In bars and restaurants around the country this fall, touchdowns and home runs will be celebrated in a new and unique way -- with Bud Light and Budweiser beer tap handles and neon lights that flash and display dynamic messages each time the home team crosses the end zone or touches home plate. This unique form of revelry is the result of collaboration between Anheuser-Busch, Sprint and Mesh Systems
“As the leading sponsor in football and baseball, Anheuser-Busch always looks for ways to enhance our fans’ experience,” said Lucas Herscovici, vice president of Anheuser-Busch consumer connections. “When you’re out with friends it’s exciting when all the tap handle lights flash when your team scores. It’s as if the bar or restaurant itself is celebrating with you.”
Anheuser-Busch brought the idea for the “Interactive Tap Handles” to Sprint, asking its long-time business collaborator to develop a distinctive technology that would make Anheuser-Busch an inherent part of watching televised sporting events at bars and restaurants. Sprint teamed with Mesh Systems to launch a system that would connect thousands of on-premise locations to the on-field action at stadiums across the country.
Utilizing Sprint’s M2M (wireless machine-to-machine) expertise and Mesh Systems’ cloud based IoT/M2M platform, a test of the interactive application was first performed in 100 bars and taverns in Denver in the fall of 2012 and at Bud Light Hotel in February 2013. After the tests proved successful, Anheuser-Busch began installing the interactive tap handles in bars and restaurants nationwide.
Since then, the tap handles have been enhanced with technology that allows them to display a message that is dynamic based on the sport and team. Restaurant and bar managers can also program them to display specific promotional messages. They’ll eventually also interact with social media platforms to create even more fan involvement. More than 8,000 are expected to be in place this fall.
“The interactive tap handles are an ideal example of unleashing technology for millions of people to enjoy in a compelling way,” said Bill Esrey, Jr., Vice President, Solutions Sales, Sprint. “We’re excited to team with Anheuser-Busch and Mesh Systems to make it happen.”
As the platform evolves, it will also be used during other sports, such as basketball and motor sports. The teaming of Anheuser-Busch, Sprint, and Mesh Systems is a collaborative first among the three companies.
“This joint initiative is an incredible opportunity to take wireless M2M mainstream and demonstrate the mass potential for this interactive technology,” said Richard Baxter, President and CEO, Mesh Systems. “There’s so much that we can do with this platform, and it makes the experience of watching games at bars and restaurants even more exciting than it already is.”
The technology was recognized by Connected World Magazine
in June 2013 when it presented Anheuser-Busch, Sprint, Mesh Systems and Microsoft with a Gold Value Chain Award in the M2M and Connected Devices category for Consumer Packaged Goods.