Home >Industry >Telecom >Your next ice cream could come from Voda Idea-powered smartcart

NEW DELHI : Vodafone Idea, facing the heat in the telecom sector thanks to Jio’s cut-throat tariffs, has now decided that it will help bring chilled ice cream from a smartcart to customers.

To do this, India’s largest telecom operator by subscriber base has teamed up with dairy companies to offer them an Internet Of Things (IoT) platform which will help build an intelligent supply chain to sell ice cream.

With Vodafone Idea’s solution, the ice cream cart would be connected to an aggregation platform and dairy companies can get real time connectivity and data such as location, temperature, etc. This platform will be akin to what Uber has built for taxis.

“If you look at the ice cream cart, we started with the idea of a (smart) fridge on wheels…we did a lot of trials in Delhi with different customers and what we found was ice cream cart owners tend to go to areas where there is shade. But that might not be the best place to sell ice cream. So customers asked us for mapping information and how to find the best routes for sellers, how to become more intelligent with restocking of ice cream at the warehouse, etc," Nick Gliddon, chief business officer Vodafone Idea, told Mint in an interview.

For this, the telecom company has combined big data and artificial intelligence seamlessly on to a platform which will go commercially live this year. It will also offer predictive analysis of a route the ice cream seller should take to maximise sales and how to stock carts.

Vodafone Idea, which has posted huge losses in the last four financial quarters and is battling falling revenue streams, has stepped up focus on business-to-business enterprise solutions to create stickier revenue streams.

Since the completion of the merger of Vodafone India and Idea Cellular, the combined entity has lost subscribers every month. Its active subscriber base declined from 334.1 million in the March quarter to 320 million in the June quarter. Hence, driving growth from its enterprise segment is more crucial now and focus on IoT solutions such as the connected ice cream cart platform is key.

“What we saw in trials is the guys were able to sell five times more ice cream," Gliddon said, without divulging the dairy companies the telco has teamed up with.

If successful, the company plans to roll out the solution for other business segments also.

“These pilots have happened in Delhi. But the same intelligence can be offered to pani puri sellers in Mumbai as well," Gliddon said. “Once we prove it with one segment, the opportunities are pretty big. So whether it is a pani puri stall or a vegetable cart. You get telematics which gives temperature, time, location, etc…Then you connect that digital value chain."

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