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Linux gas pump prints Google Maps

Nov 8, 2007 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 26 views

In further proof that you can never escape Google or interactive marketing, Gilbarco Veeder-Root announced Google support for its Encore gas pump's interactive displays. Gilbarco's Linux-based Applause media system now offers printable Google local business search, maps, driving directions, and… coupons.

(Click for larger view of the Gilbarco Encore gas pump)

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The Applause system lets customers view Google Maps and search Google's local business listings by category to find the nearest locations, says Gilbarco. Applause uses Gilbarco's Encore S color-screen display technology, which is based on “Intel processors and the Linux operating system,” the company confirmed. Encore offers multimedia, Web-based browsing, and multi-language support on the 10.4-inch, 640×480 screen. Touchscreen-like button inputs border the display on both sides.

Google's local business search

Applause is said to be an extension of Gilbarco's Smart Merchandising System, which displays promotions, advertisements, and coupons at the pump. According to Gilbarco, this content management system enables tracking, and fine-tuning of marketing, depending on the time of day. The Applause Google location finder extends this location-based marketing capability to nearby retailers.

The main draw for motorists, however, is likely to be the map system. Stated Kirsten Paust, vice president of global retail systems at Gilbarco, which makes “fuel-dispensing systems” in addition to the computers inside them, “Getting directions at the pump is safer than using Internet-enabled devices from the driver's seat, and far more reliable than just asking a stranger.”

Gilbarco also offers a related Smart Connect system, which enables remote troubleshooting and alarm monitoring. The Smart system can be controlled locally or remotely across a network of gas stations, according to the company.

“Smart Connect” system architecture
(Click to enlarge)

Linux within

In fine Google tradition, Gilbarco plans to release operating-system-independent SDKs (software development kit) for the Encore system, to encourage third-party development of applications for the system. In its Encore announcement in April, the company stated, “Open source/Linux represents the most significant all-encompassing and long-term trend in the software industry for faster application development and richer content.”

In other marketing materials, Gilbarco touted Linux advantages such as stability, adaptability, robustness, and small footprint. The company also suggested that the Encore dispenser's “robust Linux platform future-proofs your investment and helps you stay ahead of the competition.”

Gilbarco's competitors are also geeking up their gas pumps. Earlier this year, Dresser Wayne demonstrated the Ovation2 iX, a Windows CE-powered gas pump display system that offers WiFi-based Internet access and downloadable MP3s. See the Related Stories below for more Linux-based examples.

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