More choices: Good or Too Much

A recent article in InformationWeek (June 8, 2009 issue, page 30) highlighted what Coca-Cola is doing with RFID-based soda dispensers to give customers more choices.  To summarize, Coca-Cola has created a new Freestyle drink dispensers which will give customers up to 30 cartridges of flavors to add to their drink.  Now they can have a Peach Sprite or Grape Coke.  They will also be adding RFID chips to the dispensers which will then send back data to their HQ.  They are hoping this will help in both managing the amount of drink purchased by restaurants and businesses as well as increase interest in new flavors of soda from Coca-Cola.

So what does this have to do with communication you ask? When I read the article I immediately asked, “Will consumers ever get to the point where there are too many choices?”  Even today, we have so many communication choices – phone (desk, mobile, softphone), text (SMS/IM), email, video (desktop, room, telepresence) and more.  With all these choices, most people tend to go back to a preferred method of communication after they have tried several others.  Just like we have a favorite beverage we drink, even with the multiple choices out there.

As people choose their preferred communication method, the goal is to then make is easy and simple to communicate.  At the heart of NEC’s UNIVERGE360 model is giving people the choice of device (deskphone, mobile, etc) with a preferred communication method (IM, video, email) over any transport layer (IP, wireless, WAN).