Kyoto/Osaka, Japan - AIVICK Inc., a Japanese company that delivers healthy, nutritionally balanced lunch boxes to offices, and Panasonic Corporation, a leading provider of innovative solutions, today announced that they have started joint demonstration experiments of an office lunch solution using the Internet of Things (IoT), with an eye towards commercialization to support the well-being of busy business people from a nutritional aspect.
With a growing awareness of health and an increasing need for food safety and security, various new food services have been created recently in Japan. Still, there is a demand for services that deal with the issues busy business people face, as double-income households are on the rise, with more diversified values. When it comes to lunch for business people, there is much to be improved; lunch hour congestion and long lines have become the norm in central business districts, with little choice of safe, secure, healthy and tasty lunches that health-conscious business people are craving for. For companies, providing a staff canteen or using conventional food delivery or reservation services as part of an employee welfare program could prove costly and too complicated to manage.
In order to solve these issues related to lunch for business people and to support them from a dietary perspective, AIVICK and Panasonic agreed to jointly conduct demonstration experiments towards the establishment of a new solution that utilizes IoT.
AIVICK, based in Kyoto, has been offering the "TAVENAL™ OKIBEN®"*1 service since 2015, which delivers additive-free, low-calorie, nutritionally balanced lunch boxes to offices, and the service has been introduced to more than 130 companies, mainly in the Tokyo metropolitan area.
This time, the experiments involve Panasonic's "IoT Add-on Unit + Control Platform" developed under the "Game Changer Catapult" project*2, which is connected to AIVICK's reservation, ordering and production management system. Retrofitting the existing lunch box storage refrigerator with the IoT Add-on Unit + Control Platform can add convenient functions: smart lock, smart payment and operation monitoring. This innovative solution ensures collection of payment for the lunch boxes and makes it possible to reduce the company's administrative burden and promote safety measures, for example temperature management.
By the end of March 2017, the two companies will have established the performance and effectiveness of the overall solution as well as the specifications for the IoT Add-one Unit through experiments at AIVICK and the Panasonic Wonder Lab Osaka. From April 2017, the partners will begin conducting demonstrations focusing on usability improvements for the smartphone application, which is a point of contact for customers at companies where the OKIBEN® service has already been introduced.
In the future, AIVICK and Panasonic will offer, based on customers' dietary history and nutritional intake information, an optimally personalized tasty, healthy and nutritionally balanced meal menu, fostering a new wellness lifestyle in coordination with Panasonic's "IoT x cooking" appliances. In addition, as an open platform, the usage of this solution can be expanded to other services, not limited to offices and meals. The two companies will consider collaboration possibilities with a wide range of service providers globally. As part of this effort, AIVICK and Panasonic will exhibit in the Interactive Category*3 at the South by Southwest (SXSW) 2017, an annual conglomerate of film, interactive media, and music festivals and conferences to be held in Austin, Texas, U.S. from March 10 to 19, 2017