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Smart Ice Cube Orders Drinks When Glasses Are Empty

Martini's Smart Cube technology consists of a plastic ice cube containing a Bluetooth beacon and a sensor that determines when a drink is finished and transmits that information to bartenders.
By Claire Swedberg

AMV BBDO opted to incorporate two batteries into the cube rather than just one, in order to ensure that the beacon would receive sufficient power, and designed the cube in such a way that it would raise the antenna above the level of the drink. This was accomplished by designing the shape of the cube, and by using the aerogel to keep the cube buoyant, and the antenna on the top of the cube. Rowley declines to identify the beacon's manufacturer, or to describe other specific details enabling the cube to transmit well in a busy bar environment. To eliminate the possibility of a drink becoming contaminated, the Smart Cube's casing is injection-molded using food-safe materials. The contents are then sealed using a food-safe glue.

Martini has numerous bar customers that are interested in deploying the technology, Mignoni reports. But the next step will be to conduct another pilot within its own bar at the F1 Brazilian Grand Prix, being held next month in São Paulo.

AMV BBDO's James Rowley
The pilot deployments in Rome and Monza, involving hundreds of Smart Cubes, went well, Mignoni says. When patrons were first told about the system and were invited to participate, they had some reservations, she adds, noting that they asked "if we were keeping any information about them." In fact, the bars only requested a first name, which was not stored when the customer finished her drinks. "They were so happy when they got the next drink" automatically, Mignoni says. As the result, she reports, the system became very popular with patrons.

"Our primary goal is corporate responsibility," Mignoni says. With the system, she adds, "you can't serve more than two drinks." But the secondary benefit is convenience for patrons, who can now spend their time visiting with friends rather than reordering drinks. "At night clubs," Mignoni states, "particularly with thousands of people each night, it can be hard to get to anyone [to take drink orders]."

Rowley says he continues to work on engineering the Smart Cube, with plans to create a smaller model offering a longer battery life. The existing cube has a battery life of about three to four weeks if it is used regularly, after which the device is discarded. The cube is also designed to go to sleep if it detects no liquid for more than 15 minutes—and this, according to Rowley, can extend the battery life. In addition, he says, AMV BBDO is developing the app to be used by an iPhone, enabling an employee to view reorder information from the beacons anywhere within the bar, and to determine a drink's location relative to that staff member's location in the room.

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