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Like all petrol station owners and franchise operators, our customer’s staff report daily on the fuel prices of surrounding competitors.

This process involves driving around the neighbourhood, writing down prices and faxing the information to head office, where it is inputted into a central database that calculates the day’s optimum pricing for the region. The process is cumbersome, labour-intensive and error-prone, and the company had no way of ascertaining whether the information was genuine.

Challenged to find a more streamlined solution, we responded by working collaboratively with an affiliate partner to develop a novel smart phone application. This combines the inbuilt camera functionality of the smart phone with optical character recognition (OCR) and geo-location technology based on Vodafone’s network intelligence and device GPS.

"This Development enables our customer to optimise its fuel pricing with confidence in the accuracy and validity if the competitive intelligence it receives." Bjoern Prochaska,

Innovation Champion, Central Europe, Vodafone Global Enterprise

Now, instead of writing down prices, the customer’s staff can take a photograph of competitors’ pricing at each fuel station, which is then translated into data by the text recognition software and sent directly to the database.

Automatic validation means that the data is genuine, because the photo is time-stamped and geo-located.