As a result of COVID-19, businesses of all stripes have had to adapt to new, challenging operational guidelines to make customers — and employees — feel confident about their own health and safety. During this LinkedIn Live session, Insight teammates are joined by co-owners from Ignite Brewing Company to share the process and results from installing Insight’s Connected Platform at the brewery. The team explains what the Connected Platform is, how it works at the brewery and share other business use cases for the Internet of Things (IoT) solutions to support health and safety.
Published December 18, 2020
Hey guys, my name is Ilya, we're excited to be here today for a LinkedIn Live session with a couple of our friends and fellow coworkers. Just extremely excited to be here. It's December, it's late into the year, it's getting to the holiday season and we thought, you know, we've had some contraction with one of our friends and partners at the Ignite Brewing Company with some technology we've put in place over the summer. So, we thought that, you know, we're here in December, let's check back in, see how things are going. Some lessons learned that we can share with other people that own small businesses throughout the country and it happens to be Thursday. So, you know, in the spirit of thirsty Thursdays and a brewing company, you know, how else could we have some fun and learn about technology together?
So, my name, just to kick it off, is Ilya Eliashevsky. I work on the Digital Innovation team here at Insight. I actually have a really cool job where I get to play with a lot of fancy technology and emerging technologies from our partners. We work a lot in partnership with Microsoft who has also been helping with some of these deployments and some of the technology that we're using, and then, you know, we get to tinker with some things.
So COVID has really thrown a curve ball into 2020 plans. You know, we were focused on IOT technologies for smart restaurants and how to increase sales and drive customer traffic and then March hit and we kind of took a hard pivot and said, okay, what's going on in the world and what kind of technologies can we pull together to help just make customers feel safe and utilize technology to drive data decisions and see what's going on?
So, I'm joined here today with four friends, I call them friends, but we've got partners, we've got teammates, we've got clients, but we have Megan and Michael from the Ignite Brewing Company and we have Paul and Jake from the Insight team. Guys, you want to just say hi, we'll do kind of a more formal introduction in the sections, but I'll just set the stage and then we'll can kind of go through what you guys do on your daily basis.
So, I think we'll start off with more of a spoiler, but just to set the stage of what we're doing in this LinkedIn Live session, what we'll be covering is we've put in thermal cameras over the summer in the Ignite Brewing Company, which enabled them to kind of screen their customers and their employees to detect for, you know, symptoms of COVID. And then that helped ideally prevent the spread of the disease. But you know, no one really knows what we're getting into or how all this technology is going to come together. It's kind of new territory for everyone. So, it's been a learning lesson, some tweaking together, but at least we're trying to kind of make a safer place, you know, that drives customers back through the doors or outside, they've got cool, fun areas. I'm thinking we'll probably just kick off with an overview to kind of show what we've done and then the goal of this LinkedIn Live session is to actually dive a little bit deeper into the data insights now that it's been set up over the summer, compare those trends to what's going on in the last couple of weeks, you know, how are things going? What have we learned? And just look at the data and take a deeper look than what you can kind of see in a two-minute video. In addition, we'll work in, we'll kind of have a discussion with Jake and Paul who actually are the people that coordinate with the partners, how do we get hardware? How do we ship it to the right locations? How do we run cabling and install it and then configure cameras and get that data pumped into our Insight-connected platform. So, we'll do a little bit of an open panel discussion of some of the stuff that they do day in and day out for clients kind of in the U.S. but really globally in many cases. And then we'll look at kind of what's on the horizon.
You know, it's December, ideal world is we have vaccines soon and you know, no one really thought that this situation would be lasting as long as it does, but you know, what are we looking for as we move into 2021? The new technologies that hopefully won't necessarily just be COVID-related, but it'll also be like, how can we drive better business results and outcomes? So, we'll set the stage, we'll come back in, we'll introduce everybody, and it is thirsty Thursday. So, we'll also maybe crack open a beer so we can have this as a casual conversation. So, let's quickly pull up the video of what we did over the summer to kind of help everyone understand what's going on.
