Feature, Retail

Ten retail indoor positioning projects you need to know

Indoor positioning projects in retail are now popping up around the globe.

Indoor positioning is the next revolution that is set to reshape the world of retail. Be it Osram, Philips, GE or Zumtobel all the major players in the lighting world are developing their own interior navigation systems, that utilise bluetooth chips planted in lights or visible light communication (VLC) to send directional information to shoppers smart phones. The apps can then direct shoppers to special offers or products that particularly interest the shopper in question.

New indoor positioning projects in retail are now popping up around the globe and the initial results from these are often quite impressive. Here are Lux’s top ten indoor positioning projects that you need to know about.



10) Ginza Six Mall – Tokyo

Ginza Six is a massive 500,000-square-foot retail complex in Tokyo that is set to open in the next few weeks. Quite understandably some kind of guidance is going to be required to get shoppers around such a massive space and the owners have turned to indoor positioning to help.

StepInside, an indoor positioning system developed by Senion is being installed, which will show patrons the quickest route to a store via a smartphone app.

The mall is expecting up to 20 million people to visit the store every year, many of whom will be tourists unfamiliar with the sites layout.

The building’s management will use the data collected by the app to better understand the behaviour of visitors, helping authorities to develop better traffic flow management systems when the store opens.



9) CapitaLand Mall – Singapore

The CapitalLand Mall in Singapore is installing a Philips VLC based indoor positioning system.

Users are required to install an app on their smartphone and then allow the camera on their phone to pick up a light frequency emanating from the Philips lights installed around the mall.

The shopper’s location in the mall is then identified and directions are given, depending on where abouts in the estate the shopper wants to go. Retailers are also able to use the app to send out targeted marketing messages to shoppers.



8)E.Leclerc – Langon

Zumtobel joined forces with E.Leclerc Langon, a hypermarket in France, to launch an indoor positioning, smart parking and mobile push marketing app.

The existing lighting infrastructure has been adapted to offer the serrvices, by fitting the luminaries with sensors.

The Bluetooth beacons allows customer to locate their position and allows E.Leclerc Langon to send real-time push messages with customised offers, based on the customers current location in the store.

In the car park, the app can help a customer to locate available parking spots, or even find their way back to their car when they have finished shopping.


7) Tai Po Mega Mall – Hong Kong

Google has invested in several indoor location companies and the firm believes that that in time indoor positioning will be bigger than GPS, simply because people spend the great majority of their time indoors.

Google has created indoor maps of stores like the Tai Po Mega Mall in Hong Kong and other major worldwide retail destinations in preparation for the launch of the company’s head-mounted computer ‘Glass’ which will allow people to see directional arrows through glasses. 

Although it is still early days, there is the potential for Bluetooth chips embedded in light fittings to be able to provide information to feed Google Glass in the future.



6) Carrefour – Lille

Carrefour in Lille steer shoppers straight to discounts via the lights in the shop ceiling.

The €84 billion ($93.4 billion) retailer transmits digital information from LED lamps to customers’ smartphones via VLC provided by Philips. The system uses 800 programmable Philips LEDs.

VLC is able to encodes lightwaves with data about products and promotions, and transmits the information straight to the camera on a shoppers’ smartphone.

An app then displays the directional information, which helps to guide the consumer to the product’s location in the sprawling store.



5) Walmart – US-wide

Walmart is thought to be trialling Acuity Brands indoor positioning technology.

Acuity Brands claims that it has now deployed lighting-based indoor positioning systems (IPS) in swathes of retail space across the US.

Acuity Brands is thought to be developing indoor positioning products in conjunction with Microsoft.

The two companies are developing products that utilise lighting to communicating information to to shoppers smartphones.

Data the app collects is then sent to Microsoft’s Azure cloud system to allowing retailers to discern useful retail patterns and insights.



4) Aswaaq – Dubai

UAE supermarket chain Aswaaq became the first retailer in the Middle East to install connected lighting which communicates with its customers.

Its Dubai branch boasts a VLC based indoor positioning system, which allows shoppers to find items in the store to an accuracy of 30cm.

Smart-phone owners must first download the Aswaaq-branded app, which allows their phone to communicate with the individual light points transmitting their location through the high-frequency modulation of the light.

The data stream is one-way and no personal data is collected by the lighting system.



3) Target – US wide

American retail giant Target uses LED ceiling lights to track in-shop customers and guide them to relevant products via their smartphones.

The system is widespread and has been placed in nearly 100 Target stores.

The $73 billion chain told Lux that the scheme uses wireless signals that travel between LED lights and shoppers’ Android gadgets to spread directions and information related to products and special offers.

The 100 location deployment marks the largest known deployment of indoor positioning by any retailer to date and offers a good sign that the system can work and be worthwhile on a wide scale.



2) EDEKA Paschmann – Düsseldorf 

An EDEKA Paschmann supermarket in Düsseldorf became the first store in Germany to benefit from the new Philips’ indoor positioning system earlier in the year.

In collaboration with Favendo, Philips has developed a new smartphone app that gives shoppers access to location-based services, helping them to find items in the store, down to an accuracy of 30cm.

A range of newly introduced downlights and spotlights have been installed in the store, which are compatible with the Philips way-finding technology.

As well as providing location services and in-pocket notifications about discounts, the technology can also be used to collect data about where are the busiest areas in stores and analyse the routes customers take to find products. This allows retailers to make better decisions when it comes to store layout and marketing.

The Philips Lighting Bluetooth low energy (BLE) beacons, which allow the location system to work, are easy to integrate as they come with multiple powering options ranging from full integration into luminaires to track-mounted beacons.


1) Marc O’Polo – Switzerland-wide

The indoor positioning system installed as part of a trial in Marc O’Polo stores in Switzerland saw the average value of purchases made by customers rise by 10 per cent, the best evidence to date that indoor positioning could well revolutionise retail.

Osram Einstone technology was commissioned by the Bollag-Guggenheim Fashion Group to try and improve customer loyalty, whilst increasing the chances that customers would purchase products. The company wanted to develop a mobile phone app that would serve as a digital customer loyalty card, which would offer discounts and special offers locally using indoor positioning technology powered by the lights.



  • Lux will be holding a Connected Lighting in Retail Conference at the Cavendish Centre in central London on Wednesday 27 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