Now a walk to the Coca Cola vending machine will earn you not just a soft drink, but also a portal into cyberspace
An innovative collaboration between Coca Cola South Africa and BT Global Services is bringing to the most remote and poor communities of Umtata and Nelspruit, South Africa, a first-time opportunity to finally join the internet revolution. The Coca Cola-BT partnership means that youth, educators, small business owners and even grandparents will finally be able to reach out and tap into the vast resources available on the internet today. Teachers will be able to access an immeasurable treasure trove of educational materials, as well as link with other educators in similar environments for the latest feedback on teaching innovations. Students will benefit from modern and current research materials that will expand and strengthen their educational achievement, small business owners will be able to market their services and products across the continent, maybe even the globe, and grandparents can connect with family members who have moved away, sharing photos and life’s journeys. For Coca Cola this collaboration is merely a furtherance of the company’s mission to improve educational opportunities and the standard of living in needy communities. The collaboration furthers BT Global’s mission of providing under-served communities access to technology that will improve their educational achievement, health and employment opportunities.
How does it work?
Coca Cola is providing the typical vending machine where one can purchase a drink. And, BT Global will equip the vending machine with Wi-Fi beaming boxes. It is not necessary to purchase a Coke to tap into the Wi-Fi, but this approach makes the best sense since Coke dispensing machines are very popular across the African continent. Umtata and Nelspruit were chosen because both locations are relatively close to schools, shopping areas and transportation, making accessibility easy and therefore guaranteeing usage. In Umtata, the first site for the project, the Wi-Fi dispensing machine is located at Sasol Integrated Energy Center, an area that attracts a lot of local residents, and in Nelspruit, Wi-Fi will be available at Thokozani Fast Food, another busy spot.
Depending upon how it goes in these two initial locations, Coca Cola and BT may expand the concept globally, however it will still be limited to those communities where there is no access to internet—poor areas where residents are not carrying around their own smartphones.