Vending Insight 43

IoT and Big Data: Craig McIntyre Asks, ‘Are You ‘Knee-Jerk’ Or ‘Joined-Up’?’

IoT and Big Data: By Vianet Business Development Director, Craig McIntyre


Have you noticed that, these days, whenever there’s an issue at work or at home, the first reaction of many is to throw IT at it, what ever it is. Sometimes IT solves the problem; usually it doesn’t. As strategies go, it’s more knee-jerk than joined-up.

I came across a good quote the other day that sums this up nicely: ‘technology enhances features or capabilities, but a solution addresses business challenges on a systematic level.’

At Vianet, our approach is to provide solutions. You may see us an IT company – and that’s fair enough when you examine the array of technology we can introduce you to – but in fact, we are in the business of providing solutions.

IoT and Big Data

I see it this way: technology is just a piece in the corporate jigsaw. Albeit an important one, it’s by no means the whole picture… There’s a lot of talk these days about IoT and Big Data. You’ll probably be familiar with the term IoT. It refers to the connectivity of inanimate data gathering devices such as, say, vending machines or our own iDraught dispense platform.

Big Data is defined as the use of predictive analytics, user behaviour analytics, or certain other advanced data analytics methods that extract value from data.

Recent developments in these fields have focused on advances in technology, for example in hardware or in the introduction of increasingly sophisticated apps. There are businesses out there, in every conceivable discipline, that have enthusiastically embraced IoT and Big Data, thinking that they’ll change everything. The novelty soon wears off when they find that integrating The Next Big Thing into their existing digital topography proves to be more difficult than they’d bargained for…

At Vianet, our IoT solution is its own eco-system. By that, I mean that it embraces everything that matters in a business – and nothing that doesn’t matter – to solve a specific problem or issue.

The history of IoT and Big Data reads like a legacy of telematics, plus the collection of data from a variety of smart machines. In general, less attention was has been paid to date in ensuring that the data gathered by IoT is easily accessible or, indeed, useful. That’s the reason I’m making the case that IoT is typically a technology, rather than a solution.

So that there’s no doubt, let me make it clear right now: Vianet is not a ‘typical’ enterprise. Our IoT delivers a genuine, workaday solution, which not only provides the technology, but also an all-important user interface, which connects and delivers APIs, server; algorithms, supply chain and distribution channels. Think of these individual elements as vital organs in the same body, working collectively, as well as independently. In this way, they integrate seamlessly to address the most critical aspects on an IoT deployment.

IoT and Big DataYou can see evidence that our approach works in equipment that, otherwise, would be thought of as ‘mundane’: beer pumps, unattended retail equipment, industrial machinery and latterly, electric car charging stations. When you add a telemeter to machines like these, when they began to capture and transmit data; that’s when their operators have access to actionable data that’s specifically designed to help them make decisions that improve the service they offer customers.

At Vianet, we’ve always been committed to developing actionable insight solutions. Yes, we embrace technology to do so – IoT and Big Data included – but not for the sake of it; rather, for the efficacy if it.

More Vianet content on PV & OCS is HERE

Craig McIntrye was talking to Ian Reynolds-Young

About the author

The Editor

Planet Vending’s Editor is Ian Reynolds-Young and it’s Ian’s unique writing talent that has made PV what it is today – the best read (red) vending blog in the world, and vending’s best read (reed). Ian ‘tripped and fell into vending’, in the capacity of PR executive, before launching a specialist agency, ‘reynoldscopy’, dedicated to the UK Vending business. The company continues to represent the interests of many of the sector’s leading brands.

‘It’s all about telling stories’, he says. ‘We want to make every visit to PV a rewarding experience. By celebrating the achievements of the UK’s operating companies, we’re on a mission to debunk the idea that vending is retailing’s poor relation.’

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