BEER. “The cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.” – Homer Simpson.
A few months ago I wrote a blog about unusual IoT applications. Besides the smart egg tray and connected toaster, one of these things was a smart beer solution! Luckily for us in the telecoms channel, beer—like almost every “dumb” object in the world—is an opportunity for business and revenue!
This year, we were therefore able to work with our partners to bring a fully functional connected beer tap straight to our stand at Channel Live 2017 to answer the question: How can IoT help pubs get the perfect pour every time?
So let’s have a look at the last few hours of a beer life cycle—skipping the yeast and hops, and fast forwarding to a few hours before it disappears down someone’s belly. Let’s start by picturing the truck stopping by the local pub and rolling a few kegs off and down into the cellar.
Getting the beer from brewery to inventory
Kegs don’t come cheap—and the smart keg of the future is connected online to help suppliers keep an eye on their assets, and allow pubs to see where their orders are. Long life asset trackers and RFID technology are integrated into each keg to give an accurate location of where it is—whether it’s the factory, in transit, or stored away in a pub cellar. Where GPS may lose out underground, RFID is there to update the location and notify you if your keg is passing the “gateway” of your cellar door without your knowledge.
Keeping an eye on stock
Now it’s time to connect to the tap. Sensors on the tap register that a new keg is in place, and by various methods can accurately measure how much beer is in the keg. When a keg is running low the system updates other management and billing systems in the pub to help manage inventory more efficiently.
Pouring the Perfect Pint
When it comes to pouring the perfect pint, a popular beer brand once said, good things come to those who wait. And with Guinness’s official guidelines insisting on a 119.5 second pour for optimal taste, not all beers are created, or poured, equal—but IoT can help gage whether you’re hitting that perfect pour time and optimum volume for each beer brand. Furthermore, there’s no excuses for a warm beer with sensors that can monitor temperature in real-time.
Selling beer with statistics
When we start looking at all of the smart pub’s possible metrics, it starts to get quite mind boggling. Combining data sets in new ways, can open up new patterns and insights, all of which can help drive efficiencies and sales. Here are a few examples:
- Work out which staff are the best performers with information on the quality and number of pints pulled per hour to manage the schedules and performance more efficiently.
- Determine which beer kegs are depleted the most quickly and at what times of the day to make sure you don’t run out during peak hours.
- Notice a keg which isn’t selling? Drop out a promo via the Wi-Fi network to advertise the beer at a discount for the next hour (with Responsible Service of Alcohol of course!)
- Analyse which beer taps have poured the most pints to see if there’s a correlation between discounted beer or advertisements on Wi-Fi in various areas around the pub.
- Receive a complete sales breakdown by time, date, brand, and tap
- Keep an eye out for mates pints that are snuck across the bar for free
Below are just some of the analytics we were able to gather from our connected beer tap at Channel Live:
I’m sure that you will agree that with a worked example, such as the connected beer tap, many new ideas come to mind when we think what can be achieved with a comprehensive and integrated IoT solution.
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