Digital innovations in food
By The Russell Partnership's Prof David Russell
In order to maintain relevance, vibrancy and significance to our savvy students, it is fundamental that higher education institutes utilise cutting-edge technological solutions and digital platforms that enable the optimisation of catering outlets and the associated customer experience. In practical terms, this is the utilisation of smartphone applications and related technologies that enable sophisticated marketing opportunities, feedback occasions and subsequent facilitation of the desired experience economy.
For example, implementation of iBeacon integration across catering outlets will deliver real-time opportunities for students and staff to be electronically welcomed, receive menus and deliver deals relevant to that outlet. iBeacons are Apple’s implementation of Bluetooth low-energy wireless technology that deliver an innovative method of providing location-based information and services to iPhones and other iOS devices. iBeacons are placed in store entrances and communicate with users’ smartphones upon arrival, providing there is Bluetooth or a corresponding application to receive the message. iBeacons deliver an ecosphere of possibilities for location awareness, and countless opportunities for interactivity between iOS devices and iBeacon hardware.
In addition, integration of technologies such as augmented reality (AI) technology make the dining experience fun, interesting and individualised to students – and although this technology is likely to be transitory due to its cumbersome nature, it is one that has been successful for us at major events such as the Rugby World Cup 2015.
Offering students the ability to order food from on-campus catering outlets is one that would be gratefully received based on the success of mobile applications such as Deliveroo and Just Eat
Finally, offering students the ability to order food from on-campus catering outlets is one that would be gratefully received based on the success of mobile applications such as Deliveroo and Just Eat. If food is nutritious, fairly priced and aligned with students flavour palates then a higher education innovation such as this would have more benefits than just commercial viability – students would be nourished, well-cared for and are more likely to rate their student experience more positively.
As technology never stands still, we must follow suit. Let’s utilise the technology that we know works in an arena that is flooded by mercurial millennials and digital devotees alike to ensure they are satisfied, stimulated and inspired by their higher education institutes dedicated to digital integration.