*Story update - 24 November 2016* In September Malibu launched a smart bottle, using NFC, that helped deliver marketing content to consumers' smartphones.

Following work conducted at the innovation lab in Stockholm, the rum brand teamed up with Tesco to sell NFC-enabled bottles in 1,600 UK Tesco stores. Using NFC tags – which were applied to the bottles by passing them through a heat tunnel allowing the tags to remain intact and readable by smartphones after application – consumers were able to use their mobiles to unlock digital experiences such as competitions, playlists and bar locations.

The plan is for the NFC technology to feature on 40,000 Malibu bottles in the period up to 31 December 2016.

Markus Wulff, digital innovation manager at Malibu, commented: "By embracing suitable and scalable technologies onto our packaging, we can turn each bottle into a direct, digital touch point for consumers all across the world."

Original story

Absolut – the Pernod Ricard company behind a range of alcoholic drinks such as Absolut Vodka – has launched a global Internet of Things (IoT) demonstration unit at its headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden.

Containing a variety of connected devices and products, the space is intended to help brands such as Absolut, Malibu and Kahlúa design and test new connected initiatives, and provide a platform for generating consumer feedback.

The facility, which has been launched alongside IoT agency SharpEnd, will initially offer eight demonstrations which explore how the latest technologies can create new revenue streams.

Absolut is testing how IoT can enhance the brand experience for its customers

The drinks company is looking to build brand value through IoT, in a number of ways. Its connected bottle showcase, for example, shows how Absolut can integrate with third-party applications and services in a connected home.

As one pours the bottle, lights change to match the cocktail and a curated playlist starts to play on Sonos speakers to enhance the consumer experience.

The business's 'Homelife' demonstration, meanwhile, connects consumers with available drivers in their area if they start to run low on Vodka or when extra ingredients are needed for cocktails. The innovation centre also highlights how near-field communication technology can be used by consumers to access information about the brand's history.

Markus Wulff, digital growth manager at The Absolut Company, said: "We appreciate that the future of the bar, home and store are all going to be connected.

"This centre allows us to continue to test the future of engagement and make sure we are staying up to date with the latest technologies and how these fit into consumers' lives."

He added: "This innovation hub will also educate and inspire space owners (such as bars, clubs and event partners) about how Absolut can work with them to embed useful technologies into the real world that can deliver back insights."

Absolut's announcement comes as The Center for Data Innovation today urged UK policymakers to establish a national strategy to harness and accelerate the potential economic growth and quality of life improvements that could stem from IoT. In a new report, the organisation argued there is a significant economic and societal benefit of adopting such a strategy.

Daniel Castro, the group's director and co-author of the report, said IoT will have "a substantial impact on virtually all aspects of business and society" over the coming years.

"Hundreds of new devices are coming online every day, generating insights and improvements for everything from human health and public safety to supply chains and resource conservation," he added.

"Ultimately, this network of objects has the potential to be as disruptive and beneficial as the internet was before it. But just as the public sector was instrumental in enabling the development of the internet through both active support and light touch regulation, it will need to play a similar role to ensure the success of the Internet of Things."

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SharpEnd

The Center for Data Innovation