Peregrine deploys Microsoft Power BI in IoT pilot


news South Australian convenience retailer Peregrine Corporation has announced it is piloting an Internet of Things (IoT) and Microsoft Power BI data analytics solution to reduce business risks.

Peregrine has more than 260 stores across Australia, owning and operating the On The Run (OTR), Smokemart and Giftbox stores.

The firm’s new solution uses IoT and data analytics to automatically log the temperature and operating specification of appliances, doing away with the need for staff to manually carry out the task every four or so hours. This saves time and reduces the risk of error, the firm said.

Peregrine’s IoT solution is also expected to help reduce enterprise risk due to its need for compliance with Australian Food Safety Standards.

Local regulations dictate that any errors in the control of food storing appliances must result in stock being destroyed to ensure the health of customers, so ensuring appliances remain operational within specified tolerances is essential for Peregrine’s operations.

This pilot scheme, which is underway at Peregrine’s OTR Hillbank store, was developed in collaboration with Microsoft and Empired.

The solution works by using IoT sensors to automatically log the temperature of product storage systems, freeing up staff for more value-added tasks, reducing the chance of equipment failures and delivering increased operational transparency.

Sensor-collected data is then aggregated into the Microsoft Azure IoT Suite with visuals provided by Power BI.

By analysing the data, the team is able to assess the “health status” of its appliances and where resources are required.

Peregrine said the pilot is one part of a “wider innovation vision”, spearheaded by its CIO, Brendon Hore.

“The South Australian convenience sector is extremely competitive and it’s our belief that our commitments to investment in technology improve the efficiency in our site operations and ultimately, improve the customer experience,” Hore said.

“When we started the project, we had two clear goals in mind. We wanted to make operational site processes simpler for our team … Already, our staff are able to spend their time being analytical, rather than being data entry operators,” he said.

The second goal of the project was to ensure that compliance to food safety standards was optimised with the most efficient use of resources.

“Again, it’s early days but the reduction in manual labour is already resulting in decreased human error,” said the CIO.

Sundeep Rehill, Practice Lead, Business Intelligence, Empired, who led the deployment of the initial solution, said the Azure IoT suite is “fundamental” to the solution.

“With 30 sensors in the initial pilot, and moving forward where there may be hundreds or thousands of sensors, having a cloud-based central repository to manage the data is essential,” Rehill said.

Peregrine is now considering expanding the solution to an additional five or six stores and may ultimately deploy it across its entire network of over 130 convenience stores.

Image credit: Microsoft