<v Michael>The art of craft beer is a very intellectually curious topic, having a beer with community is what craft beer is all about. <v Megan>We're trying to always look for new ways to bring technology in, to help us get better. And it's exciting to have Insight as a partner to help us with that because they've got the great technology that they're bringing to the table that we can implement. <v Nick>So Insight is a global systems integrator. We really focus on complex enterprise solutions. The Insight IOT-connected platform provides one holistic view into that IOT ecosystem to really control, monitor and manage and make decisions upon your IOT ecosystem. <v Michael>Prior to COVID, we were in discussions and we were utilizing some of the tools and technology with Insight, from the temperature monitoring of our beverage coolers and different critical components that we needed to have eyes and ears on. <v Nick>With the COVID pandemic, it really kind of shifted and they understood quickly that they could introduce what we call detect and prevent type use cases. So really putting things like thermal cameras on for temperature reading that really are going to help detect certain COVID-related instances and also prevent to a certain extent, a further spread of the disease. <v Megan>The approach we took was if I'm not comfortable going there, if I wouldn't take my family here, then why would I expect a customer to come here? So what Insight kind of brought for us was a way to take monitoring that we were already doing and really brought another level of it that let us monitor the health and safety of our customers and our staff as well. <v Nick>We were able to quickly pivot using an IOT platform for temperature control that was originally for food safety items, is now temperature control relating to humans. <v Michael>We didn't have to have an on-site visit. We were able to measure certain things, help them build out the specs they needed, all via teams. I want this tool to work for our towns, our local schools, our local businesses. <v Nick>I think organizations are really trying to figure out how they can provide a safe environment, not only for their workers, but also for clientele. <v Michael>We are trusted on a daily basis to deliver a safe environment and having the tools with Insight, with Microsoft, to deliver greater safety is paramount. (inspiring music ends)
All right and we're back. So hopefully that's kind of the background for some of the cooler stuff that we've done. And now we can dive a little bit more, deeper into who's on the call, what you guys are up to and I think we'll just go in batting order here.
So, Megan, if you want to introduce yourself and let the audience know who you are and what you do day in and day out.
Sure, my name is Megan Slater. I'm one of the partners with Ignite Brewing Company and on a day-to-day basis, I help operations run. I've got facilities, I've got the beer production, any of the kind of background things that really keep the building and the business functioning kind of fall to me to help coordinate and get the right team in the right place as we need them.
Cool and I think for this segment, since we you know, lots of people doing lots of webinars, but we also wanted to crack open beers and explain what everyone's drinking today. So, ladies first, you know, you're the brew master and you kind of know a lot more about beer, but why don't you tell everyone what you're going to drink? And then we can kind of go around the horn.
Sure, so today I'm having our brand new release, it's coming on today. It's called The Blessing, it's a little nod to Aunt Bethany and the Christmas season, it's a cranberry pomegranate gose, which is super refreshing and having gotten to sample a little bit last night, it might become my new favorite.
It sounds delicious, now I'm jealous and my taste buds are watering, so. Michael, you want to kind of explain what you do and same deal and I think you guys are in the brewery, you know, so what we saw on the video, you know, this is your baby and this is your spot, so.
Yeah, so on a day job, day in and day out basis with the brewery, strategic planning, sales and the taproom experience are kind of the main items I lead on a day-to-day out basis. So we do have other jobs of course, as well as a lot of involvement in the community. But as it relates to Ignite, that's where I spend a lot of my time. As for beverage of choice, it is Ignite's Blonde Barista. It's our Guatemalan whole bean coffee-infused into a nice blonde ale. So, it's a perfect complement to the afternoon, post-lunch drag, if you will. So, a little bit of coffee, a little bit of caffeine, it'll be a delicious way to navigate the conversation. So, cheers guys.
Awesome, that's perfect. And just disclaimer, you know, we are all on the East coast, so it is after lunchtime, so it's totally acceptable to be drinking at work and during work hours. Okay, Jake, you want to introduce yourself? You're on mute there, Jake.
It would help if I unmuted. I'm Jake Krantz, I'm the client engagement manager with Insight working with Ignite. My job pretty much is 50 percent project management, 50 percent matchmaker and a 100 percent problem solver. So, it has been really fun working with Ignite kind of, you know, blasting through and roadblocks we had and setting this up, working with partners on the back-end to get their equipment. Yeah, and just making sure that this was a successful project and for the beer I'm drinking, unfortunately we didn't get Ignite here in Atlanta. So, I'm sticking a little bit closer to home. I got Creature Comforts TropicÃ¡lia, which is a nice fruity IPA. Actually, one of my favorite go-to beers. It's something I drink almost, almost daily.
It's a good choice.
And to you, Paul.
Yes, Paul Neiswinger, I've got responsibility for our national deployment managed services and everything else with Insight. So, when you think about solutions buying products and services together, we kind of join those in a solution motion. We've got just for a reference point, we've done 40,000 deployments annually. So we've got a lot of activity and I don't get to drink a beer because we have that much activity. I've got hundreds of employees and I don't get the luxury to drink in the afternoon.
