GREENSBORO, N.C. —Amazon’s ability to provide a connected experience to consumers is well-known. But the potential for the retail fueling industry is just being uncovered through the internet giant’s tech partnership with fueling systems manufacturer Gilbarco Veeder-Root, Greensboro, N.C.
Gilbarco’s partnership with Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS), a subsidiary of Seattle-based Amazon, started around 2012, when the internet giant was beginning to build out its cloud platform. Taking full advantage of AWS’ services has allowed Gilbarco to focus on workflow solutions through its Houston-based Insite360 business unit and platform.
“In the past, we developed platform components that sit on top of the AWS infrastructure,” Gaston Berrio, vice president of global engineering for Veeder-Root and CTO of Insite360, told CSP Daily News. “The break for us is to leverage infrastructure and platform as a service that AWS provides so we can really focus on our core competency and domain expertise on solving customer and industry problems and delivering best-of-breed solutions.”
AWS’ cloud platform and internet of things capabilities help power Insite360’s upgraded Inform site management platform, which includes a single dashboard for real-time pump monitoring, in-store device management and fuel logistics functionality.
And Insite360 is leveraging AWS’ artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics capabilities to help with everything from replacing fueling components before they break to catching and stopping theft in real time. Here are a few examples in practice:
- Preventive maintenance. One thing that can slow the fueling experience is clogged fuel filters. By harnessing advanced algorithms and analytics, Insite 360 can crunch historic sales transaction data and diagnostics from a site’s fuel dispensers to predict maintenance needs, such as which dispensers’ fuel filters should be prioritized for cleaning or replacement, “so we never have an experience where the consumer says, ‘Why is it taking so long to pump?’ ” Robinson said. Similarly, these capabilities can help predict the failure of card readers or when receipt paper may run out, so operators can get in front of a situation that would prevent a consistent consumer experience—or require a store employee’s intervention.
- Fuel tracking. Insite360 is able to apply AWS machine learning and analytics capabilities to optimize the fuel supply chain. For example, the tech can highlight which sites may be losing fuel, whether through a leak or theft. Algorithms can identify fuel loss due to equipment calibration issues, theft and fraud, or identify sudden-loss incidents in as close to real time as possible, Robinson said.
“With machine learning and analytics, we hope to reduce it from within minutes to seconds,” he said. “Every second counts, every point in time counts.” This capability is supplemented by sensors in Gilbarco fuel dispensers that can immediately detect and warn a retailer of unauthorized entry events.
“Being able to use machine intelligence to track every gallon of fuel from the terminal to the car allows us to make sure retailers capture every dollar, but also in an environmentally responsible way to make sure no drops of fuel leak into the environment,” said Robinson.
As Gilbarco Veeder-Root sees it, the application of AWS’ cloud and machine learning capabilities has limitless potential.
“The speed and acceleration that a partnership with AWS has allowed us—not only with our devices on the edge level but also through the cloud—is phenomenal,” Robinson said. Insite360’s ultimate goal is to connect every intelligent device at a fueling site to the cloud and apply AI to the data collected to provide insights enabling improved customer service and operations efficiency.
“This enables Insite360 to be considered a trusted provider of a connected experience, in the same way that Amazon is a trusted provider of a connected experience to consumers in home, cars and in office,” Robinson said. “We are looking to expand the similar connected, seamless experience to fuel retailers so they can connect to every device on site to provide more value.”