To promote its cloud texting software, ZipWhip has unveiled a system which enables you to text a message to order a coffee, which will be prepared for you automatically - and with your name, number, company logo, or even your picture on it as well!
Long-term, will we be able to do without salespeople in our shops and businesses? Why not - provided that customers don’t mind serving themselves. As is this case, for example, with the remote-ordering coffee machine invented by ZipWhip, the creator of a text messaging platform hosted in the ‘cloud’. The company’s staff can just send a text message on the ZipWhip platform, which will then redirect the order - for example “coffee” or “cappuccino” - to the machine. A robot arm on a rolling base will grasp a mug and trundle it over to the coffee machine which then prepares the beverage. The coffee then just sits there on the warming tray waiting for its customer. But just before s/he gets there, the robot arm will have taken the trouble to rush the mug to a printer which ‘prints’ the customer’s name in edible ink on the coffee foam. There are two demonstration videos uploaded on the GeekWire website.
A platform in the cloud
It’s a fascinating innovation, but one which we are unlikely to see in the short-term in European cafés or even in the US. This prototype was made by ZipWhip basically just to show off how ‘cool’ its cloud texting software is, and the company has no intention of changing its business model. In practice, the platform enables the user to send an SMS to and from any device. When you use a mobile phone, the messages are stored on your phone; when you use ZipWhip, they are stored in the cloud. Which means that someone wishing to address a message to a family member or friend can do so using a tablet, computer or telephone, by means of a personal account accessed via the telephone number.
Texting and the cloud
The system has a variety of uses. The platform is very handy for sending text messages without a mobile phone, but you can also send messages from your mobile device without leaving any trace – useful for example for confidential messages that contain sensitive or strategic data – and from a technical point of view it’s a way of getting round the memory and storage drawbacks inherent in mobile devices. The fanciful idea of applying the technique to a coffee machine nevertheless opens the door to other variants of the service, not restricted to addressing a message to a single recipient. The platform could be used for sending out any kind of command, which is something that should lend itself well to professional and office use.