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IT & Systems Management

Philips' intelligent supermarket lighting can help you find your groceries

Philips is piloting an intelligent supermarket lighting system that can help shoppers find their groceries based on their location in the store, the company said Monday.

The LED lighting system can be used by retailers to send location-based data to customers via an app, Philips said.

Besides helping users to locate groceries like avocados, coffee and eggs, the system can also be used to send promotional offers to shoppers, which are relevant to their location in the store. Targeted information and discount coupons can be displayed on phones at a precise position in the store "when shoppers need it most and are most receptive," Philips said.

The system uses lighting fixtures that form a dense network that acts as a positioning grid, Philips said, adding that each fixture is identifiable and able to communicate its position to an app on a shopper's smart device.

By integrating location services in the lighting system, retailers who want to offer location based services don't have to invest in additional infrastructure, Philips said.

Brick-and-mortar businesses are increasingly showing interest in what customers do inside their walls.

Ballparks in the U.S. for instance have opted for Apple's iBeacon technology that extends location-based services on iOS devices indoors. iBeacon can be used to monitor locations of customers using Bluetooth.

Several startups are offering indoor location based services as well. Much like Philips, they generally want to help businesses gather information about their customers, such as their dwell times at a location, and send promotions directly to mobile phones.

Philips is currently testing its system with retailers.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

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