The idea

Scent technology has come further than you’d think, and The Yankee Candle Company is leading the way. Recognizing an opportunity to reimagine themselves not just as a candle company but as a scent company, Yankee Candle partnered with Rocket Farm Studios to bring a more intelligent way to broadcast scents to places outside of the home. It’s called Scent Systems.

Scent Systems by Yankee Candle is a revolutionary Internet of Things (IoT) technology that helps retail, hospitality and other service companies integrate high quality, consistent ambient scent into their brand management program through connected devices.

“Our aim is to extend Yankee Candle to commercial environments,” said Todd Becker, COO of Yankee Candle Scent Systems. “Understanding how scent enhances the experience of people in their environments, corporations today want to put forth a brand beyond just their logos. We can help by providing them with a specific or custom scent for their spaces.”

Scentcasting, is their term for scenting specific zones of an environment through, for example, the building’s HVAC system. “If a customer walks into a building, they can catch one scent at the entry of the building, then another at the check-in desk, then enter a scent-free zone. We can cast the scent into an area in front of a display, as opposed to the whole place. It’s directional,” said Becker.

The scentcasting stations are all online, connected to each other, and controlled by an app on a mobile device; making this system by Yankee Candle the first of its kind to utilize the power of IoT. “A service person can check if each station is working properly, monitor liquid levels, control settings. Our competitors can’t do any of that, and they have a compliance rate of 60-70% while we’re close to 100%,” Becker said. “Say it’s a chain of 500 hotels. We can keep their environments scented consistently over time and over place, minute by minute. With this technology, we can ensure we’re delivering our promise to our customers.”

The design

The challenge was to design a mobile app that would give service agents the ability to control a vast array of stations. “The UI was definitely challenging; there were several aspects of complexity,” said Becker. “Rocket Farm did a great job working with us on the UI, to come up with one that was intuitive and straightforward to control our M-to-M (Machine to Machine) cloud. Then managing all the different mobile devices, from android to iOS, and getting that consistent look and feel, it all came together really well.”

Though connected devices have been around for decades, remotely controlling and monitoring devices that gather data and telemetry, and being able to push commands to them all from a smartphone was a design challenge unlike any other. But eventually an app was created that could tune scent concentration, report live fragrance levels, understand adaptive temperature and humidity control, and much more.

“[IoT] gave us further connection of technology to the end point of our business,” Becker summed up. “It makes the supply chain to customer process smoother, allowing us to replace cartridges not too late or too early. Service techs can be there because the stations called for one automatically. Our competitors just can’t do anything like that.”

the customer

"Rocket Farm was great to work with. Really smart people."

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