Consumer Products

Will there be an IoT revolution in the food and beverage industry?

By Edd Brunner - Last updated: Friday, September 1, 2017

I recently had an article published on BeverageDaily.com talking about IoT in the food and beverage industry. In that I suggested that we are not quite yet at the point that the value of the functionality that can be achieved by this enabler (or at least the functionality that has been thought of) is more than the cost of implementing the technology.

Clearly this means there are two things we can be doing here; having more ideas, plus evolving the technology to reduce it’s cost. In the article I talk about some of the ways to increase the value of the functionality.  Crucial to this is not just having a single function that has been the case with things like the NFC labels that we have seen being trialled by many brands such as Pernod Ricard and Diageo. Authentication and consumer engagement are fair reasons for this approach, but for me the value versus cost is debatable. There surely needs to be more?!

Part of this is the limitations of technologies like NFC which require actions by the consumer to use it – I wonder what proportion of consumers who bought those products either realised there was NFC or actually used?

Being world leaders in connectivity, we have been looking at how we can reduce cost of implementing Bluetooth connectivity- and believe we can get it down to a cost that is similar to the cost of adding NFC now. Here’s my colleague Rob Milner talking about the details:

The search for ultra-low cost IoT from Cambridge Consultants on Vimeo.

So for tens of cents, we get the ubiquity of Bluetooth (worth remembering that NFC still isn’t fully supported by Apple) and the fact that functionality (e.g. how often consumers are opening the product) can run in the background without the need for the consumer to actively do something with their smartphone and the product.

One of the challenges here is being creative with the functionalities possible within the realities of the technology. But that is exactly where we can help being experts in the relevant wireless and digital service technologies (that are available now and that will be available in the future) and in technology innovation (i.e. how technology can be used for maximum business impact).

We are going to be at Drinktec 2017, Hall A1, stand 213. So if you are interested in this area (which is one of a number of things we do in the consumer goods sector), come and talk to us!


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AuthorEdd Brunner


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