Gilbarco's New Mobile Technology Brings Home the 'Beacon'
Testing method of communicating from pump to cellphones
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- A major pump manufacturer has announced the incorporation of "beacon" technology to allow for pump-to-cellphone communications at gas stations and convenience stores.
This year, Gilbarco Veeder-Root said that it is testing new pumps that use technology from San Diego-based Qualcomm, specifically its "beacon" communication method, to deliver highly personalized news, information and advertisements on screens built into gasoline pumps.
"Consumers sit there for two to four minutes doing nothing [while filling up their tanks]," Travis Bouck, vice president of marketing for Gilbacro, Greensboro, N.C., told The Washington Post. "We've invested a lot of effort to make that two to four minutes more meaningful."
Gilbarco is also currently doing a test in Minnesota where motorists can purchase lottery tickets at the pump.
"For us it's all about giving that retailer more interaction with the consumer and creating more engagement points and giving consumers something as well," Bouck said.
Gilbarco is not the only company developing solutions using beacon technology. Other pump manufacturers and third-party players are developing options for retailers. One such provider is Los Angeles-based SkuRun Inc., which is gearing up to provide the hardware to execute the beacon communication method and is currently developing a content component for the future.
Speaking to CSP Daily News, Ralph Acosta with SkuRun said the technology involves a low-energy Bluetooth signal. Many people are familiar with Bluetooth as a way to connect headsets to their cellphones for hands-free calls. The signal needs to be heard, he said, so the phone has to have a mobile application, or app, and its Bluetooth needs to be activated to pick up the message.
The opportunity for retailers and suppliers of branded product to reach out to consumers is vast, Acosta said.
As for Gilbarco, officials say beacon messages tied to its in-pump screens are a way for stations to lure customers into the c-store for additional purchases.
Gilbarco Veeder-Root is a leader in retail and commercial fueling operations technology. The Greensboro, N.C.-based company offers a broad range of integrated solutions from the forecourt to the c-store and head office.