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Grocery Outlet enhances refrigeration with cloud-based apps

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Grocery Outlet is tracking and analyzing in-store cooling using mobile technology.

Grocery Outlet Holding Corp. is detecting issues and managing demand response for its in-store cooling systems with two new mobile apps.

The discount grocer, which offers name-brand products at prices generally 40% to 70% below those of conventional grocery retailers, is deploying cloud-based "apps for refrigeration" from Axiom at 79 independently operated stores across California. Grocery Outlet is leveraging the apps in an effort to enhance refrigeration uptime, reduce refrigerant leak rates, and generate new revenue through automated demand response.

Utilizing the Axiom Facilities Analyzer app, Grocery Outlet now has real-time access to refrigeration data across all enrolled sites in one dashboard. Grocery Outlet independent operators also receive contextual automated notifications alerting them to urgent maintenance issues, refrigerant leaks, and energy-saving opportunities.

The retailer also employs the Axiom Virtual Battery app, which utilizes low-temperature refrigeration and HVAC loads to participate in utility demand response programs. In addition, the Virtual Battery app allows Grocery Outlet to take advantage of Automated Demand Response incentives, which help reduce store energy costs.

In their first three months of operation, Grocery Outlet says the apps have helped stores where they are deployed save $418,000 on energy bills and maintenance costs.

“Grocery Outlet has been interested in using cloud analytics for things like predictive maintenance, energy commissioning, and demand response for a few years now, but we hadn't found the right technology partner," said Frank Davis, senior director of refrigeration & sustainability at Grocery Outlet. "We are looking to install Axiom apps in more stores throughout the U.S. if results continue to be so positive."

"We're thrilled to announce that Grocery Outlet has progressed from a pilot to a major regional rollout," said Amrit Robbins, CEO of Axiom Cloud. "Their franchise model means that energy and maintenance costs at individual stores are always subject to additional scrutiny, and we're looking forward to helping independent operators increase their margins and better serve their communities."

Based in Emeryville, Calif., Grocery Outlet operates through a network of 430 independently operated stores across California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington.

Festival Foods automates temperature monitoring with IoT

In another example of grocery retailers applying automation to in-store refrigeration, Wisconsin-based regional grocer Festival Foods utilizes Bluetooth IoT sensors from SmartSense to automatically and continuously monitor the temperature of coolers, refrigerators, and chilled cases in all of its stores.

Bluetooth sensors continuously take in temperature data at Festival Food stores. The data is then transmitted to gateways that collect the data and send it to a centralized SmartSense database. Festival Foods can now look at temperature data and see trends, as well as opportunities to improve.

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