It’s still early days for Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and Apple’s iBeacon, but every day we’re seeing more and more examples of companies getting creative with the technology. In this case, Philips has unveiled in-store lighting that uses BLE beacons to trigger content and discounts on your smartphone.
The new lighting unit includes a built-in BLE beacon that can trigger location and product information to nearby smartphones. By opening up a custom smartphone app, shoppers are able to access in-store mapping and receive deals related to nearby products.
The intelligent lighting system is in direct competition with a range of BLE beacon suppliers such as Estimote, Kontakt and Gimbal. It’s an interesting play – enhancing existing in-store infrastructure with beacons to augment the customer experience – however it remains to be seen if Philips can compete with the low cost of other BLE beacon suppliers. We also suspect that most large retailers will opt for a custom beacon implementation that is tailored specifically to meet their individual needs. That being said, if Philips can integrate their connected lighting with existing retailer apps, then they just might be onto something. I guess only time will tell if this innovative direction by Philips will be a success.