CeBIT: Deutsche Telekom presents its smart bar counter

  • A cooperative project with glass manufacturer RASTAL demonstrates the benefits of digitization for the beverage industry
  • Real data replacing rough estimates: IoT solution shows beverage consumption and consumer behavior in real time
  • Innovative dispensing solution: drinks are tapped through an opening in the bottom of the glass

Deutsche Telekom teamed up with glass manufacturer RASTAL to bring the Internet of Things to a sector that has so far been strictly analog: the bar counter. The partners have jointly developed a digital solution for the beverage industry based on intelligent glasses coupled with a networked bar counter to record consumption data, which is then converted into useful business information via Telekom's Cloud of Things. This allows for calling up information on beverage turnover and sales as well as dispensing losses from wherever, in real time. In addition, the new Internet of Things (IoT) solution provides beverage manufacturers and hostelry operators with a totally new way of interacting with customers and of setting themselves apart from the competition. And at CeBIT, Telekom will be presenting another innovative idea on how to dispense drinks: through the bottom of the glass.

Connected glasses and smart bar counter to optimize processes

While hostelry businesses and beverage manufacturers had to rely so far on past figures or estimates based on experience, the new smart bar counter now supplies the precise information they need to improve their planning. The insights gained from this data will benefit both beverage manufacturers and hostelry operators – particularly at events with more than one bar counter such as large discos or at festivals or sports events. Beverage deliveries can be better matched to consumption and waiting times for guests can be reduced, minimizing sales losses and optimizing routes. Personnel deployment can also be planned more efficiently and – thanks to real-time data recording and analysis – can even be adjusted on the go to respond to fast-changing conditions.

This is how it works: The SMARTGLASS developed by RASTAL contains an integrated chip whose code is integrated into the brand landscape of the beverage manufacturer. The chip contains information on the glass capacity, the type of drink and the time and place it was dispensed. When the glass is placed on the smart bar counter, the technology integrated into the bar reads all the information on the chip automatically and sends it via integrated SIM card to the very core of the IoT solution – the Telekom Cloud of Things. The Cloud then collects all the data, processes them and visualizes them on dashboards that can be retrieved via Smartphone, tablet or PC. The customer, no matter where he or she happens to be, can then see in real-time which bar counter has what beverage consumption and can then respond accordingly. On top of that, consumption statistics can also be analyzed later to find potential for optimizing business processes.

An app opens new options for promo competitions and bonus schemes

Aside from making processes more transparent, networked glasses can also facilitate a completely new way of interacting with the customer. Using a smartphone with NFC (near field communication) capability, the customer can read information from the chip using an app developed by Deutsche Telekom. This opens out new options to the caterer for interacting with the customer through promo competitions and bonus schemes. Also the option to order drinks online becomes possible. The white-label app was developed using a modular design, making it simple and easy to adjust its features to any sector and to every individual customer.

"With this integrated solution that we have created together with RASTAL for the beverage industry, we are demonstrating vividly how almost every industry can benefit from the digital transformation" says Hagen Rickmann, Director for Business Customers at Telekom Deutschland. "Intelligent IoT solutions like the Smartbar help to make existing processes more effective, as well as enabling completely new business models."

Dispensing beverages in seconds without loss

In addition, Deutsche Telecom and RASTAL are also jointly presenting a new and promising idea at CeBIT: a system for dispensing beverages through the bottom of the glass. RASTAL, as the exclusive glass partner of American specialist "GrinOn Industries", has developed a glass with a pre-designed opening for filling in its bottom, which closes up by means of a clever magnet mechanism. When the glass is placed on the dispensing device fitted into the counter, it will be filled in seconds through the opening in the glass bottom without any loss of liquid. The dispensing method works for all sorts of drinks, including beers and carbonated soft drinks. It is also suitable for use with self-service systems – by interacting with a prepaid option provided by a Smartphone app, for example. "Going forward with the development of the smart bar, the option of combining the two innovative solutions is also a possibility", comments Thomas Nieraad, RASTAL's CEO. "As a pioneer in the sector, we are always looking for innovative, value-added solutions for the beverage and gastronomy sector. With Deutsche Telekom, we have won a strong partner to help us offer customers real added value with our glasses and the help of digitization", continues Nieraad.

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