Our client is the world’s leading meal subscription provider delivering tens of millions of food kits monthly and operating in key global markets, including Europe, the US, Canada, and Australia. Having evolved from a small startup to the global market leader, the company has doubled its business operations and annual turnover within the last year. To support this rapid business growth, our client decided to tap into the potential of IoT for retail commerce and expand their service portfolio with a high-tech smart fridge solution for offices.
An MVP version of our client’s new product had a strong start and quickly proved popular with companies seeking to offer their employees easy access to fresh, healthy, and affordable meals at the workplace. Moreover, demand for the company’s catering and food delivery services has soared during the pandemic, prompting our client to speed up the development of a fully operational IoT and retail automation platform.
To go into mass production globally and enable our client to reach top priority regions with their services, the new platform needed to provide high scalability, enriched functionality, and system optimizations. This brought about the challenge of finding a cross-functional team of engineers who had experience with IoT retail use cases, could work with the most modern technology stack, and could build a production version of the application to enhance its load capacity and resiliency.
As staffing in the local tech labor market was slow, costly, and effort-intensive, our client began looking for a trusted software engineering partner to help them meet their time-to-market requirements. They chose Intellias based on our advanced engineering capabilities and expertise in IoT for the retail industry.
Despite high skill and qualification requirements for candidates, in just two months, we managed to set up an experienced engineering team well-versed in the technology stack for Azure, web, mobile, and IoT development. Our engineers have dealt with a variety of IoT use cases in retail environments and have proven qualified to solve complex problems of software and hardware integration, system scalability, and performance.
We’re now working on the next version of our client’s smart food catering solution that will replace the existing application and allow our client to launch a system of hundreds of thousands of retail IoT devices across all of the company’s locations.
Each connected vending machine is equipped with a camera, a tablet, a payment solution, an NFC/Pay Pass reader that accepts Visa, MasterCard, Google Pay, and Apple Pay, and a set of sensors to monitor the refrigerator’s temperature, condition, and contents. Through a mobile or web app, users can select a flexible subscription plan or choose meals from menus. The system incorporates an AI-powered recommendation engine that suggests personalized menus based on user preferences. Users can also customize their orders by indicating the preferred amount of ingredients and can personalize their plans to match their tastes, lifestyles, and dietary restrictions. The fridge can be opened with the mobile app. It then gives out a pre-ordered meal kit and enables users to pay using self-checkout.
The Intellias team is working according to a multi-step testing and release plan leading up to the final production. We’re implementing firmware for several types of fridges, developing frontend and backend components, configuring communication between devices, and building mobile and web applications. Our engineers are moving step by step to increase the resiliency of the infrastructure so the system’s well-worked-out architecture will allow for automatic scaling and enable the connection of millions of IoT devices for retail stores and offices.
Currently, we’re working on the on-board application that reads and collects sensor data as well as information on payment processing and user interactions. All data is then sent to Azure IoT Hub via the MQTT protocol. The microservice platform on the back end processes this data and provides APIs for web and mobile applications. We’re also involved in extending the system’s capabilities to include over-the-air updates, self-service device support, security certificate renewal, pricing policy compliance, and reimbursement options.
As COVID-19 keeps raging, our client’s catering service is providing a strong response to food insecurity worldwide. To stay operational and cope with the growing demand for meal delivery, the company will continue to invest in technology that helps them maintain safe and quality service and minimize any disruptions to the food supply chain. Being at the forefront of adopting IoT for retail solutions, Intellias supports our client’s commitment to serving customers through these challenging times and beyond.
Our team’s contribution to the development of the smart fridge solution allows our client to expand their global presence faster and hold the lead among established food suppliers and those trying to enter this lucrative sector. The use of IoT technology in retail operations enables our client to keep up their momentum and consistently win over the competition. Together with our client, we’re working towards the launch of the production version of their catering application. This app is quickly becoming a favorite new perk in many offices, helping companies boost employee motivation, productivity, and loyalty.