Not so very long ago, the friendly neighborhood supermarket had a security guard who would greet you in recognition and the store assistants could guide you since they knew what you usually bought. However, the introduction of huge shopping malls with their multiple floors has done away with anyone able to recognize even frequent customers, making the whole affair of shopping completely impersonal.
However, things are about to change. GE Lighting and ByteLight are harnessing the next generation of LED lighting fixtures to communicate with the smart devices of shoppers while they are in-store. Very soon, shoppers will be greeted with personal messages starting from the parking lot. As shoppers move about within the store, they will receive an easy-to-follow map on their devices to help them optimize their shopping time. The store will offer repeat customers a personalized shopping list along with information on promotions and coupons based on their shopping history, current position and direction on the aisle.
Customers will be able to see reviews, play product information videos and connect with virtual associates on-demand to make their brand choice easier. ByteLight has developed this technology by combining VLC or Visible Light Communication, BLE or Bluetooth Low Energy and inertial sensors. They can determine not only the precise location of the shopper on the aisle, but even the direction the person is facing.
The patented ByteLight LED indoor location technology offers several advantages to both shoppers and retailers. It brings the retailer faster ROI as existing lighting infrastructure can be used and no additional equipment is necessary. It has an accuracy of three feet in determining the location and direction of the shopper anywhere there is light. It can connect to any shopper who has a mobile device equipped with Bluetooth and/or camera. ByteLight, being powered by the light fixture, does not require batteries and hence, is maintenance free.
According to Dan Ryan, the CEO and Co-founder of ByteLight, the value proposition for digital LED lighting is shifting from providing illumination to offering innovative services and applications. They are reinventing LED lighting to provide a platform for indoor-location services. Not only will this revolutionize the in-store shopping experience, LEDs will play a strategic role in the experience of customers in connected retail.
GE is providing the lighting fixtures that ByteLight will be using for their location-based services. It amply demonstrates how simple LEDs can be used beyond their traditional ROI of maintenance and energy savings to change the fundamental way of how people shop by combining information with location.
Shoppers will be using an opt-in application on their smartphones or tablets. The app will be powered by ByteLight and together with the indoor location technology embedded within the GE LED fixtures, will deliver to the shopper high value applications based on their current location and the items they are presently watching.
This comprehensive approach will help retailers reach out to an even broader number of shoppers across the largest area – starting from the parking lot and continuing anywhere within the store where there is LED light. That means, retailers will have continuous ROI on their GE lighting and at the same time, this will provide a strategic platform for the futuristic connected retail store.