IIMS 94 contents
[ IIMS 94 contents ]

It's a gas with multimedia: A case study in sales and decision support for SECWA gas

Danielle Conroy
Interactive Logic, Western Australia
At the start of 1994, Sales Representatives from the State Energy Commission of Western Australia (SECWA) Gas Marketing will introduce a portable laptop computer interactive multimedia presentation into the domestic market.

General aims of the presentation

The objectives of utilising an interactive multimedia approach are to support SECWA Gas and their Sales Representatives in: The Presentation supports the sales process and aids in creating a situation where the sales rep is more of an 'adviser' than a 'salesperson'. This is accomplished by

Current issues

The following issues were observed on field trips with the Reps and provided the basis for the solutions offered in the Presentation.

Target audience

The two major target groups were
  1. Existing Users of Gas: Customers who were connected to gas.
  2. New Users of Gas: Customers who were not connected to gas.

Presentation overview

The following provides detailed information on each of the components visually described in the Overview Flow diagram (see appendix) [Editorial note: An appendix was not given in the original publication].


The main menu for this Presentation is accessed through a 'pull down menu' operating from a title bar at the top of the screen. This allows access to any component of the Presentation instantaneously. The menu system allows:

Questions most asked

A list of the top ten questions posed by customers was compiled and the answers to these questions are accessed directly through a pull down menu. This function should enable: [* The laptop Presentation acts as a 'third party', adding a new dimension to the sales call and the overall sales dynamic. This allows the sales rep to act as an unbiased adviser whilst the computer is the information provider.]

Market research function

This function operates on an 'invisible' level and collects information on all aspects of the customer's/sales rep's movements around the Presentation. The information collected: All of this will aid SECWA in future marketing and business planning. The information collected includes: The sales rep needs to enter the name and address of the customer, this can be done before the sales rep enters the home. A database file is set up for that customer which contains all of the above information. Print outs of all information is possible.

Presentation components

1. Connection Diagrams

This component requires the sales rep to type measurements of rooms and properties, within and outside the house, in order to construct maps of the required connections with appropriate piping lengths, meter positions, outlet positions and placement of ventilation. The completed diagram is stored by the computer, printed easily and cleared as many times as required. It is also placed in a database for future reference if required. The resulting diagrams: There are two sub-sections in Connection Diagram:
  1. Street to meter position. This diagram covers the exterior connection from the street to the meter position allowing the sales rep to plan the connection and position of the meter box.
  2. Within house. A plan of the customer's residence can be constructed with positions for all bayonet points that are to be installed and required connections. Completed connection diagrams provide the basis for completing the customer's customised cost scenarios (see component '3').
The system provides a template for the street position and house position. The sales rep is required to mark on the template: The 'Within House' diagram is constructed by entering the dimensions of rooms and moving the rooms around on a 'grid' to get the basic map. The sales rep can then place bayonet points, appliances and piping onto the map from a 'template of options' at the side of the grid. This template includes: These diagrams can then be used as a basis for installation. All information on required piping. bayonet points and ventilation is automatically transferred to the cost scenario section and used to calculate the final quotation for the customer.

2. Show Room

The 'Show Room' provides information on all of the appliances currently on show at SECWA's Energy Information Centre in the city. The customer has the ability to choose from a list of requirements and the system will identify which appliances are suitable for their specific situation. On choosing an appliance, the recommended retail price (RRP) is then added into the 'Cost scenarios' to ensure efficient calculations. The 'Show Room' allows: The 'Show Room' contains a sub-menu which will branch off into sub-sections dependant upon the type of appliance being sought (eg. space heating). Templates defining customer's requirements are set up in each sub-section and the sales rep can take the customer through a range of questions which will define the models of appliances that meet their needs. The types of questions to be included in say 'space heating' for example are: Once the questions have been answered, the Presentation will select a list of appliances that meet the customer's requirements. The customer then has the option to view more information about each appliance/model in order to make their choice. The information to be provided on appliances is: Once the customer has chosen the appliance, the RRP for this appliance is automatically written into the appropriate 'cost scenario'.

