The Coca-Cola Company plans to erect 150 kiosks in 20 countries that will offer water, electricity and Internet connections; they may also sell Coke and other products.

“We’re calling it a downtown in a box,” said Serena Levy, a company spokeswoman.

The announcement was made by Coca-Cola’s chairman, Muhtar Kent, at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting.

Right now, one such kiosk exists, a pilot version in Heidelberg, South Africa. It is a shipping container with solar panels for power, a satellite dish for wireless communication and a Slingshot water distiller designed by Dean Kamen, the Segway inventor.

Setup costs are an issue; for example, the first Slingshots cost more than $100,000 to build, but Mr. Kamen has said that he hopes volume will push the price below $2,000.

Ideally, the Coca-Cola Company said, the kiosks will be run by women. Which products and services the company will charge for is under discussion; they could, for example, store vaccines and offer health education without cost while asking people to pay for water and cellphone charging.

“We’re still working on the business model,” Ms. Levy said.

(Source – http://mobile.nytimes.com/2013/10/01/health/coca-cola-plans-kiosks-with-water-and-internet.html)

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