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Konvoy Group to track keg fleet with IoT

Australian supplier of rental kegs to breweries is deploying beacons to monitor the location and temperature of 70,000 kegs in Australia and New Zealand

Australian keg rental company Konvoy Group will start using beacons to monitor its 70,000-strong fleet of kegs across Australia and New Zealand.

The technology was developed by UnaBiz, an internet of things (IoT) solutions provider, to help Konvoy Group and its customers reduce keg losses and maximise the use of their kegs.

Called Kegfox, each beacon – a battery-powered passive tracking device – has been programmed to send location and temperature data of kegs to Konvoy via Thinxtra’s Sigfox low-power wide area network (LPWAN) at regular intervals or upon specific events.

An accelerometer is also built into each beacon, which is equipped with algorithms to detect movements throughout a keg’s lifecycle, such as when the keg is moved or cleaned.

Each beacon can last up to seven years, transmitting information several times a day without the need for frequent maintenance, thanks to the low power consumption of the Sigfox network.

Konvoy said the beacons address a key challenge of using radio frequency identification (RFID), barcodes and QR codes to identify keg locations: scans were often missed, resulting in lost kegs and incomplete tracking data.

“More than anything, we wanted to offer real-time information and high visibility to producers and keg rental companies on their keg fleet and enable them to not only reduce loss but also optimise keg use,” said Adam Trippe-Smith, Konvoy Group’s founder and managing director.

Trippe-Smith said the technology also makes it possible to keep an eye on keg temperatures.

“Because most of the producers have unpasteurised beverages, leaving a keg at too high a temperature spoils the product. Being able to send an alert to our customer saying their keg has been transported at the right temperature is an important benefit for them,” he added.

Konvoy, whose customers include well-known craft breweries such as Moon Dog, is now looking to commercialise the technology. From 2021, it will offer Kegfox to other keg owners through a new business division, Katch Asset Tracking.

The company has already fitted 20,000 Kegfox beacons on its own kegs and is expecting to equip 95% of its fleet in Australia and New Zealand by the end of the year.

Anthony Stewart, general manager for sales at Thinxtra in Australia and New Zealand, noted that Konvoy’s use of IoT technology was a great example of what can be accomplished in a short time frame.

“We see the wider industry adopting IoT solutions more and more as customers simply demand the visibility and efficiency outcomes that can be achieved.”

Read more about IoT in Australia and New Zealand

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