3. Cost scenarios

This component involves the sales rep compiling the quotations and various installation/appliance cost scenarios for each customer. Information for piping, bayonet points, ventilation, etc, will be typed in by the sales rep and a final figure is calculated by the system. The ability to develop cost schedules should enable: The quotations calculated within this component are dependent upon the completion of the 'connection diagrams' and will provide the basis for the 'cost recovery' calculations. This component will also be supported by the 'show room', 'regulations' and 'market research' components of the Presentation.

The cost scenario schedules is also available as a spreadsheet with various components for the sales rep to enter. Information for piping requirements, bayonet points, etc can he input either from the mapping function or manually. Similarly, the cost for appliances can be automatically input from the 'Show Room' or an estimated price can be manually entered. Provision is made within the spreadsheet for ALL cost components of installation.

The sales rep can begin this cost scenario with the initial installation and then Move on and build an unlimited number of various scenarios for the customer so they can understand the cost implications of installing a range of appliances. The information collected here can then be used as a basis for the 'cost recovery' Component of the Presentation.

4. Regulations

The regulation component of the Presentation provides information on all relevant requirements for installing gas appliances into homes. Providing information on regulations allows: The regulations component also explains the requirements relevant to choosing appliances.

5. Cost Recovery

Customers are able to use this component to investigate their current energy use and the potential energy cost savings associated with installing various gas appliances into their homes. Aided by the sales rep, the customer can calculate the total costs for installing certain appliances in the 'cost scenario' section and offset these costs against the projected savings. The savings are either calculated individually, or a series of templates showing 'typical' savings can be viewed. The cost recovery calculations allows: For the 'individual' cost recovery option, the sales rep uses the customer's energy requirements to calculate the expected cost savings. The next step is then to use the costings built into the 'cost scenarios' and offset this against the cost savings calculated.

The cost recovery component is linked as described above to the 'cost scenario' component as well as having a cross reference to the 'gas versus other options' component so customers can see the other benefits of converting to gas.

6. Gas vs other options

This component outlines the advantages and disadvantages of using various types of energy sources (eg: wood, electricity, solar + gas, solar + electricity and gas) within the home. These comparisons cover various economical and environmental issues as well as highlight the major advantages of gas usage over other forms of energy. Providing such information enables: The information included within this section acts as support for the 'cost recovery' component and will be cross referenced to this component.

7. Why SECWA?

This section is aimed at supporting the decision for customers to utilise SECWA's services for all aspects of gas usage. This component allows: This section will provide information on:

Example presentation usage

Scenario one

Ms Brown is the new owner of a unit at the rear of a block of eight. She is unsure about the availability of gas. She has called SECWA to get a quote. The SECWA sales representative (SR) has accessed information regarding her block and discovered there is no current gas connections for any units within the block.

Scenario two

Mr Manning is married and the father of two teenagers. His home is already connected to gas for cooking. He is looking at replacing an old electric Hot Water System (HWS) with a gas HWS. He has called SECWA to get a quote for installation. The SECWA sales representative (SR) has accessed information regarding his existing connection.

Author: Danielle Conroy, Sales and Marketing Manager, Interactive Logic, PO Box 1, Scarborough WA 6019. Tel: 324 2188 Fax: 324 2189

Please cite as: Conroy, D. (1994). It's a gas with multimedia: A case study in sales and decision support for SECWA gas. In C. McBeath and R. Atkinson (Eds), Proceedings of the Second International Interactive Multimedia Symposium, 105-109. Perth, Western Australia, 23-28 January. Promaco Conventions. http://www.aset.org.au/confs/iims/1994/bc/conroy.html

[ IIMS 94 contents ] [ IIMS Main ] [ ASET home ]
This URL: http://www.aset.org.au/confs/iims/1994/bc/conroy.html
© 1994 Promaco Conventions. Reproduced by permission. Last revision: 3 Feb 2004. Editor: Roger Atkinson
Previous URL 30 Apr 2000 to 30 Sep 2002: http://cleo.murdoch.edu.au/gen/aset/confs/iims/94/bc/conroy.html