Homepage / Technology / This craft brewery is using a chatbot to make better beer
Amazon says this Prime Day was its biggest shopping event ever Kudlow says President Trump is 'so dissatisfied' with China trade talks that he is keeping the pressure on As stocks regain their footing, an ominous warning looms Goldman Sachs downgrades Clorox to sell, says valuation is 'unsustainably high' How Satya Nadella has spurred a tripling of Microsoft's stock price in just over four years Kudlow says economic growth could top 4% for 'a quarter or two,' more tax cuts could be coming The one chart that explains Netflix’s stunning comeback US housing starts plunge 12% in June to a nine-month low Aerospace titans Boeing and Airbus top $110 billion in orders at Farnborough Target uses Prime Day to its advantage, logging its 'biggest online shopping day' so far this year Billionaire Marc Lasry sees bitcoin reaching up to $40,000 as it becomes more mainstream and easier to trade These are the 10 US airports where you're most likely to be hacked Amazon shares slightly higher as investors await Prime Day results Wreck of Russian warship found, believed to hold gold worth $130 billion A bullish ‘phenomenon’ in bond market is weeks away from fading, top credit strategist says Stocks making the biggest moves premarket: MS, GOOGL, TXN, UAL, NFLX & more Twitter shares up 50% since late April means most upside priced in, analyst says in downgrade EU fines Google $5 billion over Android antitrust abuse Mortgage applications fall 2.5% as buyers struggle to find affordable homes America may not have the tools to counter the next financial crisis, warn Bernanke, Geithner and Paulson Investors are getting spooked as the risk of a no-deal Brexit rises EU expected to fine Google $5 billion over Android antitrust abuse Ex-FBI chief James Comey urges Americans to vote for Democrats in midterm elections Elon Musk apologizes to British cave diver following baseless 'pedo guy' claim Disney, Comcast and Fox: All you need to know about one of the biggest media battles ever Xiaomi shares notch new high after Hong Kong, mainland China stock exchanges reach agreement The trade war is complicating China's efforts to fix its economy European markets set for a strong open amid earnings; Google in focus Hedge fund billionaire Einhorn places sixth in major poker tournament The biggest spender of political ads on Facebook? President Trump Asian stocks poised to gain after Fed's Powell gives upbeat comments; dollar firmer Stocks are setting up to break to new highs Not all FAANG stocks are created equal EU ruling may be too little, too late to stop Google's mobile dominance Cramer explains how Netflix's stock managed to taper its drop after disappointing on earnings Airbnb condemns New York City's 'bellhop politics,' threatens legal retaliation Amazon sellers say they were unfairly suspended right before Prime Day, and now have two bad choices Investor explains why 'duller' tech stocks can have better returns than 'high-flying' tech names Elon Musk is 'thin-skinned and short-tempered,' says tech VC Texas Instruments CEO Brian Crutcher resigns for violating code of conduct Google Cloud Platform fixes issues that took down Spotify, Snapchat and other popular sites Uber exec: We want to become the 'one stop' transportation app 'What a dumb hearing,' says Democrat as Congress grills tech companies on conservative bias Amazon shares rebound, report says Prime Day sales jumped 89 percent in first 12 hours of the event How to put your medical history on your iPhone in less than 5 minutes Investment chief: Watch these two big events in 2018 Even with Netflix slowing, the market rally is likely not over Cramer: Netflix subscriber weakness debunks the 'sky's the limit' theory on the stock Netflix is looking at watch time as a new area of growth, but the competition is stiff Why Nobel laureate Richard Thaler follows Warren Buffett's advice to avoid bitcoin Rolls-Royce is developing tiny 'cockroach' robots to crawl in and fix airplane engines After Netflix plunge, Wall Street analysts forecast just tame returns ahead for the once high-flying FANG group Roku shares rise after analyst raises streaming video company's price target due to customer growth China is investing 9 times more into Europe than into North America, report reveals Amazon says US Prime Day sales 'so far bigger than ever' as glitch is resolved Netflix is on pace for its worst day in two years US lumber producers see huge opportunity, rush to expand San Francisco to consider tax on companies to help homeless Homebuilder sentiment, still high, stalls as tariffs, labor and land drive up costs Powell backs more rate hikes as economy growing 'considerably stronger' Netflix history is filled with big stock declines – like today – followed by bigger rebounds Intel shares get downgraded by Evercore ISI due to rising competition from Nvidia, AMD Petco aims to reinvent the pet store with something you can't buy online Genetic testing is coming of age, but for consumers it's buyer beware Tech 'FAANG' was the most-crowded trade in the world heading into the Netflix implosion, survey shows Netflix weak subscriber growth may indicate a 'maturity wall' that could whack the stock even more: Analyst This chart may be predicting the bull market's demise Wall Street says Netflix's stock plunge is a ‘compelling’ buying opportunity because the streaming giant ‘never misses twice’ Tesla sinks after Musk tweets, again Boeing announces new division devoted to flying taxis Stocks making the biggest move premarket: NFLX, UNH, GS, AMZN, WMT & more Deutsche Bank downgrades Netflix, but says big subscriber miss is not 'thesis changing' IBM is experimenting with a cryptocurrency that’s pegged to the US dollar North Korea and Zimbabwe: A friendship explained Virgin Galactic spinoff Orbit to launch rockets from the UK with space deal Artificial intelligence will create more jobs than it destroys? That’s what PwC says ‘Treasonous’ Trump and ‘Putin’s poodle:' Scathing headlines follow the Trump-Putin summit China’s fintech companies offer ‘enormous’ opportunity, investment manager says Trump's performance at summit with Putin was 'unprecedented,' experts say Walmart and Microsoft link up on cloud technology as they both battle Amazon European stocks seen mixed amid earnings; Fed’s Powell to address Congress How I knew I should quit my day job and run my start-up full-time: Viral website founder China's stocks have been trounced, but the trade war may ultimately be good news for those shares Billionaire tech investor Peter Thiel bets on crypto start-up Block.one Asian shares subdued open after mixed close on Wall Street; energy stocks under pressure Amazon cloud hits snags after Amazon Prime Day downtime Netflix isn't doomed by one quarter unless people start questioning the long-term investor thesis Tech stocks set to sink on Tuesday after rough evening for ‘FANG’ Netflix plummets after missing big on subscriber growth This wristband lets humans control machines with their minds The U.S. has a rocky history convincing Russia to extradite computer criminals Amazon suffers glitches at the start of Prime Day Jeff Bezos is now the richest man in modern history 'The United States has been foolish': Read Trump and Putin's full exchange Goldman Sachs recommends these 5 highly profitable companies — including Nvidia — to combat rising inflation Goldman Sachs releases 'tactical' stock picks for this earnings season Three red flags for Netflix ahead of its earnings report The bond market may be raising recession fears, but don't expect one anytime soon Cramer: Banks are 'making fortunes' but are still as hated as they were during the financial crisis Putin told Trump at summit: Russia never meddled in US election


