Costa Express: Fuelling Success with IoT Innovation

Nick Earle

CEO & Chairman


Costa Coffee is a prominent supplier of high-quality beverages in a fiercely competitive and ever-changing market. Fuelled by a desire for expansion and a commitment to innovation, Costa has rapidly expanded its market share through innovation, introducing Costa Express and self-service vending machines.

Martyn Dawes, creator of Costa Express, was inspired by the popularity of photocopiers in American convenience stores, Dawes envisioned a similar model for high-quality coffee makers.

The idea of ‘on-the-go’ coffee has significantly elevated Costa’s brand visibility and market reach. Today, Costa Express operates in 17 international markets and has 13,500 machines stationed all over the world. It turns over a £70 million profit, eight times the earnings of Costa’s 2,500 UK cafes. 

What became evident was that when people tried it, they thought, ‘You know what? This coffee is as good as high street coffee.” – Martyn Dawes, Costa Express Founder.

Being a premium brand, the machines need to mirror the quality, service, and experience offered by barista-made coffee in the store. Costa Express required the implementation of a comprehensive IoT connectivity managed service.

Initially, Cost Express explored various connectivity options, such as on-site Ethernet or over-the-air (OTA) cellular connection. However, relying on Ethernet meant depending on the site owner, typically a convenience store or forecourt operator, which increased the risk of connectivity issues. This could result in a disrupted connection, potentially causing lost business, and unhappy customers, necessitating an expensive engineer site visit.

That’s why Costa Express turned to Eseye. Our highly available, reliable global cellular IoT connectivity guarantees a robust and expanded network coverage in each geographical region, enabling close to 100% connectivity uptime, and delivering a premium experience for their customers.

Coffee Vending Delivered through Multi-RAT Technology

Costa Express machines are fitted with, Eseye’s Hera 604 IoT router and AnyNet+ SIM which work together hand-in-hand. The Hera router supports multiple radio-access types (RAT), including 3G, 4G/LTE, and Wi-Fi. Eseye’s AnyNet+ SIM connects to any mobile network, enabling cellular data access and immediate communication with back-end systems upon machine activations through our access to over 700 mobile networks in 190 countries.

The Hera router seamlessly integrates and links to over 90 sensors, including health monitoring, local synchronization, and data route information. This real-time data allows the calculation of profit shares and drink sales monitoring. Tailored specifically for Costa Express machines, it positions them as among the most sophisticated in the market, reflecting the premium quality associated with the Costa brand image.

Costa Express can maintain its machines easily thanks to our Hera router. The smart vending machines promptly report issues directly to the Costa Express platform in real time. This helps to facilitate rapid problem diagnosis by alerting engineers to any fault. The basis for this is an elaborate alarming system: detected error messages from the machines are pre-processed and then transferred to the IoT platform and triaged according to priority.  

Leveraging real-time telemetry for continual operational monitoring and preventative maintenance not only reduces service costs but also enhances overall availability. This, coupled with low-latency over-the-air (OTA) device communication, empowers Costa to create a seamless and personalized shopping experience through on-screen marketing, ultimately contributing to heightened customer satisfaction.

Costa Express’s remarkable success has ushered in a new era of coffee enjoyment, providing customers the freedom to enjoy premium coffee wherever and whenever they desire. It’s no surprise that competitors like Starbucks and Pret a Manger are now taking similar strides.

Iced coffee now constitutes one in every five global coffee purchases, including options like milk coolers or fruit cordials. To stay ahead in this evolving market, Costa Express is launching the world’s first self-serve machine offering both hot and iced drinks, centrally managed through its IoT platform.

Under the ownership of Coca-Cola, Costa Express aims to bolster its global market position and continue pioneering IoT-based machine innovations.

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IoT Hardware and Connectivity Specialists


Eseye brings decades of end-to-end expertise to integrate and optimise IoT connectivity delivering near 100% uptime. From idea to implementation and beyond, we deliver lasting value from IoT. Nobody does IoT better.

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