Okay, that's fair. You know, it's actually probably responsible, but I did get full, you know, approval and by full approval, I asked myself and I said, "I think this is a good idea and we should definitely do it." So, for me, I'm in Connecticut. So, I went with a Double New England IPA. I'll hold it up to the camera. It's not Ignite, but actually it's a half, it's from a another, Half Full Brewery, but it's got Ignite as the actual you know, branding for this beer. So, I thought it was very fitting and even more so, there's a little campfire on there and from what I understand the Ignite team's put you know, some fireplaces seem like the perfect choice to kind of start our afternoon together. So we'll do a quick cheers and you know, head nods to Paul, you know, thanks for joining guys. Hopefully we can make this a little bit more fun in an open discussion without, you know, kind of just going through a ton of PowerPoint slides and reading texts, so cheers guys.
And I did debate pouring it into a glass, but then I figured people could see if it's going to, you know, how quickly it might be going down. So, we'll try to go along. All right, so two other disclaimers before we kind of get into the discussion. So, one, as we all know, you know, I'm working remotely, you guys are still trying to manage your business day in and day out and kind of keep customers, everything's changing on a daily basis. So, what can we do about that? My disclaimer is I've got, you know, it just came in the mail, I've got my Christmas cards that are ordered and are going to be shipping out soon, but on them I've got four kids. These four kids are going to arrive home off the bus, right in the middle of this discussion. So, I have no promises for the loudness we tried, hopefully they're going to be kind of tame, but they're four elementary school kids that could be a little rowdy. So we'll kind of take this conversation, we'll see how it goes.
Welcome to 2020.
Welcome to 2020 and I completely feel the urge to go to breweries, you know, if they're kind of safely and everything's in order, especially here in Connecticut, we have some small shops in our area as well. So support your local businesses this holiday season, I think is a very key message. You know, everybody's trying their best to keep everyone safe, there's a lot of hard work going in. So, I think everyone can appreciate that. So, you know, Megan and Michael, we thank you for having you guys here and we really hope you, you know, kind of this holiday season works out as good as it can.
So, if we move on with the agenda, we'll you know, the focus of this is really like, how do we keep the employees and customers safe? So, we'll just chat over having a couple of sips of a drink and explain what we put in exactly and how that works and some of the data and the results that we're kind of seeing. So just to set the stage, I know the video kind of did a great job of showing people and seeing the installation, but Michael or Megan, you want to kind of maybe just set, you know, let the audience know how you guys are set up, some of the things you've been doing over the last few months at your facilities.
Yeah, Megan I'll start off and please jump in.
We took, we identified this location a couple of years ago. It was an old BF Goodrich Tire garage, completely dead for effectively a decade plus. And our main drag in our downtown. And part of our mission was how do we work with the community, drive community and economic impact and make sure that we're a draw to outside the areas. So this location, 5,000 square foot tire shop with 25-foot-high ceilings and all that fun stuff, pre-installed garage bays, which was tremendous. And it's the only building in downtown that came along with a parking lot, so we've been able to convert that. You see the nice fronted gated area, if you will, that location was built out last year. That was the only spot that you could consume alcohol outside for our permit. One of the many shifts we made this year was to quickly take that back half of the parking lot and get that fenced in, there's cabling and things that's hard to see in this picture, but ultimately we were able to double the size of the patio, so we've got 5,000 square feet inside, 6,000 outside. It's great, great outdoor, easy space to spend time and hang out.
Megan, anything else to add there?
Yeah well, the one thing with the patio is that it was a constantly evolving space that we would kind of get feedback and see what was the right answer. What do we need to do next? And we got many, many comments from folks because we kept our tables well-spaced. We had six feet in between all of our tables. You can see it in the picture. Last summer, we would have had all the tables you see on just the nice concrete side and to try and make sure everyone felt good coming here, even though it was outside, we took all those tables and we kind of blew them apart and spaced them out to the six-foot minimum so that people could sit and then have that space. One of the upsides, which we hadn't anticipated and was a comment made more than once, is that people enjoyed the distance because they didn't have to listen to others' conversations, which maybe it was the one positive to come out of social distancing or physical spacing is you could go somewhere and not have to listen to that table next door that was really annoying and talking about something kind of strange.
