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IPT: Starbucks (1)

posted Sep 24, 2009, 2:01 PM by Eddie Woo
If you work hard to grok the concepts of the IPT course, you will find it taking over your life. Since I teach it, this is totally my experience. I can't even walk through shopping malls without IPT-related questions popping into my head. Yeah, I need serious help!

Today (and next lesson's) questions came into my head when I drove past Macca's one day and noticed their "Free Wi-Fi". McDonald's offers free internet access to customers who bring in their own wireless-enabled devices (more info here and here). This got me started on a bit of research into exactly how and why a fast food chain would provide this kind of service to its customers.

As I carried out this research, I found out that Starbucks in America offers much the same service. (Australian Starbucks currently only offer free internet access to iiNet customers, and non-iiNet customers can pay for access.) But as I read, I also discovered that the largest coffeehouse company in the world did a whole bunch of other technology-related things. Internet access in its cafes was just the beginning, as you too will discover. Please complete the following:
  1. Read the following articles:
  2. Identify the hardware devices that would be used as part of this communications system.
  3. Describe two social and/or ethical issues that are associated with this system.
  4. Compose a brief feasibility study that investigates the practicality of implementing this system across participating coffeehouses on a nationwide scale, addressing all four aspects of feasibility (financial, technical, schedule and operational).
  5. Outline the key reasons why Starbucks (as well as McDonald's) would offer this service to its customers, in light of the high cost incurred in both installation and maintenance of the required information system.
  6. Draw a data flow diagram that represents the processes taking place when a Starbucks customer decides to purchase and download a song (that is currently playing in the store) onto their iPhone.

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