Safaricom, KBL partner to digitise coolers across Kenya

CRIME SCENE: Mt Kenya Beer Distributors where gangsters yesterday killed a salesman and stole Sh1.5 million.Photo/Reuben Githinji Safaricom has partnered with Kenya Breweries Limited (KBL) to connect and enhance its coolers.

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

According to Kenya Breweries Limited MD Jane Karuku, the initiative is aimed at bringing efficiencies in route-to-consumer channels using technology.

‘’As we move towards improving our cutting-edge 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,’’ Karuku said.

She added that the project will enable KBL to extend the capability to track and invest in coolers and the firm hopes existing products and innovations will reach consumers with minimal cost, delays, and wastage.

Speaking during the launch, Safaricom Plc’s chief enterprise business officer Rita Okuthe said the firm has developed an IoT solution that consists of devices installed in the coolers that will have sensors that will transmit various data to a platform which generates business insights that will assist KBL to optimise the coolers.

For instance, EABL distributors can now tell where their assets are located, if the assets are in use or not, whether the assets are at the optimal temperature and how many times the door of the cooler is opened.

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

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.

She revealed that over 2,000 coolers are already connected.

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 Sh17 billion in infrastructure by increased network rollout and acceleration of broadband and fibre deployment.

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