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US Today reports that Coca-Cola is upgrading its Freestyle vending machine, which allows people to customize and mix-and-match drink flavors, so that people will be able to formulate their preferences via their smartphones, using Bluetooth technology.

In addition, the story says, Coke is equipping “the upgraded machine, called the Freestyle 9100,” with “some new, but not yet activated, features Coca-Cola expects to need in the future. With the activation of a microphone, for instance, it could mix drinks from voice commands.”

It is, USA Today writes, “the kind of move that could give the Atlanta-based soft-drink giant an advantage in the hyper-competitive beverage market. Smartphones make sense for drink ordering, because they will not only allow you to order exact percentages of different mixtures or flavor addition but also remember your preference for next time.

“Empowering people to customize their creations — in this case, over ice — helps companies build long-lasting relationships with them, according to consumer behavior experts. That translates into more frequent and larger purchases.”
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