Posted By Kristin Flandreau
Windows Embedded, Americas Business Group Lead
In my role working with Windows Embedded partners, I often get a front-row seat at the debut of some innovative intelligent-system solutions. This week, P97 Networks is launching a cool new cloud-based mobile commerce platform and site controller software at the Association for Convenience and Fuel Retailing (NACs) show in Atlanta, Georgia. Their intelligent system, called PetroZone, is built on Windows Azure, Microsoft Dynamics and Windows Embedded technologies, and integrates with third-party point-of-sale, electronic payment and fuel control servers.
Intelligent systems are enhancing the customer experience in all sorts of retail enterprises; with the PetroZone platform, P97 looks to transform the retail fueling and convenience store ecosystem. The system offers an enhanced mobile-shopping experience, options for lower fuel prices and opt-in personalized digital offers for in-store purchases. It gives oil companies and retail merchants the potential for increased margins and improved loyalty, and consumer packaged goods companies the opportunity to enhance the performance of marketing campaigns and increase product purchases by leveraging behavioral-marketing insights and social media.
The new system works by collecting payment and other information from consumers’ mobile phones and “connected cars” when they arrive at a retail fueling/convenience stores. The data flows through the Windows Embedded controller in the retail fueling forecourt back to the mobile ecommerce server running Microsoft Dynamics. From the consumer perspective, it’s pretty easy. They simply download the PetroZone-enabled app (usually white-labeled by branded oil companies or retailer merchants) which then allows them to drive up to a reserved gas dispenser/pump, and enter a four-digit passcode to start filling—no more waiting for prompts. The system uses a multi-factor authentication for security. While the system gathers purchase details, the consumer has already received personalized digital offers he/she opted into that can be used at the convenience store during the visit.