A supermarket in France has become the first in the world to install an "indoor positioning system" created by Philips. The LED-based technology acts like a sat-nav for shoppers, providing in-store directions to shopping list items via their phones.
Carrefour is one of the world's largest retailers. At its newly-refurbished hypermarket in Lille, fluorescent lighting has been replaced with 800 linear LED fixtures totaling 2.5 km (1.6 mi).
In addition to reducing the store's electricity usage by a projected 50 percent, the LED lighting has integrated Philips' Visible Light Communication technology. Using this, the light produced by each luminaire transmits a unique code that is undetectable to the human eye.
The code can, however, be picked picked up by the camera on shopper’s smartphone and read by Carrefour's accompanying iOS mobile app. Using the app, it is possible for shoppers to find out exactly where they're located in the huge store, navigate the 7,800 sq m (84,000 sq ft) shop-floor to find items they need and also be directed to promotions and products that are on offer.
In addition to the LED fixtures, the system comprises a cloud-based location database and a software development kit. Using the development kit, customers of Philips can build upon the location data to create their own tailored applications.
The system and accompanying app is available for store customers to use from today. The new system is outlined in the video below.
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