Today at Sigfox Connect 2020, the largest IoT showroom, Konvoy Group, an Australian keg rental solution provider for the beverage industry, announced a world first with the deployment of their keg tracking and monitoring IoT solution across their 70,000-strong fleet of kegs in Australia and New Zealand. The solution was designed and manufactured for Konvoy by UnaBiz, the customized IoT solution provider.
The beacon technology allows Konvoy Group and its customers to reduce keg losses, while maximizing the use of its keg fleet. To roll out this world’s first large scale connected beer-keg solution, Konvoy is leveraging Thinxtra’s Sigfox 0G network.
Konvoy’s ambition was to make keg supply chain management easier, with one of the main challenges a lack of visibility of its fleet. Although scanning technology (RFID, barcodes and QR codes) was an important step in keg location, scans were often missed, resulting in lost kegs and incomplete tracking data.
To address the problem of lost kegs, protect their customers’ bottom line and differentiate themselves in the keg rental market, Konvoy partnered with Thinxtra, The IoT Telco and UnaBiz, to develop an innovative purpose-fit tracking and monitoring solution. The solution runs on Sigfox global 0G network which is owned and operated by Thinxtra in Australia and New Zealand.
“When we first met Thinxtra, we already had a precise idea of what we were looking for. The solution needed to be robust, low-cost and last a minimum of five years. More than anything, we wanted to offer real-time information and high-visibility to producers and keg rental companies on their keg fleet and enable them to not only reduce loss but also optimize keg use,” explains Adam Trippe-Smith, Founder & Managing Director at Konvoy Group.
Konvoy worked closely with UnaBiz to design and manufacture a full-fledged Sigfox-enabled tracking solution that makes operational and economic sense. “Konvoy’s go-to-market urgency was a challenge” said Philippe Chiu, CTO and Co-Founder of UnaBiz. “As a complete IoT business solution provider, on top of hardware development and mass production, we knew it was important to make the solution and data accessible to Konvoy as soon as possible. To value-add to hardware, the team also created a mobile application Konvoy and its partners now use throughout the chain for provisioning and pairing the beacon and kegs to accelerate the deployment of Kegfox. The ease of use and access to live location data is what will help Konvoy define its position in the keg rental market.”
Konvoy’s Kegfox beacon, a battery-powered passive tracking device, is programmed to send location data to Konvoy via Thinxtra’s Sigfox 0G network at regular intervals or upon specific events. Thanks to the low-power consumption of the 0G network, the beacon can last up to 7 years transmitting location and temperature information several times a day without the need for frequent maintenance. On top of tracking, an accelerometer was also built-in with algorithms to detect different types of movement throughout the keg’s lifecycle, such as when the kegs are moved or cleaned.
Konvoy Group knows its Kegfox beacon technology may offer significant benefits to other keg owners so as of 2021 the company’s new business division, Katch Asset Tracking, will offer solutions to other keg owners globally.
A keg is normally used around three to four times per year. This solution gives Konvoy Group’s rental business along with other kegs owners the opportunity to optimize existing assets and use kegs more times per year. Additionally, the Kegfox beacon enables Konvoy’s customers including well-known craft breweries Moon Dog, Fixation, Parrot Dog and Hawkers to monitor the temperature of kegs, ensuring their beverages meet quality guidelines.
“While we focused initially on tracking, this solution has given us the opportunity to also monitor the kegs’ temperature. Because most of the producers have unpasteurized beverages, leaving a keg at too high a temperature actually spoils the product. Being able to send an alert to our customer saying their keg has been transported at the right temperature is an important benefit for them.” adds Adam Trippe-Smith.
Today, Konvoy already has over 200 keg rental customers and has already fitted 20,000 devices on its own kegs and is expecting to equip 95% of its fleet in Australia and New Zealand by the end of the year.
“We are passionate about accelerating the adoption of mass IoT for asset tracking and monitoring, such as beer-kegs, in the supply chain to achieve greater efficiencies and value for customers. Our job is to make sure they are connecting anywhere in Australia and New Zealand. It is fantastic to see Konvoy scaling so fast and even expand globally. It is a great example of what can be achieved today in short timeframes. We see the wider industry adopting IoT solutions more and more as customers simply demand the visibility and efficiency outcomes that can be achieved.” says Anthony Stewart, GM Sales ANZ at Thinxtra.
“Once again, the global Sigfox0G network helps clients across the globe to meet the demand for both innovative and affordable connectivity solutions. It is the perfect match for the exciting field of keg tracking and monitoring. Konvoy demonstrates that by being now able to differentiate its offer and provide a unique technological solution revolutionizing keg supply chain management,” explains Ian Terblanche, Senior Vice President of Global Sales at Sigfox.