A supermarket in France is lighting the way for a revolutionary new system of in-store illumination designed to expedite the shopping exercise.
The Philips-designed technology transmits codes with LED light waves that talk to a smartphone’s built-in camera. With it, shoppers can easily locate promotions and products.
An alternative to Bluetooth-based beacons — the latest technological darling of the retail environment — this innovation doesn’t require retailers to invest in infrastructure to house, power and support location beacons for indoor positioning.
It functions similarly to the ubiquitous GPS-based maps used outdoors. More, it compares favourably to wi-fi-based location systems, which are typically accurate to between three and five metres.
Installed at the colossal “hypermarket” EuraLille Carrefour, the navigation system effectively uses the light fixtures to form an indoor positioning grid. Each of the fitted LEDs transmits a distinct location code via light waves that are undetectable to the eye but can be picked up by a phone. When users open a compatible app and turn their phone cameras upwards, their phone will guide them to items on their shopping list and provide information relevant to their location about special offers, new products and recipes — all within one metre’s accuracy.
In all, this early-adopting store in Lille, France, is the beneficiary of 2.5 km of this lighting innovation.
As an added benefit, this inventive new lighting system consumes half the electricity the conventional lights it replaces did.
Other stores are expected to see the (same) light, as Philips rolls out the technology across Europe this year and in North America in 2016.