Smart Cooler Helps Companies Sell More

By Edson Perin

Embraco has created an Internet of Things-based platform to help customers market more drinks and food at the point of sale.

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Embraco, a multinational company focused on innovative refrigeration solutions with global operations and an annual production capacity of 40 million hermetic compressors—deployed throughout Brazil, China, Italy, Mexico, Slovakia, the United States and Russia—has created a platform service known as diili, which gives a voice to commercial refrigerators via a solution based on the Internet of Things (IoT) concept. According to the company, Embraco’s platform is designed to boost sales of food and beverage brands that use its handsets.

To this end, the diili system allows the remote management of freezers and refrigerators at the point of sale (POS), according to Daniel Moraes, the senior manager of Embraco’s new business. “The solution was designed to help companies achieve efficiency gains and results in a faster, more strategic way. This is how Embraco seeks to act in the market, understanding the daily challenges of its customers and helping them make products and services increasingly efficient, like diili.”

Embraco’s Daniel Moraes

The diili system is already available for the Brazilian market. The service was born in Brazil, and the company plans to expand the solution to the other markets in which Embraco operates. “The diili commercial team is available to contact potentially interested customers,” Moraes says. “It is important to note that diili is tailor-made for beverage and food companies.”

Among the company’s goals are turning technology into innovation that adds value to its business and helping its customers to differentiate themselves in the market. “Innovation has always been in Embraco’s DNA throughout its 46-year history,” Moraes states, “a strand that permeates all operations and supports its ability to produce more and better.”

With the platform, food and/or beverage brands receive information regarding how often a refrigerator door has been opened and which product has been most consumed. In real time and remotely, the diili system makes freezers and POS refrigerators give access to this information to brand managers of refrigerated products.

Diili is a complete IoT solution, the company reports, with sensors and embedded electronic controls. Data is captured and transmitted by the solution’s connectivity layer. According to Moraes, embedded electronics and intelligent analysis of information make it easier to formulate strategic decisions by communicating through a smartphone app or Web application.

“For the development of technology,” Moraes says, “Embraco has sought global partners who have a culture of innovation close to ours and the same focus on developing innovative solutions for customers.” He cites partnerships with Amazon Web Services for the cloud, as well as with CI&T, which participated in the development of digital interfaces and solutions. “Within this technology topology, we do not have solutions with tags or readers. Other sensors and technologies are used to deliver the value expected by customers.”

The platform ensures consumers that their beer is at the proper temperature, that their ice cream is at the right consistency or that their juice is fresh at any time of the day. For brands of such products, it means an increase in sales potential, greater energy efficiency and a reduction in operating costs of up to 15 percent. The platform can manage this not only in a single refrigerator, but in tens, hundreds or thousands of installed units.

The solution brings metrics previously offered only by electronic commerce, such as understanding consumers’ interest (or lack thereof) in products on display. The service is intended to enable brands to better understand consumers and, thus, to make faster and more strategic decisions that can result in increased sales and reduced losses. “In line with Embraco’s sustainability strategy,” Moraes explains, “diili not only enables better preservation of beverages and food, but also has the potential to reduce the energy consumption of refrigerators, by enabling refrigeration adjustment more appropriate to the type of cargo stored and the characteristics of the point of sale.”

Diili can pinpoint a specific refrigerator’s location and alert users to a lack of products, or to equipment failures or the need for preventive maintenance. In addition, it can reveal consumer behavior at the point of sale, allowing for a more complete analysis of the performance of products on display, and thereby bringing metrics to the real world.

The intelligence generated enables brands to better understand consumers and help them make strategic decisions to increase sales and reduce maintenance costs by up to 10 percent. In addition, in line with Embraco’s sustainability strategy, the idea is to reduce the energy consumption of a refrigerator by 15 percent, thus allowing the most appropriate refrigeration specifications for the type of stored goods, as well as the operational characteristics at the point of sale.

“The dynamic of the commercial refrigeration chain is not changed,” Moraes sates. “The diili system emerges to help maintain this dynamic, so that it occurs more efficiently and with benefits for all links in the chain.” The main focus is on brands of beverages and foods that require the commercial refrigeration system to conserve or boost sales of their products. However, there are value propositions for other participants in the commercial refrigeration chain, such as equipment manufacturers.

“Diili represents a new era of commercial refrigeration, which makes the equipment smart and brings innovative solutions to the entire refrigeration chain, including end users and our customers,” says Luis Felipe Dau, the CEO of Embraco, which invests between 3 and 4 percent of net revenue in research and development, and has 600 professionals dedicated exclusively to this area. “Embraco intends to continue to be the leader in this evolution, to improve people’s quality of life.”

Intelligence adds value to the business because diili is able to assess the status of commercial refrigeration equipment in use 24 hours a day. For this, it uses the IoT concept, including sensors distributed throughout the equipment to understand its operation, the environment in which it is installed and how the refrigerator or freezer is utilized. All of this information is sent via the internet to a cloud application, and from there, the diili system comes into play. The platform analyzes data, makes correlations and contributes to brand strategy.

Embraco’s Ernani Nunes

Product brands can track the results through the diili application online, via cell phone or computer. By employing the solution, users can anticipate any problems and preserve the quality of food in the event of a power failure, for example. This control results from the intelligence of the diili solution, the company reports, which leads to a lower risk of loss and more confidence in sales. The platform also allows the brand to interact with its consumers, creating promotions.

“Embraco’s 46-year experience in refrigeration, coupled with its leadership role, innovative DNA and customer focus, have created an ecosystem conducive to the development of diili,” says Ernani Nunes, Embraco’s new business director. “At the beginning, we took the time to get to know the customers’ reality and apply modern and agile techniques of innovation in our processes. This combination helped us to create a business model aligned to their needs that was validated after some pilots.”

According to Nunes, the platform will initially serve Brazil, but is already on its way to becoming a global solution. “The architecture of the developed solution can be used in different regions,” he states. “When operating in the cloud, it meets the most advanced security criteria. With this construction, we rely on the support of our partners combined with Embraco’s ability to develop all layers of technology, which allows a better level of performance .”

Embraco is among the first companies in the segment of refrigeration solutions to move its culture toward digital positioning. Initiatives have been launched, such as the acquisition of UpPoints, which has developed a system of consumer behavior and image recognition, as well as product sales performance analysis, along with the Toolbox App, which gathers information necessary for the daily routine of contractors.