Right, right. Yeah, totally. And I think that's like kind of a lesson that we're all learning together that, you know, it's forcing us to look into new technologies, look into new ways that we run our business. And then there are some positive, you know, side effects of this, you know, if you kind of look at the silver linings.
Yeah, exactly. I mean, we're all in this together. I know we have a partnership as well with Intel and they sent out these shirts, but like, you know, that is one of the themes that, you know, we're all kind of figuring this out together and then sharing our kind of lessons learned so that hopefully the audience here today maybe takes a tidbit or said, "Well, that's a good idea. I'd like to learn more." So that's really kind of the theme here. It's not anything specific like, "Hey, buy this now", it's more, "Hey, this is what's going on. These are just some that we tried, these are the things we've learned" and we've done that quite a bit over the last few months with a lot of our clients because everybody's setting up their own task force and trying to figure out what do we do and what's working and what's not working.
Okay, perfect. So just moving along, what I'll explain, and I'll just take a couple of moments, is so Mike and Megan, they bring the beer, they bring the location, they kind of bring the customer. What Insight's bringing is we have our connected platform, which is an IOT-based platform that's really designed to scale and handle multiple locations in different industries and different use cases and we bring together different, you know, partner products that can kind of integrate into it, but at the core, and to keep it the simplest, it's always just about like, how do we manage the people, the places, the things, the dings, the insights, you know, like every IOT project that I've worked on and no matter what kind of industry or client, that's kind of the core that we have to kind of figure out who's using this system and who's at these places and what type of connected devices are we installing and then we have a connected platform that kind of handles a lot of that, like the roles and permissions for people, like who's getting access to the data coming off of these devices or who's managing this type of solution. So, the great benefit of our connected platform is it actually can aggregate different partner solutions into one mobile optimized, it'll also work on desktops and laptops or even tablets, but you know, give data at the fingertips.
So, kind of looking at the Ignite use case to make it kind of rooted in something. On the left side is our people management and when we're dealing with COVID, you know, we had started off when, you know, food safety and you have temperature sensors that you're installing into restaurants and, you know, just a monitor like are fridges and freezers operating appropriately so that the food and the quality is maintained. And then you get into like, well, thermal cameras for screening people and that's maybe more of a security or even an HR use case, which is new territory. And a lot of the comments we've had, but we can separate, you know, a temperature sensor that's in a beer cooler from a thermal camera and then give the right people the right access and even send the data to the right people at the right time. For the middle panel, that's places like Ignite Brewing Company is located in Barberton, Ohio. You know, it's one location, but if you're managing multiple locations, like how do you do that? If you're a large chain and as Paul mentioned, were quite busy, so it, you know, the solution can scale up from, you know, your small mom and pop shop to, you know, people like McDonald's, right, that they've got 25,000 restaurants and how do they manage it? You've got regional directors, so the framework set here that we can give access to the people that are on-site, you know, the data they need for their site. If you're managing a region of locations, you can get data from them and you can kind of drill down or you know, zoom back out to kind of get the right level of insights across the board. And I'll even give an example of what we're doing with our own Insight offices and some of the thermal cameras and kiosks that we've set up as we return to work ourselves.
The middle screen is just kind of an aggregated view of how you'll see what devices we actually deployed. So Jake orders them up, Ignite's like, "Hey, these are the things we're interested in." Paul goes and installs them, you know, but the Connected Platform can actually aggregate all those together. So as a smart brewing company that's implementing different technology, you can see what different technology did we put in place and which kind of, what data is being generated for it. And then really, we don't want anyone to use our app. We kind of want it just to work, set it and forget it. It seems kind of like a weird thing to say, but it's really, the usage is going to be driven by in the event that something happened and a certain threshold is hit or you know, send out on alert that says, notify me when this happens. And that could be my freezer is running too cold or too hot or too warm or whatever or it could be in this case, a thermal camera and it picks up like, you know, a temperature that might need a second look to see what's going on.
And then the last is we just aggregate Insights. We really want to drive business outcomes. So, it's less about just putting in technology for technology sake, but we're making it easy and at your fingertips to kind of get a gauge of what's going on today, how did that compare to yesterday, what kind of data insights.
So, you kind of see trending over time, are we moving in the right direction as we put in different technology and solutions and even just people flow management and that helps us run a smarter business.
So, moving on, that's our Connected Platform. That's what our Digital Innovation team, but if we look at kind of just some of the results that we had seen over the summer, just to kind of show the data that once you get these things deployed and then we'll talk about how we deploy them, kind of what's going on. So, you know, Michael and Megan feel free to jump in, but you know, I thought it was interesting, you know, when we put these cameras in and August, kind of this August to September range after we did some fine tuning and tweaking, just to kind of say like, well, what's happening? You want to kind of walk through just the stats here and you know, give a quick overview?
