Jeff Sommers, Co-Owner & Co-Founder, Izzy's Ice Cream
The Internet of Things (IoT) gives us the chance to see the opportunities that we can work on to be better at the work we do. It is a very valuable space for our work. The most interesting project we are watching is the Open Agriculture project at MIT. If we could grow our own vanilla here in Minnesota that would be a crazy and fascinating transformation of ice cream making.
As the co-founders and co-owners of Izzy’s Ice Cream, my wife and I turn to innovation and technology for solutions every day. We often adopt and adapt the framework of a technology to a use that is consistent with its development, but we also often take a system or the construct of a system and put it to use on adjacent systems and problems within our company. Our latest and greatest is work that we are doing with visual inventory management. We are beta testing lots of visual information inputs to see if we can “eliminate” the need to count inventory. We are in the early stages of this development, but our work is already very promising.
As the co-founders and co-owners of Izzy’s Ice Cream, my wife and I turn to innovation and technology for solutions every day
For instance, we need to have vanilla ice cream 365 days a year; it’s a really “simple” number. What then are the characteristics and technologies that we can develop to meet this demand with the fewest counting steps possible? We configure and package vanilla ice cream in at least 15 ways and it’s always best if it reaches the consumer fresh, properly made, and properly handled.
Artisan ice cream making and retailing is a very democratic endeavor. Batch process ice cream making when it is done well is a lot like Jazz in that it is highly structured and improvisational. It is our great honor and privileges each day to be in the business of making great ice cream and supporting it by giving great customer service. In the past five years we’ve adopted numerous technologies, modified existing technologies and built from the ground up a few or our own technologies that all focus on our product quality and customer service.
Our biggest success to date is with a system we designed and developed that we call Flavor Up! This system leverages the opportunity of novelty, favorites, and real time information. Our flavor updating system is a real world automated refreshing data stream. We use RFID technology to push updates to our customers and to the in store signage in real time. This changes the brand experience for our customers and workers: our flavors are always accurate, current and up to date. We build and design change into the brand experience and we do this in a real world retail experience. It has been fantastic to operate and run this system with our staff and customers.
The IoT, like mobile, are incredible and we think that the ice cream experience is made better with the useful applications of these and other technologies. Imagine a Flavor Up! – for your local food computer.