Why telemetry is a global hawk-eye

Service Sphere’s Maurizio Marcocci explains why telemetry is the future of espresso machine connectivity, and why data never lies.

For those workaholics among us, “switching off” when going on holidays can be tough. Do you ever find your mind wandering back to the workplace questioning: I wonder how many coffees we made today? Did we make more lattes or more espresso? Was the coffee machine functioning well? Did the staff remember to clean the coffee machine?

While I like to promote a healthy work-life balance, for those of us who can’t handle being disconnected, telemetry is the best invention since Skype to keep café owners and operators connected to the daily activities of their café remotely.
Thanks to the internet, access to information and live data feeds at the click of a button have changed how people communicate – and in the world of machine technology, it’s the future. Telemetry is a system which monitors an espresso machine’s functions and performance via an internet connection.

Yep, that invisible thing known as “the cloud” can connect all the machine’s functional and operational data and allow users to see what staff are doing back in Australia while you might be sipping cocktails on a business trip in Italy. Some might think of it as “checking up”, but I like to think of it as “peace of mind”.

La Cimbali uses telemetry in its M34 and M100 machines, as well as most of its bean-to-cup machines. Rheavendors and Eversys machines use an equivalent E-Connect system, and moving forward, I want Service Sphere to develop its own unique telemetry program.

The LaCimbali Plat One system  allows technicians to monitor an espresso machine’s progress simply with a registration number, user name, or by location. Data is generated by the machine on site, sent via Wi-Fi connection to a virtual server and is accessible to those who have authorised access via a PC, tablet, or smartphone. Data can be viewed in easy-to-read graphs, calendars, images and text to make sure information is easily understood. Users also have the ability to export data to csv or Excel files.  LaCimbali’s Plat One system transfers data from the machine to the server automatically, and updates are sent to the web platform every 60 minutes. The information is available in six languages: Italian, English, German, Spanish, French, and Chinese.

Service providers, roasters, or franchise groups can use telemetry to make machine users and staff more accountable. They can use it for fleet analysis, to see if there are any faults with the machine, what chemicals are being used, and whether it’s being cleaned properly – if at all.

Using telemetry, the system can even notify the service provider when the machine is ready for its routine check-up, based on the volume of coffees and water used. It can also indicate a potential problem before it becomes an issue, much like the idea of preventative maintenance.

Telemetry also prevents reactive calls from customers. Rather than deploying a technician on a Sunday to find out why there’s a certain fault with a machine, which can be costly and time-consuming for a business owner, a technician can use telemetry to log on to the machine’s software to view certain parameters. Examples include what the brew temperature of the last extraction was, and assess if there’s a mechanical issue or not. Even remotely, a technician can alter a brew recipe instantly if needed. If there’s ever a machine fault, however, a notification will be sent to the technician to alert the customer, most of the time before they are even aware of the problem.

Telemetry has many benefits for  roasters, café owners, and managers. They can analyse production volume, determine a café’s most popular drinks, assess the peak times of business, the amount of water running through the machine, output parameters such as boiler pressure and water temperature, and the machine’s history.

Managers can even use telemetry to fact check and count the daily till, and compare that figure with the machine’s data to see if there are any gaps, or how many freebies have been thrown in. If you’re a spreadsheet sort of person, then this system is on your wavelength. You can even save the data using Wi-Fi and compare it with previous or projected results.

So why care if your machine has telemetry or not? For those looking to make a new purchase, it’s a small investment for long-term gain.

This article features in the October 2017 edition of BeanScene Magazine.

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