Our opinion piece, published on FoodService Equipment journal on 18th October 2018:
Now that the UK’s biggest caterer has begun trialling telemetry on water filters in coffee machines, I think we can safely say that telemetry and the Internet of Things has gone mainstream.
In this specific case, the idea is that a wireless technology system lets the company track how much life is left on a given filter and know when a new one should be installed. This simple seeming use of telemetry is predicted to reduce operational costs by minimising the amount spent on descales while simultaneously maximising machine lifespan. It’s a no-brainer and it’s also just the tip of innovation tsunami set to flood the beverages industry in coming months and years.
In the last few months, touchscreen operated machines have been appearing with ever-more comprehensive telemetry including real-time machine usage data including volumes and technical metrics (e.g. voltage, pressure, temperature).
The most advanced machines have this data available not only locally on site but also remotely via internet portal for use by HoReCa professionals, distributors and their engineers not only simply to view but also, and crucially, to modify. Yes, you did just read that correctly.Now, on the most cutting-edge machines available, when an issue is raised engineers can actually ‘see’ remotely how the machine is behaving, run a diagnostic and potentially fix the problem from the comfort of their offices.
If the problem does require an intervention in person, the engineer can view all the data before arriving on site and so bring the right equipment for the job and achieve close to a 100% first-time-fix rate. The cost saving potential is huge and the remote monitoring and management with settings modification from any computer or smartphone means overseeing multiple sites is suddenly so much easier.
End-users will see similar step changes in terms of the ease of use of these machines with fun, engaging and intuitive touchscreen user interfaces displaying bespoke, targeted advertising messages. Some machines already have mobile app enable payments and we’re months away from drinks machines ‘recognising’ us individually.
Innovation and connectivity was certainly a big theme at the Restaurant & Takeaway Innovation Expo this September at the ExCel, London. BeviLaNatura drinks machines were among the solutions on show and they dispense a range of drinks foom tea to coffee to juice to water using an interactive touchscreen and can be remotely monitored and managed in real-time.
One thing is certain: these interactive and connected, sustainable and smart machines with all their telemetry and practical, time- and effort-saving features are here to stay.
Telemetry is a big deal and it’s going to increasingly affect us all whether we’re ready for it or not!