Barclays pours investment into new IoT beer pump
Barclays pours investment into new IoT beer pump
(Credit: Barclays)

Barclays pours investment into new IoT beer pump

British multinational bank, Barclays, has created a self-pouring IoT beer pump that allows users to pay with a touch of their contactless card or device in just 60 seconds.

Barclays said the technology, dubbed Pay @ Pump, is the first of its kind and has been designed to help pubs and bars speed up service during busy periods like the coming Christmas holiday.

Customers will supposedly benefit from being able to purchase a pint in three quick and easy steps: order, pay and pour. Barclays claims that a quarter of Brits say that queuing for drinks is the worst part of a night out and that average waiting time during the festive party season is 12 minutes per order, so this technology will be music to the ears of some punters.

Barclays Pay @ Pump process

The three stages for using Pay @ Pump consist of:

  1.  Ordering your drink – select your pint of ale via the Pay @ Pump touchscreen
  2.  Pay – touch your contactless card or device at the base of the pump
  3.  Pour – put your glass at the base of the pump to trigger the liquid to dispense automatically, as long as you managed step 2 OK

There’s potentially a significant monetary gain for bars here, as Barclays claims as many as one in four bar-goers have considered abandoning their purchase altogether due to long queues, and 20 percent have actually left and gone elsewhere.

The bank also said that 19 percent of UK bar-goers would like to see bars install contactless beer pumps, and 28 percent are demanding contactless payment services in every pub or bar nationwide – hardly surprising given the proliferation of contactless payments in recent years.

Internet of alcohol

This may well be the first contactless beer pump, but it’s certainly not the first use of IoT technology in the drinks market. Carling was among the first to launch a beer on tap service which, much like the Amazon Dash button, offers an easy way to restock an empty fridge by connecting drinkers to online shopping baskets from the comfort of their own sofa.

There’s also been innovation by Monterail,which has designed Breweree an IoT beer-brewing system, that automatically tracks cooling temperatures during the beer fermentation process, while Malibu has developed a connected cup that also use IoT technology to reduce queues at the bar – this time by detecting when a drink is empty and sending a signal to the barman to bring one afresh (you can only do this twice, though, for obvious reasons…)

An IoT dream or reality?

So perhaps the Internet of alcohol is set to be a reality sooner than other developments like connected cars and smart shops? Barclays may think so having just tested a prototype at Henry’s Café and Bar in Piccadilly, London.

Tami Hargreaves, commercial director, digital consumer payments at Barclaycard, indicated that may be the case in a statement.

“I’m sure everyone has been stuck behind the person who orders the most complicated cocktail on the menu or a round of ten drinks for their group of friends. When people told us that waiting time was one of their biggest annoyances, we wanted to help solve a common problem with a simple solution. Pay @ Pump could easily be the answer; by putting the festive cheer back into buying beer – a win-win for both bars and bar-goers!

“Barclaycard has a rich history of innovation and if the trial is successful, Pay @ Pump could be rolled out not only in bars and pubs but also at events and concerts to help speed up service – potentially even taking centre stage at the food and drink stalls at Barclaycard presents British Summer Time Hyde Park in 2017!”

Related: The Internet of Things is changing the beer you drink

Exciting times

IoB spoke to Ori Fingerer, VP of Business Development at WeissBeerger – an Israeli provider of IoT & big data solutions for bars and breweries – about what this means for the industry.

“Such innovation in the beer space is always welcomed and exciting,” he said. “I believe that this is not the first time that such a tool is being introduced to the market as the industry is familiar with all sorts of “pour your own pint” & “portion control” devices in different shapes and forms.

“I imagine that at least in the coming years receiving your pint through a bar tender/waiter will remain the most dominant way of serving beers, as people like to be served after a long day at work, however, I am sure that such beer pumps will find their place in the industry and has the potential to succeed in bars that are suffering from long queues. It will rely a lot on whether this pump is easy to use or not.”