Challenges Without visibility into the health of their equipment, beverage companies do not know how or when their dispensers break, or if they are operating at peak performance.

Celli Group—a global company based in Italy that manufactures and services equipment for distributing soft drinks, water, and beer—saw the Internet of Things (IoT) as an opportunity to transform their business model while giving their enterprise beverage customers more visibility and control over their assets. Their mission: ensure that beverage companies offer the most impressive brand experiences and that end consumers enjoy the highest quality drinks. Leveraging IoT technology, Celli Group set out to develop smart fountains, pumps, and taps for pouring beer and soft drinks, then lease them to beverage companies instead of selling them. With these connected products, Celli Group could collect data on the equipment and beverages at the point of sale. This data would then fuel Celli Group’s value-added service offerings and unlock powerful insights for their customers to optimize inventory management, improve quality control, and more.

Disrupting the Beverage Industry

Every time you walk up to the bar and order a draught beer or a soft drink on tap, your first sip of the crisp, refreshing beverage is the last step in a lengthy supply chain journey. In keeping with local markets, large beverage companies buy drink dispensers, like taps and coolers, from manufacturers to provide them to bars, breweries, and restaurants around the world. Yet for many beverage companies, that “last mile” of the supply chain journey at the point of sale remains a mystery. Critical information—like what factors impact beverage quality and which drinks are in demand—is lost. And without visibility into the health of their equipment, beverage companies don’t know how or when their dispensers break or if they’re not operating at peak performance. As a result, many beverage companies struggle to control the quality of their drinks, ensure equipment uptime, and manage inventory efficiently.

Creating an Innovative and Powerful IoT solution

From the beginning, Celli Group knew they needed industry-leading IoT partners to make their vision a reality. Because their primary customers are large, multi-national beverage companies, their solution needed maximum scalability for a global reach. They knew that best-in-class data security and privacy would be critical, both for their customers and themselves. An open and flexible solution was also key, as it had to easily integrate with their customers’ existing infrastructure. The solution needed to be easy to use so customers could quickly leverage insights and focus on driving business results. And Celli Group wanted it to be ready-to-configure, so they could speed time to market without extensive coding experience.

Microsoft and PTC quickly emerged as the ideal IoT partners. Leveraging Microsoft Azure IoT and PTC ThingWorx, Celli Group created IntelliDraught, a connected beverage distribution system that turns manufactured or already-installed equipment into smart devices that unlock insights where beverages are dispensed—improving quality, sales, service, and inventory management for their beverage customers. Together, Azure and ThingWorx enabled Celli Group to reduce their time to market and leverage the machine learning, artificial intelligence, and advanced analytics they needed to create smart products.

PTC’s domain expertise and ready-to-configure solutions powered the rapid development and customization that Celli Group needed. “We knew PTC could help us turn our vision into a reality with their powerful solutions. And the support we received from them was so critical,” says Cavalsassi. Azure IoT provided the global scalability and extensive interoperability capabilities required for their enterprise customers around the world. On the trusted, reliable cloud platform, Celli Group knew they’d always have access to state of the art, end-to-end security capabilities. And Azure’s seamless integration with products like PowerBI made it easy for them to analyze and visualize insights for their customers.

Enhancing Customer Visibility and Control at the Point of Sale

When a beverage company provides drink dispensing equipment to a bar, they typically have no insight into how the product is stored or what condition the drink is in when it’s handed to a consumer. By adding sensors to their fonts, taps, coolers, and other equipment, Celli Group provides beverage companies with meaningful data on their product like temperature and pressure, up until the moment the drink is poured. It’s possible for beverage distributors to check the condition of their product or the maintenance schedule at any moment and dispatch teams to intervene if an issue occurs. Using IntelliDraught to monitor factors like sanitation, product shelf life, and draught temperature, Celli Group’s customers improved draught quality by 27%. With IntelliDraught, Celli Group’s customers reduce losses and maintain a positive brand image with consumers by ensuring bars and restaurants only store, handle, and serve their beverages in accordance with the highest quality standards.

Improving Uptime of Distribution Equipment

IntelliDraught offers powerful visibility and control beyond just beverage quality. The IoT solution also helps beverage companies tackle one of their most costly challenges—ensuring that dispensing equipment is up and running so that drinks and revenue can continue to flow. With predictive and preventive maintenance capabilities, IntelliDraught monitors the operating conditions of their equipment and automatically alerts service teams to potential problems. Celli Service Division has live access to data, allowing them to remotely inspect and program sanitation checks, control refrigeration, monitor power consumption levels, and more. These predictive and preventative maintenance solutions enabled Celli Group’s customers to reduce service costs by 10%—a significant number on a global scale. By reducing equipment downtime, Celli Group’s customers increase the amount of product they dispense and generate more profit.

Increasing Customer Sales and Sell Through of Existing Inventory

Reduced equipment downtime and higher beverage quality lead to better sales, but IntelliDraught doesn’t stop there. Beverage companies can also access powerful marketing data analytics, including information about consumption habits by time, geography, point of sale, and brands. These analytics help optimize forecasting and production planning to drive critical decision-making processes and prevent out of stock conditions. Prior to utilizing Celli Group’s connected system, beverage companies might not know if a brand has been out of stock in a bar for days, causing profit loss. With visibility into which products are sold when and promotional performance, Celli Group’s solution empowers brands to optimize the timing of marketing campaigns and improve their marketing efforts. Digital interactions at the point of sale, such as targeted promotions, drive end consumer engagement. In fact, customers experienced 14% more sell through of their product portfolio with increased engagement and a better understanding of purchases and churn. Ultimately, beverage companies can drive fact-based analysis of product performance to capitalize on fast sellers, compare product performance, and optimize product mix for each region or point of sale.

Empowering Celli Group to Transform Their Own Business and Win New Customers

Celli Group radically differentiated their product and service offerings with smart connected equipment, improving their global market position and fundamentally transforming their business model. With the IoT data they collected on their equipment, they were able to enhance their product design and production process, leading to a 13% reduction in equipment failures. These enhanced service offerings have led to more market share with global accounts. Their partnership with Microsoft and PTC only expands their ability to land new customers. “When our business side is engaging with customers, their IT teams feel peace of mind when they see we’re working with Microsoft and PTC,” says Cavalsassi. Celli Group acquired five major accounts and increased their recurrent annual revenues for digital solutions by 10% through 2022.

“In our industry, we’re perceived as the ones driving innovation. This means new, digital equipment and our IoT platform. We’ve won significant projects because of IntelliDraught. We’ve increased our market share with global accounts. We’re still at the beginning, and there’s so much potential,” says Cavalsassi.

Backed by Microsoft and PTC, Celli Group Continues to Innovate

Celli Group has already begun designing their next industry-disrupting solution with Azure IoT and ThingWorx: Acqua Alma Point—a water vending machine that enables personalized and sustainable drinking experiences. At Acqua Alma Point refill stations around the world, consumers can craft recipes with personalized flavors, minerals, and carbonation profiles without wasting plastic bottles. Harnessing the power of IoT and cloud-based implementation, the system recognizes users and remembers their personal preferences no matter which station they’re using. Backed by Microsoft and PTC, Celli Group is moving confidently into the future knowing they can quickly bring new solutions and features to market. They’ve achieved peace of mind knowing their solution will remain stable, secure, and future proof. Going forward, they can rely on an unparalleled pace of innovation that will fuel the modernization of their operations and keep them ahead of the competition.