CRN Exclusive: Unified Office Aims To Help Restaurants Turn Healthy Profits By Adding IoT Capabilities In Its New Operations Performance Suite

Unified Office, a Nashua, N.H.-based managed services provider (MSP), is adding new IoT management capabilities to communications and business analytics platform for restaurants, called Total Connect Now.

The new capabilities, introduced at IoT Evolution Expo this week in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., are aimed at helping the restaurant industry to uphold regulatory compliance, track food inventory and manage waste as sensors and smart appliances make their way into restaurant kitchens.

"Making those small, incremental changes for businesses is where IoT will be important," Ray Pasquale, CEO and founder of Unified Office, told CRN. "The internet of things is allowing the channel to become more valuable to users than ever before. Helping businesses cope with the rapid pace of technological and behavioral changes in the marketplace – where social networks and online searches drive business transactions in real-time – is paramount to what we do."

[Related: 10 IoT Predictions For 2017]

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The IoT capabilities will be integrated into Unified Office's existing Visual Performance Suite analytics platform, which presents restaurant operations data in a visual way to make performance indicators more clear and analytics more understandable.

Visual Performance Suite is one part of the company's flagship Total Connect Now offering, a managed service offering that also includes voice communications, monitoring, and business continuity tools.

Pasquale said that SMBs could utilize Unified Office's new IoT capabilities for an array of operational efficiency functions – including applications like ensuring compliance with food regulations and refrigerator temperature tracking.

Beyond basic monitoring functions, the platform's proactive and predictive analysis features will help restaurants to identify and eliminate component failure before it becomes a problem – a feature that is critical for the SMB market to improve their operations, said Pasquale.

Unified Office had long offered hybrid-based virtual communications services for the hospitality industry, but Pasquale said that IoT provides an additional opportunity for channel partners to differentiate themselves.

"The channel now has something valuable to offer their customers that extend beyond the standard old-fashioned features," he said. "Customers will love that channel partners can bring IoT capabilities to market."

Steve Hilton, principal analyst with MachNation, said "there is a great deal of hype and confusion surrounding IoT in the marketplace today," particularly in the SMB space.

"Companies like Unified Office that can provide a common user experience for IoT and other SMB applications will be able to deliver real business value to SMBs. Providing SMB customers with valuable and actionable real-time information will dramatically improve their operations," he said.

Pasquale said that the company is currently rolling out its IoT platform for customers.