Subject: Coming to the Gas Station near you!
Date: 2/5/2001 8:02:35 PM (GMT-7)
IP Address: 188.8.131.52
Pumps Will Deliver More Than Just Gas
Ten Square's network allows drivers to download coupons, videos, and MP3s while waiting for gas.
Ephraim Schwartz, InfoWorld.com
Monday, February 05, 2001
"Fill 'er up" may take on a new meaning at the gas pump after Ten Square officially rolls out its point-of-sale network this week.
Called the OuterNet network, the system will allow drivers to do everything from downloading a coupon for a free cup of coffee to selecting MP3 and video files from the dispenser screen and downloading them wirelessly. The aim is to achieve this in the approximately 240 seconds that it takes the average gas tank to fill.
With deals already in place with all the leading petroleum companies, including BP Amoco, Texaco, and Chevron, and all of the gas dispenser manufacturers, Ten Square projects reaching 150 million consumers by the end of 2001.
Chief Executive Scott Slinker sees his company as the Microsoft of point-of-sale devices.
"It is true we are positioned similar to a Microsoft, not necessarily a bad thing, as long as our system is open. Anyone can sign on as long as they are certified. We put the power in the hands of the merchant and the consumer," Slinker says.
In order to get their marketing message on gas pumps, ATM and vending machines, and screen-based credit card verifiers, content providers will partner with Ten Square in a revenue-sharing model.
Ten Square is concentrating its network -- which consists of the interactive point-of-sale device, a local server at the gas station, and Ten Square's global processing center -- on what it calls petroleum facilities, rather than old-fashioned gas stations.
A petroleum facility usually includes a convenience store and a fast-food restaurant. The difference in scale between the two categories is dramatic. While the average gas station pumps 1.3 million gallons of gas a year, a recent survey of pumps owned by Wal-Mart at their locations indicated Wal-Mart pumps dispense 1.3 million gallons in a single month, Slinker said.
"But convenience store operators want to do more than sell gas. They want to drive customers into the store," Slinker says.
The store and the major brands such as Coke, Nabisco, and Colgate will use the Ten Square network to provide marketing content in the form of coupons, loyalty points for purchases, personalized news, and giveaways on pumps and ATM and vending machines at the petroleum facilities.
On Monday the company will also announce a deal with Sensoria, in Rancho Bernardo, California, makers of embedded networking systems for the auto industry.
Sensoria is currently piloting its in-vehicle AutoWins network with a number of auto OEMs and will roll it out this summer. The partnership will allow consumers who pull up to a Ten Square-enabled pump to download MP3 and video files at 11 megabits per second through a wireless RF 2.4-GHz connection.
"It is the convenience store that has the RF wireless access, and it paints the entire retail footprint at the gas station, including the pumps," says Brian Davis, vice president of marketing for Sensoria.
An MP3 file can be downloaded from the Ten Square-enabled pump to the Sensoria-enabled car in about one minute. In addition, 15 minutes of coming movie attractions or local video events can be downloaded in about a minute as well, Davis says.
The Sensoria network also aggregates more than 300 diagnostic touchpoints inside the car. Using the high bandwidth of Ten Square, AutoWins can send relevant diagnostic information from the car to the pump's screen. Consumers might receive messages that an oil change is needed, a gas cap was left off, or the tires are incorrectly inflated.