Pour­ing Beer and the In­ter­net of Things

SLOW Magazine - - Must Go -

Up un­til now, the only global sta­tis­tics avail­able on the con­sump­tion of beer have come from sales fig­ures, and these are un­der­stand­ably lim­ited and de­layed. Why hasn’t some kind of in­te­grated soft­ware sys­tem been in­tro­duced that would al­low fora more com­pre­hen­sive figure? Well, now there is. Bev­er­age In­sights is a Southafrican owned start-up that wants to pro­vide a bet­ter pic­ture of the way we serve and con­sume beer.

A love of tech and a se­ri­ous ap­pre­ci­a­tion for beer came to­gether when Brett Lind­say,keith Mclin­tock and Fran­cois Brill saw an op­por­tu­nity in the mar­ket that they knewthey had the ex­per­tise to fill. They iden­ti­fied the need for an an­a­lytic tool which could­trans­mit data in real-time from bars and restau­rants across the coun­try.

Their idea stemmed from the cre­ation of some­thing called the In­ter­net of Things,where a se­ries of phys­i­cal de­vices con­nect and ex­change data via spe­cially de­signed soft­ware. These phys­i­cal de­vices can there­fore be used to mea­sure the con­sump­tion of tap-dis­pensed drinks – from when it’s most fre­quently con­sumed, to what brand is the most pop­u­lar.

Often in the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try, es­tab­lish­ments have to deal with a prob­lem called “shrink­age”, which is de­fined as the un­in­tended wastage or loss of beer in the process of han­dling, stor­ing and pour­ing. Ad­dress­ing this is­sue was one of Bev­er­age In­sights’ main aims when de­vel­op­ing their soft­ware. “Bars and restau­rants all around the world worry about the bar­tender who goes heavy on the pour and light on ring­ing in the sale. Shrink­age, caused by waste­ful pour­ing or some­times even theft, or­di­nar­ily sits at about 10 %, at a con­ser­va­tive figure this would start from a bar los­ing 120 litres of beer per month, this equates to a sub­stan­tial loss of over R50,000 profit per year.

Bev­er­age In­sights con­cep­tu­alised and built South Africa’s very first “smart tap”, which measures pres­sure, tem­per­a­ture and flow data of ev­ery sin­gle draught be­ing poured across SA. All data is then ag­gre­gated and dis­played in a cus­tom­ized real- time dash­board. This kind of data is in­valu­able to res­tau­rant/bar own­ers and brew­eries across the coun­try as it al­lows bet­ter insight into prof­itabil­ity, de­mand and in­ven­tory man­age­ment.

Orig­i­nally, Bev­er­age In­sights built all of their own hard­ware, but that soon proved too ex­pen­sive. As a re­sult, they’ve switched to a hard­ware ag­nos­tic ap­proach to fo­cus most of their at­ten­tion on the soft­ware and data an­a­lyt­ics side of things. With the help of Si­atik, Google Cloud part­ners in SA, the Bev­er­age In­sights team had ac­cess and help to build into the lat­est Google Cloud suite of prod­ucts, mak­ing sure it was as ad­vanced as it could be. “Google’s tools are much faster and cheaper than any­thing we could have built our­selves. We are now in a po­si­tion, from day one, to scale to all avail­able taps in the South African mar­ket,” says Brill of their re­cent ad­vance­ments.

Bev­er­age In­sights aims to im­prove the South African mar­ket for both the con­sumer and pro­ducer, for bar own­ers and bar reg­u­lars, and make sure that the new age of tech­nol­ogy is ap­plied to one of the big­gest in­dus­tries in the coun­try – beer. For more in­for­ma­tion on the smart beer tap and the sys­tem that Bev­er­age In­sights has de­vel­oped, visit their web­site www.bev­er­agein­sights.co.

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