Asolvi Knowledge Base

Coffee machines that talk – Tesseract, Espresso Service and the Internet of (Coffee) Things

In 2015, Espresso Service Ltd woke up and smelled ‘connected’ coffee. By implementing Asolvi’s cloud-based field service management solution, Tesseract, it entered the realm of the smart coffeemaker and the Internet of Things, bolstering its USPs and improving its service to customers.

Backed by over 25 years in the coffee industry, Espresso Service manages and maintains all types and brands of coffee machines. It does this via a nationwide network of engineers who really know their beans.

Before Tesseract, the company’s service management system was based around a less flexible, server-based, non-specialised bolt-on to an accountancy package. This was no longer up to task, so Espresso Service looked to the cloud.

Head in the cloud

Espresso Service opted for a software-as-a-service system, aka SaaS. In other words, a system that is hosted in the cloud and accessible via the internet. The company wanted to avoid the hefty capital costs involved with installing software on its servers, and instead pay an ongoing subscription fee. It also wanted access to software that was maintained by the provider and always kept up to date. This led it to Asolvi.

Daniel Sewell, chief operating officer for Espresso Service, explains, “In the end, the choice was down to two companies. Asolvi came out on top for three main reasons. Firstly, their Tesseract system is web-based, which means our engineers can access it anywhere. Secondly, we get free upgrades and any platform developments for one customer are shared to all. The third reason is Kevin McNally, one of Asolvi’s managers. As opposed to a typical salesman just interested in a deal, Kevin was thoroughly genuine and showed a real and keen interest in our business. He still does.”

The Internet of (Coffee) Things

The Tesseract system is able to communicate directly with some of the coffee machines Espresso Service is contracted to maintain. These machines contain a modem with a SIM card, feeding data to the Tesseract system by means of the internet. This could be asset history or maintenance alerts, i.e. the machine has run out of milk or coffee, or needs a repair.

This telemetry prompts Espresso Service to take action and, if necessary, schedule a maintenance visit — without its customers having to do anything. Daniel Sewell says, “On average 5,000 pieces of information a day are transmitted to the Tesseract system. This ability to monitor equipment remotely through Tesseract has not just revolutionised the way Espresso Service operates; it’s also improved the performance of our customers. Their need to keep coffee flowing and minimise equipment downtime is served by us providing them with a more responsive service.”

The perfect blend

Espresso Service utilises the full suite of service modules that come with Tesseract, including Call Control, Customer Assets, Parts Centre, Remote Engineer Access and Remote Customer Access.

While Tesseract is an out-of-the-box platform, Asolvi does its best to tailor and adapt it. In this case it has created an interface with Espresso Service’s accounting software, as well as between Parts Centre and the company’s stock partner. This enables Espresso Service to have full visibility and control of the movement of stock even though a separate company manages it. Asolvi and Espresso Service also worked together to enhance Tesseract’s stock-take functionality, streamlining what used to be a manual process.

In due course, Espresso Service will incorporate Tesseract’s Diary Assist. At present it’s using the Call Control module to schedule its engineers. While Call Control automatically recommends engineers for a particular job based on availability, skill set, location etc, Diary Assist goes two steps further by automatically assigning them to those jobs, and doing so in batches. In fact, there’s no limit to the number of jobs that Diary Assist will automatically schedule in one go. This 1-click scheduling technology is capable of saving companies 3-4 hours a day of manual manipulation.

What’s clear is that Asolvi and Espresso Service represent a strong, thriving partnership, one that has continued to flourish in the short time since implementation. Daniel Sewell explains, “Tesseract has given us a new USP. When we approach sales prospects, we proclaim the virtues of the Tesseract system, and how much it will make their lives easier and service better. We also recommend the platform to other companies in our industry. In particular, we partnered with an ROI firm to found a company called Espresso Service Ireland Technical Ltd, and got them set up on the Tesseract system. That’s how much we believe in it.”