If you’ve ever thought the architects who plan grocery store aisles intentionally create impenetrable mazes, you’ll be happy to hear about Phillips’ grocery store GPS. The Dutch-based lighting company created an LED lighting system and app duo that directs any customer with a smart phone or tablet to their grocery store destination.
The technology is based on a visual light communication system () that pairs directly with an app. In theory, a grocery store would install LED lights that give out a VLC code, only discernable to the matching app. A user would punch in a particular product or brand and the camera on his smartphone or tablet would read the LED VLC codes and direct the user straight to the product. This would mean the end of the days of wandering through a sea of aisles, finding everything but what you’re looking for. But the app does other things, too.
Phillips’ app is considerably user-friendly. If a particular brand is sold out, it will make suggestions on other product options. If someone wants to make a certain dish, it will both give them a recipe and help them find the necessary ingredients in the grocery store. If you have a taste for something, it can also give you ideas. Lastly, the app will help you find relevant discounts to your in-store purchase.
The Carrefour grocery chain in Lille, France is the first supermarket to test out the futuristic technology. Phillips is also touring with the Euroshop trade show in Düsseldorf to promote its lighting system. With any hope, it will get rave reviews and grocery store shoppers can finally spend less than an hour during a supermarket trip.
Whether or not Phillips’ new VLC system is the winning ticket for changing the future of shopping or not, the idea has huge implications for the future of technology. Will the new face of customer service be an illuminated smart phone screen? Personal shoppers may also have to adapt with changing technology, as apps are allowing people to DIY easier than ever before. Whatever the prevailing technology will be, it’ll continue to liberate the human capacity to create even bigger and more fascinating things.
Every large building should have something like this... Internet of Buildings on the way for sure.
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