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Coke’s “Freestyle” Machines

Coke is getting ready to release a new beverage dispenser that allows users to create custom flavored drinks on the spot. Up to 104 flavors can be created by combining the various syrups inside the machine:'s the machine's guts that tell the real story. The fountain's flavors come not from big bags of concentrate but from precision inkjet printer cartridges, a concept borrowed from the medical industry. The benefits are two-fold. The printer cartridges contain extremely concentrated syrup, which massively cuts down on shipping costs and on the company's carbon footprint--one 46-ounce cartridge equals an old-time 5-gallon bag.

But just as important, the cartridges also track exactly what's being dispensed in real-time. That provides a continuous data stream to Coke about what's catching the consumer's fancy. So you could, for example, track how a new product performs--down to the ounce--shortly after its introduction.


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