Coca-Cola and BT Send Wi-fi Enabled Vending Machines to South Africa

BT_Coca-Cola_storyCoca-Cola and BT are partnering to test out vending machines in South Africa which act as wi-fi hubs, with the aim of delivering online access to isolated communities.

The project has launched in two key areas, Umtata and Nelspruit, with the view to expanding if the test proves successful. BT are providing design and support, as well as connectivity, internet access and business training, while Coca-Cola are using their powerful logistics infrastructure to install the machines.

“The initiative forms part of Coca-Colas commitment to building sustainable communities by empowering the members of these communities,” said David Visser, chief information officer for Coca-Cola South Africa. “We believe that by giving them access to free wi-fi we will enable students and school children in the area to increase their knowledge through research while also giving entrepreneurs and small business owners in the community to manage some of their business aspects online.”

The two sites were selected for maximum accessibility for local residents, with both outlets in the vicinity of shopping centres and schools. Internet access is free and has no time limits, requiring only proximity to the vending machines.

“We are delighted to collaborate with Coca-Cola and be involved in a project that iwll give underserved communities much improved access to information and education opportunities,” said Oliver Fortuin, managing director of BT Global Services. “At BT, we have a vision for a Connected Society: to help improve society globally through the power of digital connections. As well as providing access, we want to help people use technology to apply their creativity and harness the possibilities of todays connected world.”