News, Retail

Software giant throws weight behind indoor positioning

Philips is set to unite with some big beasts of the lighting world to help indoor positioning take off.
Software giant Microsoft has been recruited by Philips to help indoor positioning reach a wider audience.

Philips is hiring leading software companies to help to develop indoor positioning technology, while embracing Bluetooth in addition to visible light communication, as a tool to make the fledgling technology a wide reaching reality.

To help broaden the number of real world applications of indoor positioning, Philips has announced the launch of a new initiative called the Location Lab, which sees the lighting giant partner with Microsoft, SAP and Capgemini, in an attempt to get the technology wider recognition.

Trials of the tech have so far been limited to Carrefour in France and Target in the United States, although it was recently announced by Osram at Lux’s Lighting Fixture Design Conference, that a trail of an indoor positioning system in Marc o’Polo stores in Switzerland had seen a 10 percent rise in the amount of money shoppers using the technology were spending in store.

Indoor positioning systems send signals to smartphones in order to guide people around retail stores and offices. The signals are sent by luminaires, either via VLC, which embeds signals in the lightwaves the luminaires emit, or via a Bluetooth chip fitted in the luminaire.

‘Our Location Lab partners are as important to us as apps to a smartphone,’ commented Parik Chopra, Philips Lighting’s segment leader for retail and hospitality.

‘The value a building owner derives from our indoor-positioning system increases with the number of complementary products and services we offer,’ Chopra continued.

Other members of the new club include location-based service software companies such as Favendo, Adactive, Vipera, Nakko, and Mapiq, as well as robotics company Blue Jay.

‘The Location Lab partner program enables collaboration with industry leaders and startups to explore novel uses of the Philips indoor-positioning system that appeal to innovation leaders in retail, malls, offices, and other industries,’ Philips commented in a press briefing.

Philips has also announced it is now working with Bluetooth technology in further attempts to improve indoor positioning’s reach.

The about-face comes after the company had firmly put its backing behind VLC as the technology best suited to advancing indoor positioning’s cause.

‘The market for indoor positioning is forecasted to triple by 2020, to over 1 million installations. Together with our Location Lab partners we are looking forward to offer scalable systems that fulfill the needs of this growing market,’ Chopra concluded.

  • Lux will be holding a Connected Lighting in Retail Conference at the Cavendish Centre in central London on the 27th of September 2017. The event will consider how connected lighting can be utilised to interact with shoppers and what new technologies are best suited to this task. The conference will also advise you on the best ways to become a player in this exciting emerging market. You find out more and register to attend by clicking here