This craft brewery is using a chatbot to make better beer

Great Lakes Brewing Company’s head engineer, John Blystone, said one of the most complicated processes of making craft beer is managing the lauter tun.

The machine, one of many that helps transform grain into liquid, traditionally requires a tedious 17-step process, Blystone said. It’s one of the mission-critical processes that helps the Cleveland-based brewery make its beers, which include porters, pilsners and IPAs.

But with the help of Shelby, that’s all changed.

Shelby is not a brewmaster — at least in the traditional sense. She’s a chatbot, created with the natural language processing of Microsoft and the industrial automation of Rockwell.

Shelby represents two different forces that are squeezing the craft brewing industry. On one hand, many microbreweries hope to preserve and promote the personality of their individual blends. But on the other, mounting competition has strained the resources of tiny, artisanal set-ups, forcing them to prioritize efficiency.

The ancient art of brewing has faced unprecedented pressure in the past few years, as small batch suds have gained popularity.

This has pushed more breweries to look to automate some of their more tedious tasks to lower prices, according to Ryan Stockinger, an engineer-turned-brewer-turned-entrepreneur. As director of Craft Automation, he works with smaller breweries that compete with Great Lakes.

“What [brewers] want to do is automate the mundane: watching the temperature, recording data, checking timers. There’s a lot in the brewing process that can be easily automated,” Stockinger said. “That allows brewers to focus on recipes, malt quality, hop quality. That’s where their creativity can actually help their business.”

The Brewers Association estimates that in 2016 the number of operating breweries in the U.S. grew 16.6 percent. Ninety-nine percent of breweries in operation are small, independent shops, and the market share by volume of craft brewers has grown each year since 2011.

Meanwhile, the big guys keep getting bigger. Anheuser-Busch InBev joined up with SABMiller last year, creating a monolith that will “have operations in virtually every major beer market.”

“I really do think [automation]’s going to increase over time,” Stockinger said. “A lot of people talk about a craft brewing bubble. Once the competition starts to increase, you can’t really raise prices. You can’t make money by going over your competition. You have to sell your beer at the same price.

“The competition is going really, really fierce,” he said. “I don’t know that brewers will like it. Owning a brewery is still a business, you gotta do what you have to do.”

For Great Lakes Brewing Company, meeting growing demand means running its processes all day and all night. The company, established in 1986, has one of each major machine, and is in an area of town with little room for expansion. That means if one machine goes down, the whole operation screeches to a halt, Blystone said.

And the real bottleneck, so to speak, is the lauter tun.

While Great Lakes had been moving some processes toward automation since Blystone started four years ago, the systems were not connected in a single interface — and that meant multi-tasking, overworked engineers had to flit from sensor to sensor to check each one, often in the middle of the night.

A hackathon with Microsoft and Rockwell came up with the idea to layer analytics and natural language processing on top of the automation process, and in less than two years, Shelby was born. Now, Blystone has a graphical interface to track progress and can also get quick updates while typing to Shelby.

The system has already saved Blystone two middle-of-the-night trips to fix batteries, he said.

Mike Pantaleano, Rockwell Automation’s global business manager, said the firms also have an integration with Microsoft’s voice-activated assistant, Cortana, on tap. Rockwell has also worked on solutions for other breweries, such as Lakefront Brewery and Full Sail Brewing.

“This craft brewing scene has been growing gangbusters for quite some time,” Pantaleano said. “When craft brewers start out, they typically start out in a manual setting. As opposed to the megabreweries that have tons of staff, the craft brewing market has a lot less folks in the individual plants. So we wanted to make it as easy to use as possible.”

A personalized assistant — one that could withstand the loud, wet environment of breweries — could be advantageous for a brewer to share notes, look up recipes and ingredients, Stockinger said.

Still, Stockinger said that small-scale breweries don’t always have the money to invest in large, corporate systems from Rockwell and Siemens. Despite the competitive advantage that might come from automation, many brewers don’t want their craft reduced to pushing a button, Stockinger said.

“It’s a pretty close-knit industry, and if you can’t sit back and have a beer, they’ll kind of push you out,” Stockinger said. “They also kind of adamantly don’t want to be the guy that pushes a button and the beer comes out. We still get a lot of pushback from brewers that they want to be involved each batch. …. Big companies are trying to get in, they see all these dollar signs. It’s not as profitable as everybody thinks.”

Source: Tech CNBC
This craft brewery is using a chatbot to make better beer

Comments are closed.