What you need to know about IoT in the hospitality industry

Feb 20 2024 | Cold Chain, General

While the technology revolution for hospitality has moved at a slower pace than other industries, the Internet of Things (IoT) is now shaking it up, and at a rapid pace. Essentially a network of internet-connected devices that can collect and share data, IoT in the hospitality industry is the key to unlocking operational efficiencies.

“IoT in hospitality is gathering momentum to better support customer service, quality products and awesome experiences,” says Odilon Faria, Customer Success Manager at Inauro.

With wide-reaching applications and benefits, discover how IoT is changing the face of hospitality and food business operations.

 

Understanding IoT in the food industry

Through connected infrastructure, IoT enables real-time monitoring and control of critical parameters. Not only does this lead to time and money-saving efficiencies, but it also helps to ensure compliance with regulations. It even enhances the customer experience. 

There are numerous applications and benefits of IoT in the food industry. Let’s take a look: 

 

Temperature monitoring and humidity control

While the hospitality industry was quick to adopt temperature management solutions, they require costly manual monitoring.

“Moving to IoT-based monitoring provides better granularity and control,” explains Odilon. “The ability to constantly monitor, alert and report on a breach provides kitchen managers and food safety auditors the complete picture. They know what happened and can solve it in real-time, so they can be assured of losing less and of complying with regulation.”

IoT sensors can continuously track temperatures and trigger alerts if those temperatures cross threshold limits. Humidity sensors operate in the same way to track moisture levels.

In the United States, there are now mandates for establishing and implementing adequate temperature controls and regulation monitoring. Odilon says that this impacts all actors along the supply chain.

“Adopting solutions now is about improving operational readiness to satisfy compliance requirements,” he adds.

 

Real-time alerts and automated record-keeping

IoT-connected smart appliances have built-in sensors that measure usage statistics and performance metrics. Data – such as energy consumption, equipment runtimes and failure alerts – is logged automatically, removing the need for manual monitoring.

This level of tracking also allows for real-time alerts to identify faults and issues as they occur. 

 

Supply chain monitoring

IoT can be implemented across the entire span of the supply chain. Sensors can be aligned across the supply chain to provide real-time visibility into measures like inventory levels and transport conditions to prevent stock-outs and wastage. Location tracking of shipments also enables route optimisation, while sensors improve warehouse management with expiry alerts for perishable goods.

 

Predictive maintenance

Analysis of performance data from equipment sensors can identify patterns of wear and tear. This helps to minimise downtime during peak periods through predictive maintenance, also maximising the lifetime value of the investment.

A stylish empty cafe with tables arranged to welcome customers

Operational efficiency far outweighs the sometimes complex implementation of IOT in the food industry.

 

Implementing digital technology in the hospitality industry

IoT innovation brings with it immense opportunities. But implementing digital technology in the hospitality industry isn’t as simple as installing monitoring sensors.

It can, at times, be a complex web to untangle with legacy systems to integrate and capital expenditure needed to create the infrastructure. However, the long-term return on investment usually offsets the initial spend, with operational efficiency driving savings over time.

Then there are other factors to consider, such as ensuring different protocols sync seamlessly. Managing data security and cyber risks are also considerations, as is the more basic premise of creating a solution that’s fit for purpose.

“Temperature monitoring is a relatively simple use case,” explains Odilon. “But it doesn’t automatically provide the compliance required to meet food safety standards. Proof of monitoring is required, as is a register of issues and their resolutions.

“At the end of the day, you need a good grasp on connectivity, data management and operational processes. It’s key to do your research not only in understanding the solution but also how it feeds your upstream process.”

This is where experts like Inauro can help. Backed by our Perspio™ platform, the Inauro team takes a holistic approach to look across your entire operations. We then build out workflow automation where it will have the biggest impact on your operations. The result is seamless IoT integration that drives operational

New business owners of a chain of cafes receive real-time alerts on their tablet

Zone attendance, on-demand cleaning, people counting, monitoring of air quality and noise compliance are all made possible by IoT in the hospitality industry

 

The future of technology in the hospitality industry

So, where to in the years to come? How will the industry grow and develop? 

“Temperature and humidity monitoring is probably the baseline of hospitality technology adoption,” says Odilon. “Beyond that, it’s really interesting to see the other use cases, such as zone attendance, on-demand cleaning, people counting, queue management, air quality and noise compliance. You can go even further to monitor data around weather and atmospheric pressure to investigate how this impacts on people’s ordering habits at the till.”

As IoT grows deeper roots in the hospitality industry, it’s likely that we’ll see automation play a greater role, even in front-of-house operations. This will need to balance with human interactions with customers.

In creating frictionless experiences for customers, we’ll see IoT play a greater role in engineering seamless, touch-free journeys. Hyper-personalisation thanks to artificial intelligence and machine learning will support this. 

As wide as the applications are, the goal of IoT implementation is clear – driving operational efficiency at every turn.

Two men in a food factory shake hands

The goal of implementing IoT in the food industry drives operational efficiency at every turn.

 

Holistic and focused

Looking to digitise and streamline compliance with advanced telemetry solutions for your hospitality business? Reach out to the Inauro team.

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