May 16, 2020

Jonnie Walker Blue Label whisky to pilot 'smart labels'

Manufacturing Technology
Food and Drink Manufacturing
Drin
Glen White
2 min
Diageo will reveal its first ever “smart bottled” Johnnie Walker Blue Label.
Diageo will reveal its first ever “smart bottled” Johnnie Walker Blue Label that can send offers to customers smartphones straight from the...

Diageo will reveal its first ever “smart bottled” Johnnie Walker Blue Label that can send offers to customer’s smartphones straight from the shopping aisles.

Sensor technology, using Near Field Communication, will allow Diageo to send personalised offers to consumers who tap the bottles with their smartphone.

The firm will send cocktail recipes, offers and promotional material to these prospective customers as they browse the alcohol shelves.

Further, drinkers can be certain that their smart bottled whisky will have never been tampered with, as its printed sensor tags have seal detection.  

It is hoped the sensor technology will give the manufacturer insight into the whiskey’s lifecycle outside of the factory floor, from the shelves to customer’s homes, preventing fraud.

The smart bottle, created by tech company Thinfilm, is a product of Diageo’s Technology Ventures investment pool that opened last year.

Diageo opened the incubator to tap into the ‘digital behaviour’ of young adults to curb irresponsible drinking, with the help of tech start-ups, it said.

The drinks manufacturer, which owns Bushmills, Smirnoff, Baileys, Captain Morgan, and Guinness brands is handing over $100,000 (£62,000) in funding as well as insight to the business for successful startups.

Thinfilm developed the yet-to-be patented OpenSense technology late last year, yesterday’s announcement marks the first company, Diageo, to test it out on a prototype. However there are no plans yet to roll the technology out to Diageo’s supply chain, Thinfilm said.

The bottle will be on show at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

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Jun 8, 2021

IMF: Variants Can Still Hurt Manufacturing Recovery

IMF
Manufacturing
COVID19
Musk
Elise Leise
3 min
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) claims that while markets are rising and manufacturing is coming back, it’ll push for global immunisation

After a year of on-and-off manufacturing in the US, UK, and the eurozone, demand for goods surged early last week. Factories set growth records in April and May, suppliers started to recover, and US crude hit its highest price point since pre-COVID. As vaccination efforts immunise much of the US and UK populations, manufacturers are now able to fully ramp up their supply chains. In fact, GDP growth could approach double-digits by 2022

Now, the ISM productivity measure has surpassed the 50-point mark that separates industry expansion from contraction. Since U.S. president Biden passed his US$1.9tn stimulus package and the UK purchasing managers index (PMI) increased to 65.6, both sides of the Atlantic are facing a much-welcomed manufacturing recovery. 

Lingering Concerns Over COVID

Even as Spain, France, Italy, and Germany race to catch up, and mining companies pushed the FTSE 100 index of list shares to a monthly high of 7,129, some say that UK and US markets still suffer from a lack of confidence in raw material supplies. Yes, the Dow Jones has made up its 19,173-point crash of March 2020, and MSCI’s global stock index is at an all-time high. 

Yet manufacturers around the world realise that these wins will be short-lived until pandemic supply chain bottlenecks are solved. If we keep the status quo, consumers will pay the price. In April, inflation in Germany reached 2.4%, and across the EU’s 19 member countries, overall prices have increased at an unusual pace. Some ask: Is this true recovery? 

IMF: Current Boom Could Falter

Even as Elon Musk tweeted about chip shortages forcing Tesla to raise its prices, UK mining demand skyrocketed; housing markets lifted; and the pound sterling gained value. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), however, cautioned that manufacturing recovery won’t last long if COVID mutates into forms our vaccinations can’t touch. Kristalina Georgieva, Washington’s IMF director, noted that fewer than 1% of African citizens have been vaccinated: “Worldwide access to vaccines offers the best hope for stopping the coronavirus pandemic, saving lives, and securing a broad-based economic recovery”. 

Across the globe, manufacturing companies are keeping a watchful eye on new developments in the spread of COVID. Though US FDA officials don’t think we’ll have to “start at square one” with new vaccines, the March 2021 World Economic Outlook states that “high uncertainty” surrounds the projected 6% global growth. Continued manufacturing success will in large part depend on “the path of the pandemic, the effectiveness of policy support, and the evolution of financial conditions”. 

Mathias Cormann, secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) concurred—without global immunisation, the estimated economic boom expected by 2025 could go kaput. “We need to...pursue an all-out effort to reach the entire world population”, Australia’s finance minister added. US$50bn to end COVID across the world, they imply, is a small investment to restart our economies.

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