Trailblazing technology concepts from the House of WMF
BY SANDY STRASSER
(Published in The Produktkulturmagazin issue 2 2016)
Digitalisation is not a trend, it is a profound, far-reaching social evolution. Against this backdrop, the coffee machine manufacturer WMF presented its new ‘Future in a Box’ technology concept at this year’s spring trade fairs. It offers restaurant owners, hoteliers and coffee machine operators all the relevant instruments for the digital customer experiences of the future. The focus was, on the one hand, on turn-key concepts for contactless and cashless payment systems and on telemetrics, connectivity and apps. On the other hand, the premium product supplier provided deep insight into its development agenda regarding innovative touch payment systems using near field communication and biometrics.
For over 160 years now, the WMF Group brands have been beacons of fine cooking, drinking and dining. Each day, several hundreds of millions of people utilise products made by WMF, Silit and Kaiser to prepare, cook, eat, drink and bake in their homes. Or they enjoy coffee specialities and food prepared within the gastronomy and hotel industries using products made by the WMF, Schaerer and Hepp brands. With this, the company wants to bring people together – whether at home, en-route or in high-end dining environments – and provide precious and delicious experiences for them. And all this with products that whet people’s appetite for culinary sensations as a result of their outstanding design, perfect function and superlative quality.
The tradition-rich company was founded in Geislingen an der Steige in 1853. Today, just under 6,000 employees supply people with culinary delights from the company’s more than 40 sites across the globe. However, even a well-known manufacturer of household goods cannot keep digitalisation at bay for ever. WMF is aware that the age of networked things, services and people has finally begun. Market insiders and institutes forecast that more than 38 billion electronic devices will be communicating with each other by the year 2020 – which also includes man-machine communication in the coffee machine sector. ‘With the WMF espresso, we have shown just how a customer promise can also be positively emotionalised by means of new sensory perceptions. We wish to achieve the same using modern 4.0 technologies. We show how mobile customer interaction experiences can be elevated to a whole new level. Digitalisation is not just technology, it is more of a strategic route towards satisfying the needs and desires of future generations of customers,’ states Melanie Nolte, Head of Marketing for WMF coffee machines.
However, the mentioned mobile interaction begins with the payment. The wallet of the future will be correspondingly cashless and mobile. By 2017, it is predicted that more than 400 million people worldwide will be using mobile payment systems, generating a turnover of 720 billion dollars in the process. To ensure that WMF customers will be able to benefit from this market in a targeted manner, the market leader in commercial coffee machines has developed various solution approaches. These include the seamless integration of online payment systems such as PayPal, the use of credit, customer or club cards as well as smart phones using near field communication and touch payment scenarios using biometrics. Integrating state-of-the-art communication and interaction procedures using GPRS and Bluetooth, devices can not only reduce payment processing times by up to 80 percent, it also opens up completely new possibilities of ‘digitally’ communicating with the customer and building customer loyalty.
A further way to generate customer loyalty by means of attractive, mobile services is the complete customisation of coffee consumption. With this in mind, the company presented its new ‘WMF MyCoffee’ business app at the spring trade fairs by which users can create customised coffee recipes, share these and enjoy them with the machines of the new generation platform. The procedure is intuitive and efficient: using generic recipe templates, first you select your favourite speciality – for instance, espresso, cappuccino, latte macchiato or café crème. In the next step, the template is adjusted to your preferences with regards to the desired amount of coffee, milk and foam. These are saved as your personal favourite beverage. Now the saved data can be transmitted to a machine previously registered using the app. In the final step, you confirm your beverage request in the machine’s display and the beverage is made in accordance with your personal preferences.
In addition to numerous innovations focusing on mobile interaction and individual taste, trade fair visitors also discovered how both the speed of and the stability and quality of servicing and sales processes for the WMF fully automatic coffee machines can be maximised by means of efficient telemetric methods. ‘Our aim is to offer a central servicing and analysis platform that makes operating our coffee machines even more efficient, and that generates greater turnover,’ comments Melanie Nolte. The basis for this is the two-way communication of the WMF RemoteDataAccess system. On the one hand, it permits the cross-site collation of the most diverse machine data (such as proactive servicing orders or error messages) and to analyse these data with regards to optimum inventory and servicing planning processes. Add to this the performance data from day-to-day operation. What are the customer’s favourite beverages, at what time of the day, at what price and where? – these questions can be answered at the press of a button. On the other hand, the WMF RemoteDataAccess provides a high level of flexibility in terms of the range of products: using Web servers, the operator uploads customised product specials including supplementary picture materials onto the displays of its fully automatic machines – on a cross-location and time-controlled basis. So, the future looks very tasty indeed.
A brief portrait of SDZeCOM
SDZeCOM is among the pioneering and most successful integrators of PIM systems within the German-speaking countries. Its services range from selection over implementation to on-going support of systems. SDZeCOM works with various software companies. The team has profound project experience, particularly with regards to challenges arising when implementing systems in complex environments. When it comes to print publishing for catalogues, product data sheets or price lists, the company has an excellent range of expertise at its command. Nearly all print technologies currently on the market have been implemented for years and used in production partially. Hence, SDZeCOM not only enacts technological experience in the interaction of templates and systems, but also has production experience for further optimisation during the process after the initial deployment. Other systems such as media asset management and multi-language management have been introduced successfully for many years as well and thus emphasise the holistic approach. Renowned and international clients trust in the expertise of the IT specialist from Baden-Wuerttemberg, that entered the market in 1995 and has since received several awards for its innovative and complex projects. Last year, SDZeCOM was awarded the IT Innovation Award in the category Consulting and is thus listed among the best in IT. In the latest Market Performance Wheel published by The Group of Analysts, the company was regarded a top provider for PIM, MAM and Print solutions.
SDZeCOM AND WMF
SDZeCOM looks after the product information management system for several brands owned by the WMF Group, with whose help all product-relevant information is made available for the various brands’ communication channels. These include the respective online shops as well as the catalogues, which are automatically generated using a high-performance database publishing system.
Picture credits © WMF