Telco AT&T has announced it will connect up to 1 million Red Bull-branded beverage coolers around the world.
In the background, IoT technologies will be used to track and manage the supply and demand of drinks to these coolers – or fridges, to our UK audience – maintaining a steady flow of syrupy, highly caffeinated beverages to the fatigued and/or hungover.
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AT&T technologists and developers at the AT&T Foundry centers, in Plano, Texas and Palo Alto, California, which specialize in tech innovation, have worked closely with the team at Red Bull and its partners on this project.
The data produced by coolers will help ensure that Red Bull drinks are kept cold and will identify any issues with the coolers, in some cases even predicting an issue before it occurs, according to the company.
Alerts from coolers will mean that workers no longer need to check the status of each unit manually, with data provided on performance, temperature and location.
The data also provides what AT&T refers to as ‘shopper frequency insight’. In other words, it will be possible to see when a fridge door has been opened and closed. AT&T doesn’t make it clear whether similar data on a drink being removed from a fridge and placed in a trolley will be collected.
“Each time a connected cooler door opens and closes, an embedded monitor collects data and on regular intervals send the data via the AT&T Global SIM. The AT&T Control Center and AT&T IoT Platform (Flow and M2X) process the data from each cooler,” says the company release.
“This is another great example of collaboration and innovation to create real value for our customers. It streamlines the processes, creates visibility and improves operations, heling drive significant cost savings and return on investment,” said Thaddeus Arroyo, CEO of business solutions and international at AT&T.
AT&T, like other telcos, is working hard to build up IoT business-to-business deals, as more traditional areas of its retail business decline. The company is a sponsor of Red Bull Racing, the Formula 1 team owned by the Austria-based drinks company, which may have given it an ‘in’ on the deal.
In April, AT&T announced it had lost 191,000 contract mobile customers during its first quarter, compared to a 129,000 gain in the corresponding period of the previous year.
Likewise, rival Verizon lost 307,000 retail post-paid mobile subscribers in the first quarter, down from 640,000 additions for the year-ago period.
For both companies, and others, IoT-focused business from other companies is a good way to go.