Hack Your Taps
Here at Kegtron merging cool tech and beer is what we do. After all, that’s what our Smart Keg Monitors are all about. It’s always been our goal to deliver products that are easy to use for anyone, but some folks want to take things a step further. Customize, enhance, mess around. Add a blower to your Ford Pinto. We get it.
If you fall into this category and have some software skills, we offer a few tools for your shop:
Our Gen 1 Keg Monitors are our easiest to use products, especially when it comes to setup. This is due in large part to Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). It’s simple, requires no pairing or network configuration – it just works.
With this simplicity comes limitations: exporting data is not as easy as conventional TCP/IP connectivity is not available. The data is still available, you just need to have the right hardware and software to collect it. Our BLE Message Format Specification spells out exactly how to grab this data that is sent from your keg monitor.
How it Works
Your keg monitor device constantly broadcasts its vital keg stats to anyone that might be listening. In BLE-speak this is called advertising. This is behavior is similar to other BLE devices such as iBeacons.
If you have a BLE-enabled device (e.g. phone, Raspberry Pi or BLE-capable PC/Mac) operating in the ‘central’ role your can capture this keg data for your own use. Kegtron customer Sharath built an Android app that captures his keg monitor stats and pushes it to a web page. Check out his handiwork here on Github.
The BLE advertising mechanism works well, but has its limitations. When it comes to implementation flexibility, there’s no substitute for true software API. Fortunately, Kegtron Pro has it. The addition of WiFi + cloud capabilities enables the use of a conventional REST API to access and control all of your keg monitors. Anything you can do from the Cloud Dashboard can be had directly from the API.
APIs can be used for both fun and profit, depending on your needs. The Pourwall Digital Taplist is a great example of integrating two platforms together using an API. Any software platform that supports conventional HTTP POST and GET calls messaging can take advantage of it.
How Will You Use It?
Let’s face it, coding is not for everyone and by no means required to make full use of your keg monitors. However, if you have the software chops and some time to code, you too can take your taps to the next level.