Better marketing, better business, better beer?

The Internet of Things (IoT) has its hands everywhere these days.  While your first thought when it comes to IoT might be tech or social industries, even brewers like Heineken are getting in on the action lately.  Big data and a strong handle on innovation and efficiency are the company’s way of improving as they hope to better compete in the market.  Currently, in the United States, they sell 8.5 million barrels of the good stuff, but they hope to increase those numbers with AI augmentation across many of its divisions and data-driven improvements.

Data Analytics:

Data can be used for almost anything you can put your mind to.  Heineken put their mind, and data, to almost everything in their supply chain, to create company-wide planning, forecasting, and resupply.  This process helps to reduce inefficiencies and can optimise delivery routes.  They can adjust production based on current supplies or expected demand and get the ball rolling on seasonal drinks in real-time thanks to how data is transmitted.

Using data with marketing:

Marketing in today’s market is becoming crazy.  In the past, companies had to conduct surveys or base their marketing decisions around who’s buying what and when.  Today, they’re using things like Shopperception which analyses customers behavior in front of the shelves in real-time. Through this program, Heineken was able to gather a tremendous amount of data in a very short time.

Through its partnerships with both Facebook and Google, Heineken also created a strong social profile and can create better, more personalised marketing decisions in the future.

The Ignite Bottle: Coming soon to a party near you

Not all of Heineken’s improvements are data-based.  In fact, their latest one isn’t even an improvement to their already stellar recipe, but to the bottle itself.  Dubbed the “Ignite Bottle”, it truly is unique.  The bottle contains over 50 individual components and sensors, including LED lights which lets the bottles party on at the beat of the music.  If having your glowing bottle dance with you isn’t enough, it also flickers when tipped back, “cheers” when touching another bottle, and dims sadly if nobody is touching it.  At the moment, only 200 of the bottles were produced for proof of concept, but more are likely on the way.

Beer hasn’t changed all that much in the past hundred years or so, but companies always will.  With technology comes improvement and the IoT is one of those improvements that can be made everywhere, even in the most unexpected places… I’m talking about you, seizure-inducing bottle.  While these improvements might not get you drunk faster, they will, over time, be able to reduce the costs to you.  After all, in a highly competitive market like the beer industry, lower overhead costs tend to get transferred to the customer by way of reduced pricing.

The Internet of Things has a Bright Bright Future

As you well know, the Internet of Things (IoT) has been garnering interest more and more in the past few years.  Its capabilities for changing the world are astounding and can be used everywhere from space travel to production to consumer goods.  One of the biggest developments recently sits on the line between amazing and mundane — lights.  That’s right, your common household light bulbs and fixtures.

What’s so great about lights?

Well, it’s less about the lights themselves and more about the collaboration a large group of companies have created.  A huge problem with many IoT-enabled consumer devices is that getting them to talk to each other doesn’t always work.  Tech created by different companies sometimes won’t be able to send or interpret data through each other and so you’re stuck with just a run-of-the-mill toaster.  Thanks to the IoT-Ready Alliance, the vast majority of LED light fixtures won’t have that problem.

What’s the IoT-Ready Alliance?

The IoT-Ready Alliance is a group of over a dozen top LED-producing companies working together to create a common standard for IoT-enabled lighting.  In other words, they’re working to keep the above problem at bay… for lights anyway.

What makes this alliance amazing is that it’s a rarity, yet something that needs to be much more common quickly.  Without industry standards for IoT devices, one of two things will happen.  Either the majority of devices will be delayed, buggy, or simply unable to communicate, or a single powerhouse company will come out on top with much of the world’s consumer-based IoT devices produced there.

The sooner more companies realise that alliances between each other help both them and their consumers, the quicker the Internet of Things will evolve.  The IoT-Ready Alliance is currently working to standardise the key interface characteristics of LED fixtures, including integrated and external sensors and will include necessary interfacing options for other companies wanting to make the LED fixtures as well.

This isn’t the first alliance to be made, though.

Z-Wave, AIOTI, and the IoT Cybersecurity Alliance are all working similarly to the IoT-Ready Alliance to create industry standards and develop stable systems.  The largest of these, Z-Wave, already has over 2,000 products available and has sold over 70 million worldwide.

Lights and common household products are all well and good on their own, but the biggest advancement I hope to see in the future is for cars.  While it might be difficult, we could very well live in a world where cars drive themselves whilst talking to each other, knowing where nearby drivers are going so as to avoid accidents.