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Pepsi to launch social vending machine
The 'social vending' machine will let users buy each other drinks remotely.
New York: PepsiCo Inc is introducing a "social vending" machine that lets users buy each other drinks remotely, further proof that its decades-old rivalry with Coca-Cola Co is going ever-more high tech.
A prototype of the new technology will debut at a trade show this week in Chicago. Coke started testing its Freestyle vending machine, which has a digital touchscreen and can dispense more than 100 flavor combinations, in 2009. Pepsi's new system lets users give their friends a beverage gift by entering the recipient's name, mobile phone number and a personalized text message or video.
The gift is delivered with a system code and instructions to redeem it at any similar machine. "Social Vending extends our consumers' social networks beyond the confines of their own devices and transforms a static, transaction-oriented experience into something fun and exciting," said Mikel Durham, an innovation officer at PepsiCo Foodservice.
The system also allows "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. Another technological front in the companies' ongoing battle is recyclable packaging.
Pepsi was second to say it could make a recycleable plastic bottle from plant matter, but its bottle will be made from waste products - such as orange peels and oat husks - whereas Coke's bottle is derived from sugar cane.
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