The Perfect Beverage Dispenser
A patented beer dispensing system that can guarantee a “perfect pour” every time to improve merchant profitability and enhance the overall user experience.
Intellicup was started by two businessmen – one from the world of construction management and the other from the FMCG industry (beverages). IntelliCup is a perfect example of how the Internet of Things can disrupt existing industries - in this case, the application relates to a favourite beverage for many, namely beer.
The worldwide events market has significant constraints in dispensing beverages at the rates required. Most of the existing systems have inconsistent pouring speeds, irregular serving capability, limited data communication or no data tracking capability at all.
SKEG partnered with our client to realise a self-sufficient beer dispensing system that could guarantee a “perfect pour” every time and improve the overall user experience. This entailed a deep-dive into beer fluid mechanics, monitoring key system parameters and finally linking consumption to point-of-purchase.
The Problem Statement
The two businessmen observed how unnecessarily tedious and time consuming it was to stand in long queues for beer at events. They further noticed the wastage caused from over pouring and foaming due to incorrect pouring methods of the available equipment or simple human error. This experience was not beneficial to the consumer or the merchant.
Product Development Process
Upon an extensive assessment on the existing dispensing machine we identified various small changes to fix the dispensing function. We conducted numerous beer dispensing experiments and observations to address the technical aspects of the machine.
In our Discovery we mapped the system flow and researched the requirements for standards and certifications to adhere to across international markets.
The Decisive Competitive Edge
A self-sufficient beer dispensing system that could guarantee a “perfect serve” every time. Such systems would benefit both the consumer in the form of enhanced user experience and convenience, as well as the merchants through optimised throughput.
During our initial prototyping, we dialled in on the mechanics of how a beverage is poured (such as valve characteristics), temperature and pressure parameters and required control features. Functionally we focused on how to deliver beer into the established Intellicup without foaming.
Through multiple discussions and brainstorm sessions, the SKEG and Intellicup team had conceptualised a seemingly obvious market solution: why develop chilling equipment when it is already an established field with established reliable products?
We presented the idea of an “Intellihead” (pouring head): a counter-top unit which would utilise the same mechanisms but instead attach to a table surface and simply be connected to a keg. This removes the need for a full machine and enables more versatility and portability. Hence, the Intellihead unit was born.
Our Alpha phase integrated additional firmware and software collaboration. This related to setting up the back-end transactions, web portal and mobile development.
We completed 5 Alpha Prototypes (Intellihead units) for in-house testing. We made use of our environmental chamber for lifetime and temperature testing to simulate durability conditions. The units were then deployed at a local outdoor event for real world feedback.
Various mechanical and digital updates were made based on the feedback from Alpha tests and trials. Once the refinements were completed the applications for certification such as FCC (USA) and ETSI (Europe) were finalised.
With our certifications approved, we commenced with a batch of 40 units for short-run production. The units were dispersed between the USA and the UK to various established IntelliCup partners.
The IntelliCup project is described as a quintessential SKEG project because we could leverage our full toolbox of service offerings and apply our strong inter-disciplinary approach.
The Intellicup team embarked to have an initial beer dispensing machine produced based on their vision. The outcome was bulky with very little ergonomic design considerations. Additionally, the unit cost was too high which led them to SKEG.
Leveraging prior experience, we understood the principles behind pouring select beverage types. Equipped with such intimate understanding of the physics, mechanics and general IoT expertise, Skeg saw enormous potential for this project and was excited to help the team reach their vision.
IntelliCUP is now a patented IoT-based, high speed, cashless, hygienic “perfect serve” system. The system includes a portable Intellihead unit, backend portal and a consumer app.
The founders are currently looking for a round of investment funding to allow scaled production of the IntelliCUP units.