GE Creates Light Fixtures That Talk
With the advent of connected LED lighting, companies are working furiously to integrate new technology and functionality. While some companies like, Sony, with the LED light bulb speaker, are combining things we're already familiar with GE is taking things in a new direction. They're creating LED light fixtures that talks and hopes we'll listen and talk back.
Before you start loading up on earplugs, I should clarify that the conversation these lights will be having with you will take place through your phone. With the help of Qualcomm, GE is leveraging a technology called Visible Light Communication (VLC) that transmits data to and receives data from your phone using bluetooth and a corresponding app. The idea being that if you walked into a mall and passed in front of a store, they'd be able to send you a coupon for 30% off your purchase because of interests you've expressed, your location in the mall and the fact that sales are slow for that store on that particular day.
The applications aren't solely limited to getting people to buy more stuff, there's also the potential to provide remote customer assistance. There are a lot of stores where the location of products isn't uniform for each store (I'm looking at you Banana Republic!). If one of these fixtures detect you walking into a store you could be prompted with a map laying out everything by department so you can get in and get out without having to play hide-and-go-seek.
The most common application of a technology like this will be to track user location as they walk around a store. Retail stores are losing the war with the web so the people that actually do visit stores provide incredible insight to ensure that stores do the best job putting what you need where you need it so you feel less likely to walk out and order it online and more likely to leave with a receipt in hand and a product in one of their branded shopping bags.
Only time will tell if society deems this more creepy than cool but in the meantime it's exciting to see the advances continue in lighting.
[Image Credit - Huffington Post]