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HostMilano: connected machines can help us to sell products and dreams

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MILAN – Until just a few years ago, machines were thought of as hard-working things that maybe looked nice but certainly didn’t have much in the way of brains.

Now, though, they interact with us, start working when we walk close to them, show us the settings that will give the best results (without any errors!) and relieve us of the harder, more boring jobs so that we can be creative.

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And they can even help us to sell – both products and dreams – because that is what hospitality is all about these days.

It is no coincidence that many of the designs that have been awarded HostMilano and Poli.Design’s Smart Label are connected to the Internet, so they can interactively “speak” with the user and in some cases with the end customer.

One such machine is SMARTFLEX a refrigerated cabinet made by ISA whose small doors open as customers walk by, inviting them to buy. “We combined two needs: that of reducing the barriers to purchase, encouraging shoppers to grab and go (you can get the things you want to buy with just one hand), and ensuring that these barriers go on serving their original purpose which is to save energy (by as much as 40% compared to those without doors).

Then there’s the ‘wow’ effect the opening door has on customers, who aren’t expecting the unit to be ‘smart’, and that also increases interest in the product on display,” explains head of marketing at ISA, Giampiero Mariottini.

Riding the wave of popularity gourmet coffee is currently enjoying, a new system from Dalla Corte allows establishments to set up various coffee corners with different extraction methods for every type of coffee.

On top of that: “a dedicated smartphone and tablet app gives complete control over the machine and makes it possible to manage several machines at the same time, switching from one to another by simply tapping the device. Different extraction profiles can be set for each type of coffee and these can be saved in a library folder, associating each one to the machines in the shop,” explains Paolo Dalla Corte, CEO of Dalla Corte.

This is a way of enhancing the characteristics of the coffee and of offering a unique tasting experience, “but also an innovative way of making the establishment more interesting, with various coffee corners, in which there are several espresso machines that are all independent but connected via the app to the extraction recipe library: the right mixture of technology and aesthetics to improve the coffee shop and give customers a unique beverage experience.”

Beergrill Culinario Master Touch, from Beer Grill, ensures ease of use thanks to an extremely intuitive display. As Monika Lang, Beer Grill COO, explains: “Innovation is very important. Some of the main guidelines at the moment are energy efficiency, easy handling and operation. Our customers also search for flexible product solutions with a high reliability.

“As far as our Smart Label product is concerned, the main innovation of the Culinario Master Touch are the intuitive touch screen controls that guide the operator – thanks to a product photos guide – to the correct settings, so that even with unskilled personnel, wrong settings are excluded. It is also very easy to achieve standardization of high-level food presentation and quality in every store of a restaurant chain. Last but not least, customer tests have shown Culinario Master Touch saves more than 20% energy in comparison with a similar product.”