A DATA monitoring firm is assessing new market ventures to build on coffee purveyor clamour, The Northern Echo can reveal.

Vianet Group has identified the environmental, healthcare and transport sectors as avenues for expansion.

Bosses say there are “more things in the pipeline”, with confirmation of their intent coming just days after the Stockton-based business secured an international deal to support a coffee company’s growth across thousands of vending machines.

Loading article content

Vianet is known for its focus on the Internet of Things, which connects devices in everyday objects by allowing data to be sent and received, while it also provides landlords with the iDraught system, which seeks to slash pub waste by giving precise alcohol readings.

According to latest financial results, half-year turnover dipped slightly to £6.71m following changes to sales frameworks across its Smart Machines endeavour and the impact of pub closures, which knocked progress in its iDraughtheaded Smart Zones division.

However, speaking yesterday (Tuesday, December 5) about the figures for the six months to September 30, Stewart Darling, chief executive, said his confidence remains strong, citing operators’ desire to make decisions alongside increasingly detailed information as a key driver in Vianet’s progress.

“People want to be connected to their assets and we can tailor that to whatever requirements they have,” he told the Echo.

“The real value is in the insight because it helps in the decisionmaking process.”

Vianet’s coffee company deal, set for an initial three years, will see the firm work with an unnamed operator on thousands of vending machines across Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

The contract will be delivered by its Smart Machines division, which allows purveyors of apparatus, such as vending machines, to stay up-to-date with the performance of equipment, and follows a separate £4.25m deal for Vendman Systems, which is known for software used to oversee retailers’ stock control, pricing, data management and account analysis.

However, while Mr Darling said those agreements represent real coups for Vianet, which also has a long-term agreement with premium coffee firm Jacobs Douwe Egberts, he said it will not be resting on its laurels.

He added: “There are more things in the pipeline, that’s always the case in any business.

“We are not going to go into the whole consumer world; it is overpopulated and the big electronics giants are already in there.

“We believe there are high-value niche opportunities in industrial markets and we are looking at environmental, healthcare and transport to name but three.

“However, we will seek to understand the markets and their dynamics before we plough in.”