May 19, 2020

Tim Hortons Gets Buzz From Concept Store

Tim Hortons
Marc Caira
marketing strategy
Concept store
Joel Cuttiford
3 min
Tim Hortons Gets Buzz From Concept Store

Tim Hortons has unveiled a new concept store tucked away in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre as part of an invite-only convention this week for storeowners and suppliers that will serve as a visual brainstorming session.

Chief operating officer David Clanachan commented on the store by saying, “It’s not your dad’s Tim Hortons, so to speak.”

The full-scale model offers a glimpse at where the franchise could be heading—apparently alongside the evolution of the Canadian palate.  Tim Hortons seems to feel that Canadians want more than just coffee, donuts and sandwiches.  Why not take it to the next level with coffee flavored beer?  The concoction is now on tap at the concept store along with strawberry flavored beer for those with a serious sweet tooth.  Tim Hortons is clearly thinking creatively in order to stay competitive.

“Our franchise partners are all going to be here,” Clanachan explained.  “We want them to think outside the box, along with us, to say ‘What if…’ and ‘What could we be?’”

The company has even drawn up a potential design for a new logo consisting of a single bright red coffee bean.  Some of their ideas will never extend outside of the concept store, but those that work could end up in your neighbourhood store within the next few years.  Tim Hortons showcased digital menu boards at its previous concept store seven years ago, and they have only recently become part of the store design.

Redefining itself may be a challenge for a chain that has otherwise relied on brand recognition, but as more companies vie for the top spot in the Canadian coffee market, the company has no choice but to further distinguish itself.

“The consumer is much more savvy today than they have ever been in the past,” Clanachan said.  “They have opinions on what they’re looking for, and they have high expectations.”

Menu options may be the most immediate change throughout the chain.  The concept store offers omelets, breakfast crepes, cupcakes and cookies.  These items can all be ordered from touchscreen menus installed on tabletops.

Customers who are registered with a future version of the Timmy Me smartphone app would be able to opt for a more personalized experience.  The app will remember the customer’s name and their favourite food items, which could potentially reduce the time it takes to order both in the store and the drive-thru.  Those in a hurry can also choose from a grab-and-go section of food that ranges from sandwiches and salads to hot food items.

Aesthetic changes to the store are more obvious, including the structure of the building, which is made of glass and wood panels.  The transparency offers more visibility, particularly to the kitchen area, and the lighting adjusts to the time of day for added ambience.

Depending on how well they test, the company may incorporate some of these changes to the chain sooner than they have in the past.  “I envision a lot of what you see here being implemented not too far down the road,” CEO Marc Caira said.

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Jun 21, 2021

How AWS helps NASCAR delight its fans

AWS
NASCAR
3 min
Customer obsession and working backwards from the customer is a mantra of Amazon Web Services (AWS), epitomizing its partnership with NASCAR

AWS needs no introduction to readers of Technology Magazine but we rarely get an opportunity to look closely at how it serves the sports sector. All major sports draw in a huge supporter base that they want to nurture and support. Technology is the key to every major sports organization and enabling this is the driving force for AWS, says Matt Hurst, Head of Global Sports Marketing and Communications for AWS. “In sports, as in every industry, machine learning and artificial intelligence and high performance computing are helping to usher in the next wave of technical sports innovation.”

AWS approaches sports in three principal areas. “The first is unlocking data’s potential: leagues and teams hold vast amounts of data and AWS is enabling them to analyze that data at scale and make better, more informed decisions. The second is engaging and delighting fans: with AWS fans are getting deeper insights through visually compelling on-screen graphics and interactive Second Screen experiences. And the third is rapidly improving sports performance: leagues and teams are using AWS to innovate like never before.”

Among the many global brands that partner with AWS are Germany's Bundesliga, the NFL, F1, the NHL, the PGA Tour and of course NASCAR. NASCAR has worked with AWS on its digital transformation (migrating it's 18 petabyte video archive containing 70 years of historical footage to AWS), to optimize its cloud data center operations and to enable its global brand expansion. AWS Media Services powers the NASCAR Drive mobile app, delivering broadcast-quality content for more than 80 million fans worldwide. The platform, including AWS Elemental MediaLive and AWS Elemental MediaStore, helps NASCAR provide fans instant access to the driver’s view of the race track during races, augmented by audio and a continually updated leaderboard. “And NASCAR will use our flagship machine learning service Amazon SageMaker to train deep learning models to enhance metadata and video analytics.”

Using AWS artificial intelligence and machine learning, NASCAR aims to deliver even more fan experiences that they'd never have anticipated. “Just imagine a race between Dale Earnhardt Sr and Dale Jr at Talladega! There's a bright future, and we're looking forward to working with NASCAR, helping them tap into AWS technology to continue to digitally transform, innovate and create even more fan experiences.”

Just as AWS is helping NASCAR bridge that historical gap between the legacy architecture and new technology, more customers are using AWS for machine learning than any other provider. As an example, who would have thought five years ago that NFL would be using  ML to predict and prevent injury to its players? Since 2017, the league has utilized AWS as its official cloud and ML provider for the NFL Next Gen Stats (NGS) platform, which provides real-time location data, speed, and acceleration for every player during every play on every inch of the field. “One of the most potentially revolutionary components of the NFL-AWS partnership,” says Matt Hurst, “is the development of the 'Digital Athlete,' a computer simulation model that can be used to replicate infinite scenarios within the game environment—including variations by position and environmental factors, emphasizing the league's commitment to player safety.”

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