by CIO Staff

Digital Music – Gas Pumps of the Future Fill Up Your Car Stereo

Mar 01, 20072 mins
Consumer Electronics

MP3 files have proved a viable means for storing and listening to music for years. Yet many believe society has only scratched the surface of the capabilities that the digital files hold for the future of mankind. Why, for instance, are we currently living in a world where you can’t fill up your automobile with gas and download MP3s to your car stereo at the same time?

Finally (thank heavens!) that problem is being addressed.

At the Consumer Electronics Association trade show, Dresser Wayne, a manufacturer of fuel pumps, displayed how a customer could use a Bluetooth-enabled cell phone to download MP3s from the company’s Ovation iX fuel pump, then transfer the music to a Microsoft-enabled stereo system in a Lincoln Navigator. Dan Harrell, Dresser Wayne’s vice president of global product architecture, says the company is trying to capitalize on the few minutes of downtime people spend pumping gas. Dresser Wayne hopes the MP3 downloading will be the first step toward the gas pump becoming an Internet access station where drivers can, say, check the weather and run automotive diagnostics.

“Most of us drive cars and once or twice a week, we spend four to five minutes at the fuel dispenser,” Harrell says. “What are the opportunities in that time frame, when we’re usually wasting time, to do other things?”You won’t be downloading tunes this way in time for your summer vacation, though. Harrell says the technology remains at least three years away from any sort of widespread commercial viability.

Meanwhile, cellular providers like Verizon and Cingular (as well as car stereo manufacturers) will no doubt make it increasingly easier to download music directly, without the intervention of a pump. So it remains to be seen whether Dresser Wayne’s vision will ever materialize.

Our suggestion for your first MP3 download? A line in Styx’s “Mr. Roboto” comes to mind: “The problem’s plain to see: Too much technology.”