Introducing the technology that may just save the ailing food industry in the Philippines.
By: Vanni de Sequera
Spare a thought for shell-shocked restaurateurs (and others in the food industry) during this Covid-19 pandemic. Often vague and ever-changing lockdown guidelines leave them either swelling with hope or completely deflated.
One week, proprietors can operate at near-peak capacity only to be told the next that they need to restrict occupancy in their establishments to 30%.
Frequently, walking this tightrope leaves them just plain numb.
Aside from restaurateurs having to juggle the mandated socially-distanced logistics of indoor and outdoor seating arrangements and reservations, they also have to contend with prior food-safety protocols and requisite service quality—a delicate dance that can only achieve the rhythms of a tango if a diligent staff’s morale is high enough to follow industry-best practices.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is comprised of a network of devices that intelligently collate and convey data, well, via the Internet (mostly by WiFi). The food industry in the Philippines has much to gain from this technology, especially if establishments are to survive these troubled times.
The world does not need another localized epidemic. The risk of food-caused outbreaks can be greatly reduced by deploying sensors managed by IoT to monitor the crucial cold-chain management of shipping time of ingredients, as well as real-time temperature control. And when produce arrives at its destination, IoT can secure its freshness via heightened surveillance, thereby reducing waste and increasing revenue.
Sanitary measures begin with a strict regimen of hand washing among employees and the uncompromising sterilization of cookware, utensils, and table surfaces.
Despite best intentions, however, these essential procedures can fall by the wayside when left to human initiatives. Mechanical failures can also affect, say, dishwashing-water temperatures or even the level of hand-sanitizing soap left inside a dispenser above a restroom’s washbasin. Real-time IoT sensors married to a real-life ability, via a Cloud-based and relatable dashboard, can make these processes fool-proof.
Imagine if IoT can even take the guesswork about when it’s time to wipe clean a table or scrub a restroom back to its pristine condition.
IoT TO OPEN AN ECONOMY
What will eventually convince customers to again patronize, with less hesitation and outright fear, indoor-dining establishments?
Perhaps an IoT-automated combination of sensor-driven devices that measure indoor-air quality and a user-friendly software platform that markedly reduces the chances of virus survival within spaces in the first place.
“Everything is being wired up or connected wirelessly—architecture, energy efficient sensing, secure networks, quality of service, new protocols, participatory sensing, data mining, GIS based visualization, cloud computing, and international activities. It simply means that powerful information will be at our fingertips.” — Mehul Nayak, Digital Marketing Consultant at Softweb Solutions Inc.
WiFi-connected sensors, air purifiers, and decontaminating filters self-regulated by customizable programs to nip Covid in the bud in the first place… within a winning cost-benefit equation? Believe it or not, this is not science fiction in the Philippines.
In fact, the technology has already arrived here in our shores.