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The project will enable KBL to track and invest in coolers to ensure products and innovations reach consumers at minimal cost. [ Photo / Safaricom ]

Safaricom today officially announced a partnership with Kenya Breweries Limited (KBL) to connect and enhance its coolers in a high-tech development expected to transform how Kenyans take their alcohol.

The connected coolers are wired with sensors supported by the Internet of Things (IoT) – the inter-networking of “smart” devices that collect and exchange data. The smart fridges will be provided free of charge to retailers and outlets countrywide.

With the smart fridges EABL will be able to remotely monitor trends in consumption of its beers and spirits across the country. It will pick minor details but which are critical to its marketing and product positioning, such as the temperature a certain bar serves its beer.

Talking fridges

Kenya Breweries Ltd Managing Director Jane Karuku, said the company has over the years been looking to bring more efficiencies in its route-to-consumer channels and found technology to be a critical enabler.

“As we move towards improving our cutting-edge our technology in manufacturing and logistics, we are redoubling our efforts in our marketplace as well, to ensure that consumers enjoy our products the way they should,” she said.

This project will also enable KBL to track and invest in coolers to ensure products and innovations reach consumers at minimal cost, delays and wastage.

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Ms Rita Okuthe, Chief Enterprise Business Officer, Safaricom PLC said the mobile operator developed an Internet of Things (IoT) solution that consists of devices installed in the coolers that will have sensors to transmit various data. This platform will generate business insights that will assist KBL to optimise the coolers.

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For instance, EABL distributors can now tell where their assets are located, if the assets are in use or not (on/off), whether the assets are at the optimal temperature and how many times the door of the cooler is opened. Over 2,000 coolers are already connected.

Looking ahead to 2020, Safaricom aims to be a digital partner for businesses by providing solutions that improve the efficiency with which they do business, saving them money and therefore creating additional value for end-users.

Internet of Things

Besides the connected coolers project, EABL is already partnering Safaricom in driving a cashless payment model among its distributors, who now transact on M-PESA when dealing with retailers.

Safaricom is also planning to bring valuable solutions by leveraging on IoT to deliver smart water metering and animal tracking system. The new Internet of Things (IoT) network will tap into the Safaricom existing 4G network.

In the first half of the financial year 2019/2020, Safaricom invested Ksh17 billion in infrastructure by increased network rollout and acceleration of broadband and fibre deployment.

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