STORY OF THE MONTH
Shell testing fuel station of the
future in Beijing
Customers can order and pay using their
in built touch screen. Orders are received
in store and then delivered to the car.
Imagine a filling station that can automatically
detect when a driver arrives
and the entire process, from selecting
fuel types to payment, can be done with
just a few taps on the car’s touchscreen
display. No cash, credit cards or smartphones
Well imagine no longer, as a Shell station
in Beijing is testing out that very technology,
through a joint venture between Alibaba
Group and SAIC Motor Corp, called Banma
Banma announced this month it will
launch the first “smart gas station” in China’s
capital within the first half of this year,
and then further expand the model to other
Leveraging its cloud computing technology,
Alibaba’s operating system for IoT
devices AliOS uses geo-fencing algorithms
to sense when a car pulls into a designated
spot alongside the pumps, and automatically
triggers the system.
The monitor lets consumers pick fuel
types, select the amount of fuel they need
and gives them the option to pay via Alipay
BY CHRISTINE CHOU, ALIZILA.COM
or via their Shell membership accounts.
Consumers can also purchase snacks and
other items from the station’s grocery store,
and have the station staff deliver the purchases
to their car. The new model can cut
the average 10-15 minutes spent at gas stations
by up to 50%, according to Shell.
Banma CEO Alex Shi said the partnership
is seeking a New Retail-driven business
model for filling stations that caters specifically
to cars that are connected to the internet.
“We want to realize the promise of connected
cars to enable the entire car and
travel industry. And through our collaboration
with Shell China, we want to empower
the energy sector to deliver exceptional
commuter experiences to car owners and
substantially improve work efficiency for gas
stations,” said Shi.
“The most important part of a journey -
even more important than the destination
itself - is how one reaches the destination.
This is why we have strived to satisfy Chinese
customers’ desires for quality travel
experiences,” said Rebecca Chan, vice
president of retail at Shell China.
The collaboration is Shell’s latest move in
the “innovation of cutting-edge digital experiences,”
said Chan. “We hope secure,
accessible Internet of Things technology,
paired with Shell stations’ quality products
and services, can bring customers delightful
experiences and inspire them to keep
exploring and discovering new everyday
Plans to include more customized services
are in the works, based on analytics
on consumer preferences and each gas
station’s product offerings, the oil company
said. Also, in the near future, members of
Shell’s loyalty program who own an internet
car powered by the latest version of AliOS
will be able to complete the entire process
in one click.
Alibaba unveiled its first internet car aimed
at expanding IoT to the automotive sector in
2016. Today, close to 400,000 internet cars
being driven in China are powered by AliOS.
Shell owns more than 43,000 fuel stations in
over 80 countries and regions, with about
1,300 stations in the Greater China Region,
overseeing the biggest international station
network in China.
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