Coffee Vending Machine Debuts At New York NRF Conference

Costa Coffee, a U.K. market leader and large coffee chain, partnered with Intel and Bsquare Corp., a leading enabler of smart connected systems, to create the new Costa Express CEM-200 coffee vending machine unveiled at the National Retail Federation (NRF) Conference in New York, N.Y.

“We were brought in for our expertise on embedded design projects with Microsoft, Intel and other vendors,” said Mark Whiteside, Bsquare senior vice president professional services, in a prepared statement. “Bsquare built the user interface, integrated the operating system with the hardware and built a cloud-based back office management system in less than six months.”

The CEM-200 presents customers with a radically immersive vending experience, including a high definition touch screen panel that comprises almost all of the store-facing side of the device. Intel AIM Suite technology detects when shoppers’ eyes are looking at the device and the machine immediately changes the presentation on the screen to engage the customer.

“Bsquare brought insight, experience and strategic guidance to the project,” said Scott Martin, Costa Express managing director. “As the current world leader in self-serve espresso bars, we have a responsibility to innovate. Bsquare had the embedded technology expertise to help us raise the bar for coffee concessions. Our existing concessions are hugely successful in the channels where we currently operate, and the CEM-200 will now enable us to offer great espresso drinks to customers in new channels and markets. It is a very exciting time.”

The top embedded design challenges for Bsquare were integrating and making the software and hardware run as fast and responsively as possible.

“The machine is incredibly responsive,” said Whiteside. “You touch an element on the screen and it responds very quickly. The software overlays multiple video assets and performs dynamic animation to illustrate the process of brewing a fresh cup of coffee, while simultaneously rendering video to create the atmosphere of an Italian café.”

The CEM-200 was developed by a world-leading team of experts. The CEM-200 device cabinet was conceived by renowned Italian design firm Pininfarina, the coffee machine components are manufactured by Swiss coffee equipment vendor Thermoplan and include graphics from Atomhawk, the design team behind the Harry Potter movie graphics, and audio from eMixpro, sound mixers for U2, the Killers and Snow Patrol. The CEM-200 also includes olfactory components to create an immersive coffeehouse experience. 

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