An IoT integrated food ordering system for restaurants and producers
Deloitte Digital Design2Disrput Competition
UI/UX Designer: User research, systems design, wireframes, mock-ups, prototyping
Lori Fung - Visual Designer
David Cox - Hardware Developer
Steve Pashuk - Hardware Developer
This project was created for the Deloitte Design2Disrupt case competition with the challenge of:
How can IoT be a disruptive innovation within industries?
Our team tackled the food industry and built Foodcast within 48 hours. Foodcast is a digital platform integrated with IoT technology for restaurants and food producers. Using load sensors to collect weight information on high-use food items in the kitchen, Foodcast will be able to assess consumption patterns, provide an instant inventory check and make insightful re-stocking recommendations.
Currently, many commercial food suppliers do not have an online system to manage product orders. The outdated ordering system is inefficient and unsuited to the needs of small and independent restaurant owners. We defined the problem from both the restaurants point of view as well as the suppliers to design a solution that accounts for both stakeholders. Beyond helping restaurant owners and suppliers become more efficient we wanted to tackle the underlying problem of food waste.
Research & Concept Development
Our group reached out to leaders within the food industry to gain insights into the current system to understand how we could create impact. We conducted external research to investigate the possibility of integrating weight sensors into our solution. I took the information from our group discussions and began sketching out components of the solution and creating wireframes to guide our design decisions.
Designing A Systemic Solution
As we were designing a solution, we knew that each aspect of the solution needed to be well-coordinated. The hardware (weight sensors on the boxes and in the fridge) and the software (online management system for both suppliers and restaurants) were both part of the systemic solution we were building. We streamline our IoT solution and simplified it into a step by step flow showing the inputs, outputs and interactions along the journey.
We pitched our idea during the competition and it was well-received by the judges. They noted that we had found a niche problem to solve and encouraged us to continue building our idea. I am interested in learning more about the food industry and the possibility of introducing Foodcast as a solution.
What I Learned
It was an ambitious goal to use IoT to “disrupt” an industry but I found that it was an interesting mindset to start the competition. With it, we were able to target a specific industry, find a real problem and design a solution. It was my first time designing for the Internet of Things and I really enjoyed learning about load sensors and NFC tags while figuring out how all these different components would come together to form our solution. I also realised that most of the time, technology and real change that “disrupts” takes time and isn't immediately profitable. It would be really exiting to see a company take our idea with load sensors and develop the hardware so that in the future it becomes the norm to track and weigh quantities of food in industrial kitchens. This kind of technology would lead way to entirely new food ordering systems.