Tuesday, July 10, 2007

ROBOTS DREAMS: Is A Vending Machine A Robot? (Video)

ROBOTS DREAMS: Is A Vending Machine A Robot? (Video)

I took the time to watch this video. It's okay if you're into the whole Japanese thing. I was led to believe that there were actually robotic soda machines being made now. Needless to say, this really has nothing to do with soda machines. And I posted a comment expressing as much.

So here I am thinking about the whole robotic soda machine concept. And the more I think about it, the more sense it makes. Not just for the soft drink industry, but for public WiFi and networking in general. What is the biggest single obstacle facing public access? Hotspots. Seriously. Say for instance that Earthlink contracts with a metro area to provide WiFi. The biggest cost is setting up antennas. But what if instead of the hassle of leasing pole space on streetlamps and telephone poles, they were to set up links through soda machines? The damned things are EVERYWHERE! Don't think so? You obviously haven't been paying much attention in your town. Nearly every third business, from the giant corporation to the local mom-and-pop storefront has a soda machine in front, looking for that extra few dollars.

If the giants like Coca-Cola and Pepsi were to manufacture robotic soda machines with Bluetooth and WiFi networking to each machine, it would be ridiculously easy for Earthlink to simply lease the machines necessary to cover the metropolitan area. No climbing poles for maintenance. Coke and Pepsi get free or inexpensive advertising. The city gets its entire area networked. And no one has to miss out on their soft drink of choice. Out of Mr. Pibb in one machine? It tells you BEFORE you drop your bucks in! And trust me, the emphasis is on bucks. The cost of WiFi comes from somewhere.

"Hello, Joe, yesterday you had a Coke. What would you like today?"

"I'll have a Sprite, please."

"Sorry, I'm out of Sprite, but there is a machine on the next block that has just been stocked!"

"Thanks, buddy! I'm on my way!"

"See you next time!"

7/21/07- postscript

Vending machines also don't give a damn if you use change to buy your drink, either. Give a pocket full of change to a human behind a counter, and the chances are good that person will at best stifle a sigh, or at worst, ask if you have paper money.

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