One of the biggest names in lighting (and especially in the new world of low-cost LED lighting), Philips is about to get into the real world of tech.
What Philips is devoloping right now is this super smart lighting system for stores that could communicate with the customer’s phone (a particular app) to guide him to buy things they want easily and quickly. Turns out, customers could also tell the phone what they want to cook for the dinner and the phone shall guide them to the ingredients they’d need for the particular dish!
How could this all work with lightbulbs, you ask? Basically: light has a whole bunch of different wavelengths, only some of which can be seen by human eyes. So these lights beam out just a tiny bit of data in a wavelength that we can’t see–but that your smartphone camera can. That little bit of data is then read by your phone in the same way as a QR code–a QR code gives your phone a URL, which your phone then translates to a video or whatever. Philips’s system works the same way.
Philips is demonstrating this very setup in a retailer in Dusseldorf, right now.
Menno Kleingeld, general manager for Philips’s indoor lighting business, told that the system won’t require you to point your phone at the lights; your phone picks up the special light frequency from ambient light. “You see more and more people with smartphones in their hands when shopping, anyway,” he says.
For Philips, it’s a futuristic way to pitch an expensive, futuristic lighting system (Philips hasn’t released pricing yet, but it won’t be cheap) to retailers who might otherwise opt for an $8 fluorescent bulb from Home Depot. And a way to compete with Apple, which has a similar system called iBeacon that’s already been rolled out in chains like Macy’s (iBeacon differs in that it uses Bluetooth rather than this cool light-data setup). We’d recommend Philips come up with a better name than “Philips Connected Retail Lighting System,” though.
[Feature Image: Grocery aisle via Joshua Rainey Photography / Shutterstock]