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A Smart Light Shopping Guide

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Philips suggests retailers should use LEDs for more than merely, well, lighting up the aisles-- at Euroshop 2014 the company shows off LED in-store lighting able to communicate location-based info to shoppers via smartphone app.

Smartphone StoreThe system uses lighting fixtures to form a network acting not only as illumination but also a positioning grid. Each fixture has a specific identity, and communicates its position to the app on shoppers' mobile devices. This allows them to get specific information based on their position, triggering location-based services as they move around the store.

Philips gives the example of a shopper wanting to make a Mexican meal. The app acts as a "personal shopper," pointing the user to the aisles where one can find particular ingredients, as well as make suggestions of newly-available brands or alternate recipes.

Visual light communication (VLC), the technology turning visible light into a data transmission medium, allows the LED lights to "talk" to smartphones.

“The beauty of the system is that retailers do not have to invest in additional infrastructure to house, power and support location beacons for indoor positioning," The company says. "The light fixtures themselves can communicate this information by virtue of their presence everywhere in the store."

The system can currently be seen in pilot form at a number of retailers.

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