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European Coffee Machine Will Send Its Own E-Mail

November 7, 2000 

[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.

John Lewell,

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