By Andrew Liszewski
Not to be outdone by their rival Coca-Cola who was showing off touch-screen equipped vending machines at CES a few years ago, PepsiCo is following suit with their own high-tech sugar water dispensers that will also embrace social networking. The new machines of course let you buy a beverage via a fancy animated UI, complete with swipe controls, but they also let you gift a Pepsi to a friend, or even a complete stranger through “Random Acts of Refreshment”.
All you have to do is enter a friend’s name and cell phone number (I’m sure PepsiCo has NO plans to keep a database of such details) and they’ll receive a txt message with a special code that can be redeemed at any of the interactive machines. You even have the option of recording a 10-second personalized video message that will be played back when they redeem it. Or, you can send a caffeinated gift to a complete stranger in a different city if you’re feeling particularly philanthropic. There’s no specific word on when the new machines will start appearing, though a prototype will be on display from April 27 to the 29 at the National Automatic Merchandising Association’s One Show in Chicago.