Feeds

Coca Cola slurps millions of MAC addresses

Alert! E-cup 29-97-09-3B-31-92 just filled with PEPSI!

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Sharp-eyed blogger Alvaro Lopez Ortega has spotted something fascinating: Coca Cola has reserved a block of media access control (MAC) addresses.

The IEEE records the beverage company's actions here.

MAC addresses are a unique identifier for networked devices, usually comprised of six pairs of hexadecimal characters.

Lots of companies register MAC addresses: the list we've linked to above includes Apple, HP, IBM, Samsung, Alcatel, Cisco, Intel and even Palm Inc, plus dozens of electronics companies. Their collective presence shows that if you want to build connected devices, you've simply got to have a pool of MAC addresses to deploy.

Which brings us back to Coca Cola, a beverage company. Why does it need MAC addresses up its sleeve?

Readers with long memories might remember the Internet Coke Machine, a hack created at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in or just before 1990. The machine's history is detailed here. Long story short, CMU possessed one Coke machine that was cheaper than the others and therefore sold out quickly. Tired of roaming the university's halls in search of sugary beverage bargains, clever folks rigged the machine so its inventory levels became visible online. A later hack made it possible to query the temperature of the drinks within the machine.

Might Coca Cola be contemplating something similar? Or could it have its eyes on post-mix machines that mix carbonated water and secret syrups on-site, the better to monitor the need for new consumables?

Vulture South imagines the latter is a more likely scenario, as the company has reserved about 16 million MAC addresses. That's not enough for a consumer-focussed campaign, but would let Coca Cola build enough devices to keep tabs on corporate customers.

Feel free to sip from your own cup of sugary wisdom and let us know how you think Coke could put the MAC addresses to work. This soft-drink-powered-phone can be your starting point for other musings. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum
Actually it's a nifty trick - at least you'll pay for what you get
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
PwC says US biz lagging in Internet of Things
Grass is greener in Asia, say the sensors
Ofcom sees RISE OF THE MACHINE-to-machine cell comms
Study spots 9% growth in IoT m2m mobile data connections
O2 vs Vodafone: Mobe firms grab for GCHQ, gov.uk security badge
No, the spooks love US best, say rival firms
Ancient pager tech SMS: It works, it's fab, but wow, get a load of that incoming SPAM
Networks' main issue: they don't know how it works, says expert
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.