The low hum was faint at first, slowly getting louder the more you concentrated on the sound, until eventually the black object broke over the horizon at first looking like a Blackhawk helicopter from a Hollywood blockbuster movie, then as it moved in a regimented fashion up and down the vines, its identity was revealed as a drone. Creating wine used to be about experience, gut-instinct and soil to name a few things guaranteeing a successful crop. Now its sensors, data, software and of course drones. Fitted with multispectral and visual sensors, these Drones collect multitudes of data determining the health of the vineyard (e.g. Crop Vigor) whilst on the ground, other sensors monitor temperature and soil. When the process gets to the bottling stage, an NFC (near-field communication) label is produced and placed on the bottle to be read throughout the supply chain from producer to logistics through customs and then to wholesale and finally the restaurant.

The restauranteur checks her cloud-based online platform and sees a visual representation of her food and wine stock supply chain. Three days previous, she had ordered a resupply of exotic ingredients for her head chef and can see where those supplies are in real-time on her interactive map. A warning notification pops up on her SiteSage Energy & Asset Management system alerting her that the temperature in one of the freezers in the restaurant kitchen is decreasing and that she has three hours to move supplies to another unit. Given that Restaurants use up to three times more energy than traditional commercial enterprises, the restauranteur is pleased to see that she has saved 10% energy in the last quarter. Sensors in the fridges allow her to see that there is enough spare capacity in the remaining fridges and organises for the food to be moved.

The restaurant manager arrives and fires up his Microsoft MICROS mTablet. He views analytical data on the previous day’s trading through the EPOS system. He then checks out the real-time view of the restaurant bookings for the day and sees several tables available during the first cover, at the click of a button, he pushes a marketing campaign into the Open Table mobile application to drive bookings. He analyses the evening reservations and wait lists, as well as the sales and inventory data. He uses the insights from this data to automatically update his staff coming in for the lunchtime session, a notification is also autonomously pushed to a group of temporary waitresses via the restaurants mobile employee app offering a shift this evening. The manager receives an almost instant notification from Sarah (a temporary waitress registered on the employee app) and the shift is confirmed back to her.

All the servers in the restaurant are equipped with mobile devices that can send orders directly to the kitchen. The craft beer and wine bottles (including the wine bottles from the vineyard) arrive and are lined up in the bar. The restaurant uses SteadyServ iKeg for managing their array of beers. Sensors attached to each keg tracks the type and style of beer, when it was delivered to the restaurant, when it was opened and of course when it will run dry. Spirits in the restaurant use smart spouts from BarVision that helps provide data insight from each pour. Everything is precisely monitored and integrated with EPOS (Electronic Point of Sales) systems.

On arrival from the logistics courier, each box is scanned and the data is uploaded to the cloud. Instant personalised emails are sent to relevant customers booked in for today offering them the chance to pre-order their favourite beer or wine before arriving, the drink list is automatically produced for the bar tender so that a seamless customer experience is created. A further email will be automatically sent to the customer after their evening offering them the opportunity to purchase a case of the wine or craft beer they enjoyed.

The doors open for lunch; every day when the doors open a bot fires a tweet to all the restaurants followers on Twitter with a link to today’s menu and a few special offers targeted at filling unsold tables over the next 7 days.

Customers start to arrive and as usual, people change their mind around which tables to sit at, the waitress checks her mobile tablet and with the swipe of a finger moves the customer to another table automatically rearranging the tables which don’t already have customers.

The couple sit down and use their mobile phones and apps such as Secret DJ to request their favourite music during their meal, requests are queued on the restaurants sound system and played in order, falling back on a playlist should there be a lack of requests.

Their drinks arrive immediately as they have already pre-ordered. The waitress hands the customers their mini slim line tablets which act as their menu’s. With every order, the menu is automatically updated removing customer disappointment if a particular item has sold out, in fact they won’t even know as it is silently removed from the screen.

According to Gartner, 6.4 Billion connected devices will be in use in 2016 with a staggering 5.5 million devices connecting every day and this will reach 20.8 billion devices by 2020. The Internet of Things (IoT) will support total services spending of $235 billion in 2016. Finally, by 2020 Gartner believes more than half of Major New Business Processes and Systems will incorporate some element of the Internet of Things.

Exciting times lie ahead with the use of IoT in many industries, that’s for sure. However, not without its dangers especially around security, and with so many devices connected comes the opportunity for hackers to use these devices to launch DDoS attacks which we have already seen in 2016. In addition to this, it’s important to remember the importance of having a robust management platform to monitor and support these large scale connected networks.

As a technologist and innovator, I’m excited by this revolution, if it also removes the disappointment of a corked bottle of wine or helps me discover new foods then even better. Chin! Chin!

Giles Morgan,
Global Digital Leader |
Global TAS at EY ‘Misfit & Innovator’ M&A

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