philips ledApple’s iBeacon platform is one of the ways that many believe will change the way we do our shopping in stores. Basically for those unfamiliar with the technology, it uses Bluetooth to detect when a customer is nearby, which in turn could prompt them on their phone with announcements such as discounts on a particular food product, and so on.

However Philips might have something up their sleeves too with the company’s LED bulbs which can also be used as an indoor navigation system. Recently over in France, a Carrefour supermarket has become the testing ground of Philips’ LED navigation system. How it works is that the LED bulbs can transmit codes via light waves.

These codes can then be picked up by a smartphone’s camera and in turn will help guide shoppers around the store. For example if you’re looking for the pasta section, the codes transmitted to your phone will determine your location and will then use nearby bulbs to guide you towards the section you’re looking for.

According to Carrefour executive Celine Martin, “Thanks to this new application, which uses Philips technology, we are now able to provide our customers at the EuraLille Carrefour with a new service, enabling them to quickly search and locate their preferred promotions or detect all the promotions around them.”

Of course there are pros and cons to using this system versus a beacon system, but as analyst Chris Green puts it, “You have to look at this as a long-term investment, but this is potentially an easier spend to swallow as you’re not just betting on one thing – you still have a good lighting system.”

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