Philips challenges Apple’s iBeacon with ‘intelligent lighting system’ for shoppers

mistake or misdemeanor mother leaves two month old baby in a shopping cart supermarket

Philips looks set to take on Apple’s iBeacon technology with an intelligent lighting system designed to help shoppers find their way around a store while notifying them of special offers relevant to their location.

The Dutch tech company says its new system, which is being tested at this week’s Euroshop retail show in Düsseldorf, Germany, works with a companion app on a shopper’s smartphone and aims to give them “greater personal control of their shopping experience.”

The technology creates a dense communication network throughout a store via special lighting fixtures, each of which incorporates a location-sensing beacon. These start interacting with a shopper’s mobile device shortly after they enter the premises. Visitors will be able to bring up a map of the store on their display to more easily search out particular items, while location-based offers and information will be transmitted to the user’s phone as they move around the store.

‘Personal shopper’

Philips offers the following example of how someone might use its tech:

If a shopper plans to make a Mexican meal for dinner, the app on their smart phone can serve as a ‘personal shopper.’

It can point him or her to the aisle where they would find a jar of guacamole, or, if they preferred to make it fresh, plot a route through the aisles to the avocados, tomatoes, onions, chilies and limes. As the shopper approaches various products, the app could also introduce new brands available in the store or make suggestions for alternate recipes.

Of course, one of the drawbacks is that if your mobile is constantly bombarded with offers, coupons, “alternate recipes” and other information as you make your way around the store, reading and managing all the incoming data may end up turning your visit into an expedition rather than a brief errand, though perhaps with repeated use you’ll learn how to quickly separate the wheat from the chaff.

Commenting on the technology, Philips’ Gerben van der Lugt said, “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 light fixtures themselves can communicate this information by virtue of their presence everywhere in the store.”

While Philips hopes its system will help store visitors shop more efficiently, retailers could also benefit by building customer loyalty through targeted discounts and an improved shopping experience. Also, having Philips’ energy-efficient lighting installed should mean lower electricity bills at the end of the month.

An increasing number of tech firms and developers are looking at ways to help retailers interact with shoppers, with, for example, Apple’s iBeacon micro-location system offering similar features to store visitors, delivered by small transmitters located around the premises.

[Image: Shutterstock]

Philips-Connected-retail-lighting-system-infographic
Deals

The best Presidents’ Day vacuum deals: Roomba, Dyson, and Bissell

Amazon and Walmart are offering pretty substantial savings to help kick-start your spring cleaning. Top brands like Roomba, Dyson, and Bissell are dropping prices left and right for Presidents' Day.
Gaming

Here’s everything we know about the zombie-infested, survival horror Days Gone

Days Gone, the first PS4 title from Sony's Bend Studio, looks to offer a different type of zombie game. Here's everything we know about the forthcoming title, from the setting to its gameplay.
Movies & TV

Marvel’s streaming Loki series gets a plot summary and a showrunner

A Rick & Morty writer will oversee Marvel's Loki series for Disney Plus. Tom Hiddleston is expected to reprise his role for the show, while the series' premise offers a few hints as to how Loki might return from the dead.
Gaming

Feel the love this Valentine’s Day with these 12 romantic video games

In celebration of Valentine's Day, we take a look at games that offer heartfelt romances. From the Mass Effect series to Stardew Valley, each of these romantic video games offers a layered depiction of love and relationships.
Emerging Tech

How can digital art created on obsolete platforms be preserved?

As the lines between art and technology continue to blur, digital art experiences become more commonplace. But these developments are raising an important question for art conservationists: How should digital artworks be preserved?
Emerging Tech

Statistician raises red flag about reliability of machine learning techniques

Machine learning is everywhere in science and technology. But how reliable are these techniques really? A statistician argues that questions of accuracy and reproducibility of machine learning have not been fully addressed.
Emerging Tech

Here’s how Facebook taught its Portal A.I. to think like a Hollywood filmmaker

When Facebook introduced its Portal screen-enhanced smart speakers, it wanted to find a way to make video chat as intimate as sitting down for a conversation with a friend. Here's how it did it.
Emerging Tech

Chandra X-ray telescope uncovers evidence of the universe’s missing matter

Where is all of the matter in the universe? NASA's Chandra telescope has uncovered evidence of hot gas strands in the vicinity of a quasar which could explain the missing third of matter which has puzzled astronomers for years.
Emerging Tech

Wish you could fly? You totally can with these top-of-the-line drones

In just the past few years, drones have transformed from a geeky hobbyist affair to a full-on cultural phenomenon. Here's a no-nonsense rundown of the best drones you can buy right now, no matter what kind of flying you plan to do.
Emerging Tech

NASA’s space observatory will map the sky with unprecedented detail

NASA is preparing to launch a cutting-edge space observatory to create the most detailed map ever produced of the sky. Doing so will involve surveying hundreds of millions of galaxies. Here's how it plans to do it.
Smart Home

No strings attached: This levitating lamp uses science to defy gravity

Now on Kickstarter, the Levia lamp is a cool industrial-looking lamp which boasts a levitating bulb. Looking for a table light that will dazzle visitors? You've come to the right place.
Emerging Tech

The Great White Shark’s genome has been decoded, and it could help us end cancer

In a significant step for marine and genetic science, researchers have decoded the genome of the great white shark. The genetic code revealed a wealth of insight into what makes these creatures so successful from an evolutionary standpoint.
Emerging Tech

‘Guerrilla rainstorm’ warning system aims to prevent soakings, or worse

Japanese researchers have created a "guerrilla rainstorm" early-warning system aimed at preventing severe soakings, or worse. The team hopes to launch the system before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Mobile

Barbie’s Corvette ain’t got nothing on Sphero’s fully programmable robot car

Sphero is known for devices like the Sphero Bolt and BB-8 Star Wars toy, but now the company is back with another addition to its lineup -- the Sphero RVR. The RVR is a fully programmable robot car that can be expanding with different…