Found this chip at a table at Coupa Cafe, home of an endless number of new technologies. This is an iBeacon that allows you to order from your table. It makes ordering super easy! Except the network access at Coupa is pretty poor. Once you take that into account, all you have to do is connect to the cafe’s wifi, search the App Store for an app called Downtown, download the app, make an account, sign into the account, allow the app to access your location, turn on Bluetooth, and then finally get to a screen that allows you to order. Next, you’ll key in your table number (displayed on the side of the cube) and place your order. You have to input some form of payment, which may involve keying some numbers into the app incorrectly.
I can imagine sitting down and ordering this way on a second visit to the Cafe, but the first time is a little annoying. If it’s busy, though, it sure beats standing in line!
The tech uses Estimote beacons: small wireless sensors that you can attach to any location or object. They broadcast tiny radio signals which your smartphone can receive and interpret, unlocking micro-location and contextual awareness. The Estimote has a Nordic Semiconductor chip nRF51822, a powerful, highly flexible multi-protocol SoC ideally suited for Bluetooth Smart (Bluetooth low energy). This chip was built Nov 26, 2015. Okay, I went a little overboard looking everything up.
Meanwhile, Japanese restaurants just have iPads at every table. No big deal to order from them, and no big deal to download an app to your phone. I have a bet with a friend to see how long it will take before this particular tech gets acquired. Tech that makes it into Coupa cafe usually has a pretty good track record.
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