Running any business requires access to information from which management can make decisions to keep the operation running smoothly, safely, efficiently and profitably. Today’s sophisticated automation systems can significantly streamline internal processes and enhance the customer experience for breweries and other hospitality businesses. With the touch of a button, staffers can control climate and lighting, access security and video cameras, control music and video content and more from one seamless interface on an app or smartphone. And the benefits don’t stop there — high-end automation systems can be configured to function autonomously through customized “events,” making facility management easier than ever.
Automation systems offer invaluable control and monitoring capabilities for internal use. A facility owner can check in on the building’s security feed remotely to guarantee its safety, a manager can ensure that the refrigeration is at just the right temperature from anywhere in the facility, and a staffer can manage lighting to balance ambiance, safety and energy efficiency all with the push of a button or tap on a mobile screen. The opportunities are significant, and they are already being implemented by innovative breweries, distilleries, bars and restaurants.
For example, the Crack Shack Bar and Restaurant in San Diego utilizes an ELAN control system to remotely manage its security system. In addition to allowing the owner to check security cameras from anywhere in the world, the system is also automated to react instantly to security triggers. If movement is detected after the restaurant closes, a notification is sent from an installed security panel and a series of events is autonomously set into motion. First, the security lights are turned on, then audio is played through the speakers warning intruders that the restaurant is a private space and that security has been dispatched. Next, the system sends an email out to the security company, who can access the video cameras to see if someone is on the premises. If it is something that requires action, the company can dispatch personnel to the venue to handle the issue.
Automation has benefits for improving customer experience as well. Remote and instantaneous control are very useful for breweries and distilleries that host tours and events, or have designated dining spaces. Automation helps staff to keep customers happy — they can satisfy requests to change a song, lower the volume or raise the temperature instantly from the smartphones in their pockets.
In a brewery with many TVs, staffers often must quickly respond to a customer’s request to “change the game” on one of the many screens in an establishment. Previously, to change the channel or manipulate volume, staff had to point an IR remote at a television or source, shield the IR remote from bleeding or transmitting to another screen, and hope that it worked. With an automation system, the volume can be raised or lowered and the channel can be changed at the touch of an icon on a smartphone, tablet or touch panel. Each television has its own setting within the App, so it’s as simple as a finger swipe. Gone are the days when the staff had to finagle with technology. Now, they can focus on what matters and leave the logistics up to an automated system.
Recently, the Garrison Brothers Distillery in Hye, Texas, decided to invest in an automation system to help staffers better accommodate customers while conducting tours. Given the building’s size and barn-like shape, they knew it would be difficult to control newly mounted TVs and sophisticated speakers while the staff physically conducted tours throughout the facility. They needed the technology to work seamlessly without having to fidget with wires if something goes wrong. Now, with an automation system, each staffer can easily control the technology with the touch of a button to satisfy requests as needed.
Additionally, breweries can use automation systems to enhance, change or manage the atmosphere. For example, in the Big Woods Microbrewery in Indianapolis, there are five unique entertainment spaces: two outside and three inside. The brewery’s general manager expressed the need to incorporate different audio feeds into each environment to cultivate varying atmospheres in the space. On the outdoor patio and beer garden, he wanted the audio to be louder, while inside he preferred the audio to be softer. Thanks to an automated multi-room audio system installed by a local technology integration firm, the manager pre-configured each space to operate in two separate “zones.”
Automatically, with a tap on a screen, the zones pull from a pre-uploaded playlist and operate separately to create two distinct experiences, which can be operated from one intuitive app. As breweries increasingly utilize technology to better their overall customer experience, they will turn to automated, multi-room audio systems to serve as an easy control source with critical volume management and content capabilities.
When launching a new venture or upgrading an existing establishment, inquire into how an automation system can enhance your brewery’s experience. The better-connected systems integrate lighting, climate, and security solutions into one seamless interface, allowing staff to better connect with their customers.
Joe Lautner can trace his roots all the way back to 2003 and the launch of HomeLogic, one of the first successful IP-based home control and automation solutions whose core technology was later developed into the award-winning, industry standard-setting ELAN platform when it was acquired by Nortek in 2007. At ELAN, Lautner led all business and hardware/software platform developments, opening up and expanding the ELAN platform to include more third party partnerships, new technologies, and apps. Since 2007, Lautner has held many senior sales and marketing positions. As director of the Control Product Team, he expanded the ELAN Control Platform across the company’s major control, audio, and power product groups. Outside of Core Brands, Lautner is a noted industry leader who has served as the chairman and director of the Consumer Electronics Association’s Tech Home Division since 2007.