Sure, so these numbers are from the August, September timeframe and because we had the patio, there were definitely a lot more customers that we had. So, the scan numbers were significantly higher than we're seeing now, unfortunately, with the continued COVID responses and the shutdowns, the scans have definitely dropped off. The interesting things that we saw and one of the things that kind of caught my attention was even the elevated temps detected, a lot of the time you're getting the same person or the same object multiples because they walk through the camera a couple of different times or it picks them up in two different places when they first enter the view of the camera and then they come up to the bar itself. So even the number 20 while it looks like, "Oh my gosh, 20 people", it's not actually 20 people. It is a far smaller number even than that, because there are multiples of the same person because the camera worked so quickly and is just grabbing the information as it goes by without discerning is it the same person or not.
So that was one of the interesting things that we've kind of learned. The other thing that has been different now compared to the summer is with our garage door not open anymore, we're not picking up a lot of the heat from the patio. Turns out the sun is really, really warm and the concrete and the tables and the chairs and the people wearing hats, grab a lot of that heat, sunglasses. We were really also kind of surprised and it was a learning experience that baseball hats grab a lot of heat. They actually flare up as being a very high temperature because that fabric holds that heat in which was surprising. So, it's been a great learning experience and it's running really smoothly now, especially because the garage door is closed and we're not getting that sun effect that we were originally seeing. Michael, you got anything else to maybe throw at that?
No, I think that's great. Great summary.
Yeah and Jake, maybe just to broaden the view, like I know you've been working with some grocery chains and different corporate headquarters and doing a lot of these deployments along with Paul, like any other tidbits that we've learned kind of along the way. And we can kind of dive into the actual camera models and some of that stuff a little bit later, but from other deployments, are there common themes there?
Yeah, the biggest common theme is environmental, the environmental surroundings that the camera can see. We can tailor the solution and have these awesome things, but each environment at each client site is going to be so vastly different, we got to be able to you know, get in, realize what's wrong with it. As Megan was just calling out, the garage door actually had a metal grate at the bottom, like a drainage grate and that kept on pinging and we were sitting here going like, "Why are we getting these high temperatures?" And so we were working on all of these configuration items and finally we saw it in the camera that little grate that the camera kept on capturing. So, these environmental, I guess, variables we see is different in every single, every single client and identifying, adapting and overcoming those is something that we've become really, really good at. It's actually for these advanced thermal cameras, once you understand the configuration model behind it, it's super easy to make a clear and concise, we'll call it scanning zone or frame zone that you can capture these things without, you know, interfering with some of these environmental variables that we see. So that's pretty much the biggest challenge we have, you know, in setting it up and then deploying all these things is that each zone, each area we set up in, is so vastly different and it's just going to be a constant challenge every time to identify those things and fix them before you know, we get out there and turn it into production.
Perfect. Okay, so I think it just kind of helps, but like the net net is you have a lot of customers. It's a busy season over the summer, which is, you know, kind of good, you know, and then people are social distancing and wearing their masks. I think these were early on before the mask mandate was in place and things of that sort, but we've adapted it and we've learned, we've learned the same thing. Like it, these cameras work best because they do, it's not doing facial recognition and say like, who is this person, what are they doing? It's more capturing, this is a person, this is their face and then it looks for the highest point of temperature on their face to kind of get an accurate reading.
Okay, I think, you know, this is just like a call-out when you look at the data, it's pretty exciting for us to put something in place. You know, we've done it for small offices. You have like 20 or 50 people coming in and then you kind of get some just trends. But you know, for Ignite, when we initially put these in over the summer, there'd be like peak days where again, it's not 10,000 unique individuals, but it was scanning 10,000 times, right. And that's something that as a human going, like, you know, person to person with a thermometer in their face would be really obtrusive, no one's going to want to come to a place like that. So, the whole point of the technology we put in place was try to make it a little bit more discreet, but still trying to get some data to see what's going on so you can make better decisions for how to run your business and kind of adjust accordingly. But we did see some high peaks of 10,000 scans a day, which I thought was just kind of a nice data, you know, it can do this at scale, and this is just one location. So, if you kind of relate that to a larger, you know, global chain, like you're talking about hundreds of thousands of scans a day, which is like the connected platform can kind of ingest all that data and make sense out of it.