European Coffee Machine Will Send Its Own E-Mail

[London, ENGLAND] Coffee has always been an integral
part of the Internet revolution — and never more so
than Tuesday this week when European coffee company
Lavazza and technology supplier eDevice launched a
coffee machine that sends e-mail.

Lavazza’s e-espressopoint not only sends e-mail
requesting maintenance checks or restocking visits
but also can receive e-mail answers from the central
maintenance depot.

In the early days of the Internet, scientists at
the Cambridge University Computer Laboratory
created a minor sensation by putting a live
picture of a coffee pot on the Internet,
ostensibly so they could check if there was coffee
available without leaving their desktops. It was
the first Webcam.

Now, in principle, it would be possible to do it
all by e-mail.

Seriously, however, the idea of embedding Internet
technology into appliances is one on which a massive
industry will one day be built — and Tuesday’s
announcement is an indication that so-called “on-board
Internet technology” is already with us.

The e-espressopoint will be placed on the market
in Europe at the end of the year. Lavazza expects to
have ten thousand machines installed on a test basis
at some of its major European clients by December.

The project has been overseen by marketing consultancy
firm MLG Consulting which assessed several different
Internet connectivity technologies currently on the
market. It finally opted for SmartStack, the technology
developed by eDevice that now forms the basis for
e-espressopoint.

In 2001, e-espressopoint will be fitted with a
touch-sensitive screen to provide access to a
personalized services portal. Inevitably, as with
all Internet ventures, it will grow to offer such
facilities as shopping list management, information
on traffic conditions and even weather reports — as
Lavazza admits.

Lavazza could not confirm if the portal will be
programmed in Java.

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