Forecourt Trader - 30 years at the heart of the fuel retailing community

Peter Harding - Retail technology consultant

Many rumours abounded in 2013 about technology and what it could do for us. This year the push seems to be on three key technology areas and I bring a few to the fore in this article. The main emphasis falls into the following areas: mobile, wearable technology and 3D printing.

The advances in technology are inexorable. The time it takes to develop new ideas, concepts and actual product has shortened considerably over the past 10 years and this trend will continue with advances such as 3D printing. This is no longer 'pie in the sky'.

The idea of manufacturing companies utilising 3D printers for making small components is no longer a plan for the future. It is here today. Late last year companies were experimenting with printing food products. A complete pizza was printed. Medical components/replacements are also in use today. And a 3D printer can be bought for a few hundred pounds.

Advances in wearable technology have also been moving at a pace. Just look online at the plethora of devices available to assist us in everyday living, such as wireless blood pressure monitors, right the way through to smart socks that can tell how far you have travelled, temperature and stride length.

Software will predict if you are over exercising, a term you won't hear too often in the Harding household. Socks will be available in conjunction with various manufactures of trainers from next month.

With wearable technology, Bluetooth is currently used to communicate with your smartphone. This, in some ways, limits what can be produced creatively, but this will disappear with a new set of micro computers. Intel is developing a computer that's about the size of a current SD card. Circuitry is in development that can be made to be part of the fabric.

In our daily lives we are seeing a surge forward in TV technology. Not long after High Definition (HD) we are now seeing products that are curved, can be curved and produce five times better resolution than is currently available.

Finally, in retail technology, Fujitsu has developed a product to scan your palm at the point of sale to identify you and authorise payments. This system reads the vein structure in your palm, which is unique.

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Weekly retail fuel prices: 15 January 2018
RegionDieselLPGSuper ULUL
East124.9460.90131.85122.27
East Midlands124.34132.31121.54
London125.0662.90132.42122.10
North East123.94133.63121.07
North West124.1658.50132.51121.18
Northern Ireland123.4169.90128.40120.85
Scotland124.5774.90130.88121.33
South East125.1561.40132.52122.48
South West124.73130.24121.91
Wales124.44128.57121.19
West Midlands123.7465.23132.27121.20
Yorkshire & Humber123.9161.90132.74121.12

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