Vianet chief executive Stuart Darling has told M&C Report he sees huge potential in the managed pub sector for the company’s products as operators recognise the need for ‘big data’.

He said he wanted the company to be seen as more than just a flow-monitoring service provider and pointed to the rapid growth in sales of its iDraught package as proof that operators are demanding a more complex service.

The company reported 555 new beer monitoring installations in the year to 31 March but ended the year with a net loss of almost 900 installations.

Vianet has had commercial trails of iDraught with some “key managed pub retailers” with the objective of “determining how best to unlock the value lost through sub-optimal draught beer dispense”. However, despite the success of the trials roll out progress has been held back by M&A activity in the market.

Darling said he was confident that the company’s long-term strategy would see it remain relevant to the sector.

He said: “There is a lot of uncertainty in the pub sector and over the next year to 18 months pub companies will undoubtedly be adopting strategies to cope with the new legislative environment.

“What we are focussed on is delivering the tools that support that create great retailing and customer experience. Those tools have an enormous amount to offer managed and franchised sites as well as tenanted and leased.

“There is a need for big data because it’s a competitive market and you need to get ahead.”

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