Introducing the Bronto Kegbot

As Kegmasters, Daniel Lowe and I strive to deliver refreshing brews to our clients (Bronto Software employees and guests) in order to achieve maximum satisfaction. We were recently discussing how to improve our service and realized that we were not following the Bronto protocol of using engagement metrics to drive success and uplift our ROI. As a result, we have implemented a new system designed to capture relevant metrics and we intend to build advanced alcohol automation around this cloudy platform in order to become the most popular choice for self-service beer delivery in the entire Bronto Software Durham office!

After evaluating several companies that offer kegerator monitoring solutions, we decided to implement Kegbot. Kegbot appears to be the most full-featured analytics solution for anyone who operates a communal kegerator. By splicing inline flow sensors into our taps, it allows us to measure the volume of beer poured with less than a 2% margin of error. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the responsiveness of the Kegbot team – we reported a few trivial bugs and suggested some feature improvements via their Github projects and they have responded within a matter of hours each time. Setting up Kegbot is a fairly painless process:

  1. Purchase the Kegbot hardware (we bought two single tap kits and a data cable)
  2. Purchase a compatible Android tablet and mount (we bought a 2012 Nexus 7 and a VESA security enclosure)
  3. Install the Kegbot web server (optional, but recommended because you get more features)
  4. Install the Kegbot Android app on the tablet (depending on the tablet, you may need to root it)
  5. Install the Kegbot hardware in your kegerator (the hardest part since you may need to get creative with cable management)
  6. Party!

Here are some shots showing the installation at the kegerator:

The flow sensor (circled in green):

ImageThe taps with the Kegbot tablet interface installed between them:

ImageUp close shot of the tablet interface:

Image
Thanks to the Kegbot server, we now have a kegerator web dashboard that is available within the Bronto corporate network. Users can now check what’s on tap and even see how many pints are left with the click of a button.

ImageWhile most of our Kegbot implementation is internal to Bronto Software, we have enabled Twitter and Untappd integrations for our users to optionally link their accounts. You can follow @BrontoKegbot on Twitter to receive automated updates about kegs.

This initial deployment of our Kegbot is exciting because it is an open platform that will allow us to build more features on top of it. Some potential future projects could be:

  1. Install an RFID reader that allows employees to log into their Kegbot profile with their door badge.
  2. Install a valve that only opens if an employee authenticates themselves. This could also be used to limit the number of pints poured per person in a single session.
  3. Leverage the Kegbot server’s REST API to write Hubot (chat room bot) modules, send drink metrics to Graphite, or even set off Nagios alerts.

As we apply a DevOps approach to the administration of our kegerator, we intend to push the envelope of KegOps so that we can deliver four nines of system uptime while offering cutting edge features. Stay tuned for further innovation!

One thought on “Introducing the Bronto Kegbot

  1. I have done xtensive research and see that Kegbot only offers the capability of having 2 taps per screen. Isn’t there a way for us to have more than 2 taps on a single screen. I did read that it requires a bigger board. Any help would be appreciated

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s