European electronics giant Philips has just unveiled a new technology, built into overhead lights, that is capable of tracking your exact location while indoors.
Philips’ connected retail lighting system essentially converts each overhead light to a uniquely identifiable point on an invisible grid. Your phone can see this grid via an app to determine your exact position in a store. That information is then shared with retailers to help provide you with enhanced services.
This technology, supermarkets could create detailed maps of the inside of their stores. If you’re struggling to find a bag of chips, overhead lights could soon give you GPS-style turn-by-turn directions. Or, if you’re walking past a jar of sauce, an app might offer a coupon and suggest a recipe you can make with items you’ve already grabbed.
Of course, any kind of tracking technology carries with it serious privacy concerns. With Philips lighting system, you, as the consumer, have to opt-in to tracking by using a store’s app. It’s the same model used by Apple’s iBeacon technology, which seems far more preferable to the more intrusive WiFi-based tracking method Nordstrom tested earlier last year.
The Daily Mail reports that Philips is currently testing the technology with “select retailers” in Europe.
[Woman shopping in supermarket via Shutterstock]