve just started to see these capabilities come to fruition. What will happen to retail when the Internet is assimilated to the same extent it is in the entertainment space?