The “Internet of Things,” better known as IoT, has consistently grown in adoption throughout the tech sector, and more specifically, within the smart home space over the last three years. More recently, we’ve seen this trend hit the restaurant space, massive companies like Starbucks are partnering with tech giants to provide revolutionary new innovations in technology that are sure to turn heads really soon.
Here’s a rundown:
What Is IoT?
Without getting too technical, the Internet of Things refers to everyday objects that have been given their own IP address and the ability to be fed or receive information from sources online. Up until the last decade, the internet was built mainly for people to speak to and interact with other people. With IoT, we now have the ability to facilitate communication between common household objects like refrigerators or ovens, and other Internet-enabled devices and systems. This means that the huge amount of data gathered by the sensors of something like, let’s say your air conditioning unit, can now be shared to other devices like your smartphone or smart speaker unit. This, in turn, enables you to control the temperature of your home by simply turning on your AC via an app on your phone. It provides added convenience because you can now have your AC on and home cooled down by the time you get home from work.
IoT in Restaurants
Ok, so you now have more flexibility when it comes to accessing the air conditioning in your home, but how does this impact the restaurant space? If we look at Starbucks’ integration with Microsoft’s Azure Sphere IoT system as an example. Many of the machines that are used in their restaurant locations used to be updated via a USB drive. New drinks and offerings on the menu had to be manually uploaded into the various units before a barista could begin concocting the order. Now, with IoT, Starbucks’ corporate office can simultaneously upload the new drink recipe into all of its machines nationwide. With an average of 15-20 pieces of equipment in each store, you can immediately see the time savings associated with such an innovation in technology.
Focus On What Matters
The benefits of IoT are countless, and more than justify the cost of implementing such efforts in each Starbucks location. Being able to collect and act on data at any time not only makes the organization more efficient, but it also provides a competitive advantage compared to other coffee shops when rolling out and testing new products on the menu. The buck doesn’t stop there, however. IoT will also enable Starbucks to fulfill orders more consistently, meaning that the caramel macchiato that you ordered in Florida will taste exactly the same when you order it in Montana. Their efforts are focused around putting the customer experience first, a trend that we identified early on in our blog.
Our team specializes in putting together compelling IT Infrastructures, which improve your store’s bottom line. If your business is interested in taking its technology initiatives to the next level, we encourage you to schedule a meeting with our team using the Calendly plug-in on the upper right corner of this page. We’ll reach out to discuss your unique business goals so that we can begin crafting a solution that best fits your needs. If you’d like to read more of our thoughts on technology trends for brick and mortar locations, check out our blog here.