Q&A with Frederik Vibe Petersen – Smart Coffee for Smart Buildings: The Connected Coffee Experience
New technologies are impacting all aspects of our lives and are becoming prevalent in all industries. From the computer systems we work on to the heating systems in our homes, and even down to the coffee machines we use. A few weeks ago, we caught up with Scanomat UK & Ireland Co-Founder and Managing Director, Simon Bracken, to dispel some of the myths surrounding the TopBrewer that still exist today. Following this, we sat down with Frederik Vibe Petersen, Business Development Manager & resident tech expert at Scanomat A/S, to discuss how new technologies, including IoT, are shaping the coffee industry.
1 – How is IoT shaping the coffee industry?
To put it simply, the Internet of Things refers to devices that are connected to the internet and have the ability to “talk” to each other and share data. This can include things such as security systems, home appliances and wearable technology such as smart watches.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is shaping the coffee industry on many levels, and is affecting everyone from the end user to the machine operator. In short IoT is altering the entire coffee experience and is bringing the industry into the 21st century. At Scanomat, we offer a full 360 experience for our customers that is based entirely on data, and this data is used to improve the experience and resolve any problems.
From our perspective, we believe IoT is fundamental to enabling a smart and connected consumer coffee experience. We have focussed on creating the most advanced cloud management system for coffee machines- CoffeeCloud. CoffeeCloud, powered by TopBrewer, offers our clients real-time data and insights relating to their machines, as well as smart tools they can use to optimise efficiency. Importantly, the data is also fed back to our team of engineers, who use the technical data to provide a proactive level of service, often seeing, and fixing, potential issues before the client even notices a problem.
Our TopBrewer coffee machines are all connected assets, and IoT is allowing us to become more smart and proactive in how we work, such as sending over the air firmware updates to every machine around the world, which ultimately improves the experience that our customers are experiencing every day.
2 – When it comes to connected coffee machines, what are the biggest benefits for businesses looking to streamline their coffee operations?
Probably the best benefit we can offer our clients is the fact that TopBrewer is a future-proof asset. What does this mean? We are very unique at Scanomat in that we regularly send over-the-air updates to all TopBrewers with a stable WiFi or cellular connection, meaning the user experience will be the same whether your machine is 8 years or 8 days old.
From a service perspective, we use TopBrewer data to offer a much more proactive service. Our team of knowledgeable engineers can use machine data to fix potential issues before they become actual problems, meaning less down-time for the machine and a better experience for the user. How amazing is it that your coffee machine could be fixed before you even call the service desk to log a problem?
Our cloud-based coffee machine management tool, CoffeeCloud, offers real-time data and insights to clients at their fingertips. Operationally, this has many benefits and can be used to increase efficiencies in the management of machines, particularly for clients with several TopBrewers as it gives the ability to manage a fleet of machines from one central place, making the whole process more streamlined and efficient.
3 – What sets Scanomat apart in terms of its IoT solutions and capabilities?
The TopBrewer is a dynamic asset, and the CoffeeCloud management system we offer allows clients to work more efficiently and productively. As mentioned, Scanomat is the only coffee machine manufacturer to offer over-the-air updates to all customers. This means our clients can be sure their machine is a future-proof and dynamic investment.
We based our whole system, including CoffeeCloud, on a 360º cohesive experience, for example, as a supplier we take care of the whole coffee ecosystem – we develop and manufacture the machines in-house, we source and roast specialty coffee via Direct Trade, and we develop our own app and technology. Because of this, we have full control over all aspects of the experience and can respond quickly and easily to any problems that arise. With our competitors, it’s a more fragmented process, as they do not have the same unified, connected system as we do.
4 – What were the main challenges you faced when developing/launching CoffeeCloud and how did you overcome them?
The whole CoffeeCloud system, including the app and technical interface, was designed and built in house at Scanomat HQ, and it was a very complex challenge. The industry as a whole was, and still is to a certain extent, very analogue so even the suggestion of a move to a more digital space was a shock to most at the beginning.
The first problem we encountered was figuring out how to connect the machine itself. After lots of tests, we discovered that the best and most effective way to do this was through the app on the iPad. Then we needed to develop the cloud platform, which posed a whole host of issues relating to the security and encryption. Security of data is something we take incredibly seriously, so getting this part right was crucial to the whole project. We used both in-house experts and consultants to help us ensure this part of the project was managed correctly. And then after we had solved these issues, we then had to focus on optimising the whole customer journey and ensuring it was the best it can be. It certainly wasn’t a simple or speedy process!
As the platform was built in-house, it meant we had full control over everything, which definitely helped when problem solving. We were able to use the combination of skillsets of our employees to come to the best conclusion for each issue. We relied on lots of user testing to ensure the platform was easy-to-use and intuitive, using customer feedback to make improvements before a wide release.
In all, it was a long and complex challenge, but we knew the end point when we first started development, so we always had a goal to work towards, which definitely helped!
5 – What is API and why is it so important for smart building integration?
In simple terms, an IoT API is a way to integrate new, connected devices into your existing system. With the growing number of smart buildings being developed, we will see a growing network of devices being integrated, for example heating, lighting and, of course, coffee machines. The CoffeeCloud API allows our system to be integrated into other IT systems, which allows us, and our clients, to become smarter and more efficient, as well as optimising internal processes surrounding the machine. The “brain” of the building acts as a control centre for the TopBrewer, so can help deliver smarter energy management and other benefits, on an operational level for example, it can show notifications when the coffee beans need to be refilled.
6 – What steps has Scanomat put in place to ensure CoffeeCloud data is safe & secure?
7 – What’s next in the world of connected coffee machines?
It’s a really exciting time for us, and we have lots of plans in the works. I believe we are years ahead of the game compared to the rest of the industry, just by the fact that about 80% of our fleet is online, and we are focussed on continuing to be innovative and disruptive. We’re working behind the scenes on new projects, but also to improve the systems we already have. A high-tech, professional machine and fantastic coffee are important, of course, but the user experience as a whole is at the forefront for us, so everything we do is working towards optimising this. We have some really exciting updates coming in the next few months, so keep an eye on our website and social media channels to find out more!
To find out more about CoffeeCloud powered by TopBrewer click here