Help Coca-Cola figure out what's in its coolers

Don’t you hate when that one drink you’re craving isn’t in the cooler? We sure do. You don't get the drink you want, and we lose an opportunity to make you satisfied customer.

Turns out this is a billion dollar problem for beverage companies and retail outlets.

The Challenge:

Help Coca-Cola keep coolers stocked and get people the drinks they want. Hack on drink coolers and design a scalable solution using whatever technology you think can get the job done.

Who shoud come:

Engineers, developers and designers of the hardware, software, industrial and mechanical flavors.

What's in it for you?

  • First and foremost, keep what you build. If you find a solution, Coca-Cola may offer you a contract to continue building your solution and work with Coca-Cola to scale it across the globe. All we ask for is right of first refusal.
  • Work alongside Coca-Cola engineers and local hackers to solve a unique and challenging problem.
  • Obviously we’ll have an unlimited supply of delicious beverages to keep you going and plenty of food.
  • Prize bundles of tech goodies - drones, Samsung Gear VR Virtual Reality Headsets, Raspberry Pi 3s, Arduino kits, beacons, gift cards, etc. Tweet other prize suggestions to @shanereiser.

Some background: What we've tried before that didn't work

We tried cameras. Expanding them to Coca-Cola’s 14 million coolers all around the world proved too expensive. We tried weighted sensors but they had trouble identifying the product in the cooler (did someone put a sandwich in there?). We need some fresh minds and outside perspective to help us solve this problem. What else you got?

More background - i.e. the exact problem we are trying to solve?

Out-of-Stock is the #1 Strategic Issue at Coca-Cola: This problem has resisted traditional technology solutions; from sensors on coolers to mobile devices in the hands of consumers to cameras. None of the previous approaches achieved the scale or creation of high quality data required to make a meaningful improvement in the system's ability to predict, identify, and address out of stocks.


Friday, April 15th

  • 6:30 PM: Meet and greet. Learn more about the challenge and see the cooler equipment you'll be hacking on. Go home and dream about your solution.

Saturday, April 16h

  • 9:00 AM - Breakfast & kickoff.
  • 9:30 - Start hacking.
  • 12:00 PM - Lunch served.
  • 6:00 - Dinner served.
  • 11:00+ - Stay and hack as late as you want.

Sunday, April 17th

  • 9:00 - Breakfast served. Keep hacking.
  • 12:00 - Lunch served.
  • 2:30 - Demos.
  • 4:45 - End.

When we say cooler, we don't mean vending machines. We mean these (which exist in different sizes and shapes around the world):

View full rules

How to enter

We'd love for you to join our in-person event in Atlanta so we can see your solutions live, but teams can participate remotely too.

To join the hackathon in Atlanta: 

1. Register so we know you're coming and we can have your food ready:

2. Teams at the in-person event will be asked to demo their submissions to a panel of judges on Sunday at the conclusion of the event and upload a brief description of their solution to devpost.

To participate remotely:

Remote teams will be asked to submit a description of their solution along any other additional content you feel is necessary. We're flexible on the format of what you submit, but it could include photos, videos, code, sketches, renderings - whatever you think we need to see. Remember - you own the IP of whatever you create and/or submit. In the description, be sure to address each of the judging criteria. Submissions will be accepted through April 17th at 5PM EST.


Bill Maynard

Bill Maynard
Bill leads Innovation and Architecture for The Coca-Cola Company’s global IT organization. He is responsible for partnerships and projects with startups, academic institutions and the innovation process across the Coca-Cola system.

Anthony Newstead

Anthony Newstead
Global Group Director, Emerging Technologies & Strategic Innovation at Coca-Cola

Tom North

Tom North
Global Commercialization Manager at Coca-Cola. Also the Coca-Cola External Technology Acquisition (ETA) hub lead for Georgia Tech

Shane Matthews

Shane Matthews
Local Atlanta inventor, founder of My Inventor Club, mentor at ATDC, known for his work on the Nerf AirJet brand and developing manufacturing processes for lithium ion batteries.

Judging Criteria

  • Awesomeness
    Wow factor. Did you build something no one thought was possible in the scope of a weekend? Did you use techniques that are abnormal, often impractical, and weirdly elegant?
  • Design
    Is it easy to understand? Is it easy to use? Is it creative?
  • Functionality
    Does it solve the challenge? Does it work as is or does it require additional resources? Can it be scaled to Coke's 14 Million coolers worldwide in a cost-effective way?