‘Drinking Responsibly’ Takes on New Meaning for Intelligent Brewery
By Stan Lequin, Vice President and General Manager, Digital Innovation, Insight Enterprises
When states began shutting down in response to COVID-19 earlier this year, it put getting back to work sensibly and safely at the top of everyone’s mind. Businesses since then have sought access to devices to help enable this return, like thermal cameras and chatbots powered by artificial intelligence to screen facility entrants.
One such company taking an intelligent approach is an independently owned craft brewery in Ohio. When faced with the challenge of ensuring a safe environment for all who enter their establishment, Cleveland-area Ignite Brewing Company worked with Insight to install smart technology to better monitor and manage the health of customers and staff.
Lessons from the Field
After Ohio ordered the closure of bars and restaurants back on March 15, Ignite’s leadership realized they needed to quickly pivot the business to keep customers, employees and their larger community safe. To do this, Ignite partnered with Insight to install thermal cameras for temperature monitoring, helping detect elevated temperatures often associated with viruses.
Thermal cameras, as well as other types of Internet of Things (IoT) screening technologies, accumulate massive amounts of data, sometimes making them a burden to manage. To solve for this challenge, we paired Ignite’s camera installation with Insight’s Connected Platform, a system designed to provide a wholistic view into the IoT ecosystem. The platform makes it easier for users to control, monitor, manage and make decisions with all of the data they collect, not just from the thermal cameras but any connected device.
In Ignite’s case, the thermal cameras pair with the Connected Platform to allow the company to detect in real-time high temperatures among groups of people entering the brewery, receiving immediate feedback and actionable intel with which to make decisions should someone show signs of a fever. To date, Ignite’s thermal cameras have taken more than 115,000 total accurate temperature scans on average in a month, with as many as 10,000 scans occurring on a single busy Saturday.
Installation, though, is just the first step — since taking the cameras live, we’ve worked with Ignite to calibrate the technology, eliminating factors that lead to false readings like hot metal tables located outside the brewery. Our engineers, for example, noted that the angle of the sun at certain times throughout the day caused a spike in elevated temperature direction, which we’ve ultimately been able to account for in adjustments.
Beyond the Brewery
It’s also imperative that detection and prevention technology used to enable a return to work and public places functions hand-in-hand with an organization’s people and processes. In any situation where smart solutions are implemented, businesses should communicate with HR and compliance departments to ensure the privacy of employees and patrons is protected. This might mean adjusting a screening procedure so that if someone does show signs of a fever, they can be pulled aside for further screening without undue attention.
Implementing an IoT ecosystem from scratch may sound daunting, especially for smaller businesses, but Ignite is showing the merits of starting simple and smart, then scaling up and out. Going forward, we’re working with the brewery to leverage the Connected Platform for beverage cooler monitoring. The same concepts of monitoring people’s temperatures via thermal cameras apply here, too, with sensors designed to regulate appliance temperatures to improve efficiency while ensuring safer products for the business.
The efforts so far are paying off for Ignite, which has seen a rise in year-over-year business in spite of the challenges posed by a topsy-turvy 2020.
Thermal screening is just one of many potential first steps an organization can take. After welcoming employees and guests into a facility, there are myriad other measures businesses can take to make their environments smarter and safer, like placing intelligent hand-sanitizing stations throughout a business or restaurant. Like thermal cameras, the stations work within the larger ecosystem to remind and enforce sanitizing protocols with little need for human oversight. These solutions are not one-size-fits all but can and should be personalized and adapted to suit each organization’s unique needs.
The pandemic pushed businesses to act urgently, intensifying the need for innovation, but the technologies put into place should remain relevant beyond current health concerns. Today’s facial scanning kiosks used to screen for signs of fever at business entry points also can plug into existing corporate identity solutions to grant building access to workers. Ideally, as organizations consider the best ways to innovate out of this crisis, they’ll identify forward-looking applications for these solutions, better preparing the business to function as the workplace of tomorrow.