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  The Herman Trend Alert

March 7, 2001

Wireless Meets the Energy Crisis

Heard about our potential energy shortage crisis? Cries for alternative energy sources are mixed with moaning about an oil shortage. Petroleum products are in high demand for heating, manufacturing, vehicle fuel, lubricants, and more. Conservationists urge politicians and corporate moguls to find better ways to manage our resources. While the severity of an oil crisis depends on whom you talk to, it certainly makes sense to better manage the resources we have.

We do have abundant resources of petroleum products-in pipelines and storage tanks . . . . millions of petroleum product tanks around the world. Included in this huge figure are storage tanks at retail gasoline stations, home heating oil tanks, lubricant storage at automotive service facilities, propane tanks in all sorts of applications, and oil company tank farms across the world.

Here's the challenge. To manage these resources efficiently, it's important to have the products at the right place, in the right quantity, at the right time. Overfilling a tank is potentially a misuse of precious resources. If tank managers manage supplies too tightly, they risk running low at times of crucial need, resulting in unscheduled fillings that are often expensive.

The solution is to monitor supplies-tank levels-more efficiently. Current procedures range from a person looking into a tank to using dipsticks to employing remote monitoring systems to relay vital information through telephone lines. These approaches vary in effectiveness, accuracy, timeliness, and cost.

Enter wireless technology. Four years ago, wireless technology was first applied to gather and transmit volume data to central monitoring points. This exciting advance made a significant difference, but the need was greater. The next generation, led by Centeron, a division of Robertshaw, has introduced wireless direct sequence spread spectrum technology (DSSS) to enable more reliable communications over longer transmission distances. This development will have a dramatic impact on the industry, providing substantial improvements in the management of tank-stored resources around the globe. For more information,

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