Want an MP3 with that fill-up?
That’s the technology behind the big winner at an IT development conference in Las Vegas. It’s the Ovation iX fuel dispenser, and it has taken top honors at Microsoft’s Mobile & Embedded DevCon.
The Windows CE operating system powers the computer-controlled gas pump. Among the features are a 10.4-inch color display that plays as many full-length, high-resolution commercials as you care to look at while you’re waiting for you gas tank to fill up. You can check traffic reports at nearby intersections or town. You can even get promotional coupons from a built-in printer.
But that’s not all. No, those are the more pedestrian elements of the pump. The real reason that Dresser Wayne of Austin, Texas, won the OEM Embedded Partner of the Year award is the pump’s connectivity features. You see, the pump is wired into a computer in the gas station’s convenience store. You can, while standing at the pump, pay for your gas, buy a cup of coffee, buy a lottery ticket, and (wait for it) even download digital music.
The pump can run a quick diagnostic on your car, tell you when it’s time for an oil change, and even print out coupons good for use at nearby service stations.
The pump is also a bit of a self-regulator, too, routinely checking itself for low fuel levels and maintenance problems and alerting the main computer when needed.
Neil Thomas, president of dresser Wayne had this to say, with an emphasis on both sides of the equation: “Every day, tens of millions of Americans spend five minutes filling their tanks. If we can make those five minutes their most productive of the day, we not only add significant value to the consumer experience, we also help fuel retailers maximize the return on their technological investment.”