Last updated: 05 July 2017
Oktoberfest, the world’s largest beer festival, is enjoyed by over six million people all over the world, and has been a long-standing tradition since it began in Bavaria in 1810. The festival lasts for 16 days every year, and is where Oktoberfestbier—the beers that have been served at the event in Munich since 1818—are enjoyed.
For more information and for the list of beers available, make sure you visit the official website. It attracts big celebrities, such as Boris Becker and the Bayer Munich team, and has expanded to be celebrated in many different countries.
Yet it hasn’t quite embraced the Internet of Things. Here’s where we think the IoT will help improve the experience. Below, you’ll see our top four recommendations for how technology can make the beer bonanza even more enjoyable.
- Glow-in-the-dark Gamsbärte
For those who don’t know, a Gamsbart is the tuft of hair that you see in the photo above. It’s traditionally worn as a decoration on Trachten hats, another traditional item many Oktoberfest goers will be seen wearing.
Jörg Erdmann, our Vice-President of M2M Quality Management has recently thought up a new way to make Gamsbärte more useful, and fun. Jörg thought the decorations are currently missing the right technology, so he’s developed his own “wearable tech” to make his own “glow in the dark” Gamsbart. This ingenious invention draws the attention of waiters when you want to place your next order by flashing, and helps you drink responsibly (see below)!
Catching the waiter’s eye for another pint can be difficult during busy times at the festival – let’s make it easier with all our Gamsbärte.
- NFC beer on tap
This has been done before, by Guinness, so why don’t we do this for Oktoberfest? It’d speed up the process of buying and would remove the need to carry large amounts of cash around. Paying by contactless payment is simpler than paying by cash as well; nobody wants to be counting notes and change after several pints of Oktoberfestbier, especially Hofbräu, which is 6.3% alcohol!
- Connected tankards and glasses
Sometimes at Oktoberfest, you have such a good time that you don’t realize your pint glass or tankard is running low and find yourself without a drink at a crucial moment (e.g. when a toast is about to be made). In addition to alerting the waiters with Gamsbärte, a connected tankard system would alert nearby waiters when your beer or jug reaches a low level, perhaps when it goes under 10% capacity. This way, you’d never be caught out, as a waiter will be ready for you just as you’re finishing your pint. This sort of technology is already available – the Vessyl is a good example of this.
- Keeping you safe
Oktoberfest is so much fun, it’s easy to get carried away and forget how much you’d had to drink. But don’t worry, the IoT is here again to make sure you get home ok. Wearable sensors or your smart watch could monitor your alcohol levels and disable NFC payments for more beer if they sense you’ve had one too many. Or they could tell your connected tankard to order non-alcoholic beer instead.
They could even connect to your Gamsbärte to flash a different color to alert a taxi driver that you’re ready to go home, and lock your virtual car keys to make sure you don’t drive!
So there you have it, four ways the IoT can improve the Oktoberfest experience. Hopefully, it’s only a matter of time before this all becomes a reality. We might even try to speed the process along ourselves. Next year, I’m considering taking along a Concept Board with me and attempting to connect and monitor some of the jugs on our tables so we know when we’re running low. And where better to do this than the aptly named Hacker tent – one brewer that is ready-made for the IoT!
After all, if we can create Horst (the plant that tweets when it needs watering), I’m sure we can create connected Oktoberfestbier jugs.
We hope this blog post put a smile on your face on World Smile Day. Can you think of any more ways the IoT could improve Oktoberfest? Let us know by tweeting to us @Gemalto, or leave a comment in the section below.