As Edd covered in his blog post , the internet of things (IoT) is a growing trend across the entirety of the consumer industry, and is certainly making great headway in the beverage sector, as I’ve seen so far here at Drinktec this week. The key for any IoT system is to continue to provide value to consumers beyond the initial novelty and there are now a number of systems providing real value by making use of cloud-based service.
Brewing in the cloud
One of the most active areas of development for beverage IoT is in home and craft-brewing. Automated home-brewing systems is rapidly growing, as we saw at Brau last year, and Speidel, Grainfather, and Brewie all have cloud-connected systems on show here at Drinktec. Cloud-based ingredient recipes with app-controlled mash profiles and brew-day schedules take some of the guess-work out of the brewing process, and the idea of brewing a beer whilst sat on the sofa is certainly pretty appealing!
IoT is also making its way into commercial brewing. Oculyze have on show their smartphone yeast analysis system. The concentration and viability of yeast is absolutely critical in the brewing process for producing high quality, repeatable beer, but is often only performed by larger breweries predominantly due to time involved in manually counting cells on a standard microscope. By automating the counting process using cloud-based pattern recognition for images taken using a smartphone microscope, not only is the cost of the required equipment reduced, there are significant time savings for the brewer.
On our stand (A1.213), we’ve been exploring possibilities for IoT at the end of life of products with our smart recycling demo. The recycling bin has a pair of low-cost cameras coupled with a cloud-based artificial neural network, enabling the bin to be trained to recognise different types of rubbish, and without the need for any bar-codes or embedded tech. Not only will the system tell you the type of recyclable material the item is, but also capture valuable data for the service provider and the potential to reward customers for recycling through an app. This could be of particular interest for brand owners, offering a unique touch-point with consumers at the end of the product life, as well as improving recycling rates.
Internet on trade
For the on-trade, Celli had a number of connected dispense systems offering benefits to consumers, bar managers and brand owners. The dispense taps on their stand are all connected to their IntelliDraught system that measures dispense metrics and sends that to a cloud portal, where it is combined with social media and other data for linking brand consumption with social media trends, amongst a vast array of other metrics. Their Water Bar system enables you to fully customise the carbonation level, flavour additions and select between different base mineral waters, with NFC and Bluetooth connectivity. Users can customise and pre-pay for their drink using an app before arriving at the drinks outlet, and then collect their beverage when they arrive.
At this pace I’m truly excited to see where IoT will be by the time of the next show in 2021!