Carrefour in France Installs Philips LED-based Indoor Positioning System

  • World first: retail giant Carrefour will use Philips LED supermarket lighting to deliver location-based services to shoppers’ smartphones.
  • Philips connected lighting acts like an indoor GPS, transmitting location information to an app which triggers location-based services.
  • Revolutionary Philips LED-based indoor positioning technology is easy to scale, accurate to a sub-meter, does not require additional hardware investments besides the light fixtures themselves, and offers 50% energy savings.

Royal Philips, the global leader in lighting, announces today the world’s first major install of its connected lighting system with LED-based indoor positioning for Carrefour, the leading retailer in Europe and the third-largest in the world. The newly refurbished Carrefour hypermarket in Lille, France has replaced its previous fluorescent lighting with 2.5 kilometers of energy efficient Philips LED lighting that uses light to transmit a location signal to a shopper’s smartphone, triggering an app to provide location-based services.

The Philips system enables Carrefour to provide new services to its customers, such as helping shoppers to navigate and find promotions across the 7,800 square meter shop floor. In addition, the LED lighting will reduce by 50% the total lighting-based electricity consumption of the hypermarket.

Consumers at Carrefour can find objects by swipping their smartphones. (Philips/LEDinside)

“We are always on the lookout for innovations to facilitate customers’ navigation in our stores and meet consumers’ expectations,” commented Céline Martin, Director of Commercial Models and Innovation for Carrefour hypermarkets in France. “Thanks to this new application, which uses Philips technology, we are now able to provide our customers at the EuraLille Carrefour with a new service, enabling them to quickly search and locate their preferred promotions or detect all the promotions around them when in-store. A real time-saver for an urban customer base!”

Philips indoor positioning system consists of LED fixtures, a cloud based location database and a Philips software development kit upon which customers can build their mobile interaction platform.  The system in operation at the Carrefour hypermarket in Lille comprises 800 linear LED fixtures that use patented Philips VLC (Visible Light Communication) technology to transmit a unique code through light that is undetectable to the human eye but can be simply detected with a smartphone camera, without the need for any additional accessories. As part of the installation, Philips software and cloud-based location database has been integrated into Carrefour’s mobile app. The “Promo C’ou” mobile app was created by Think&Go and can be downloaded from today from Apple’s App Store in France.

“We are leading the way with connected lighting for retail with Carrefour,” comments Gerben van der Lugt, Head of LED-based indoor positioning at Philips Lighting. “Our connected lighting system has the potential to transform shopping into a more interactive and personalized experience. At the same time it will enable retailers to differentiate themselves, enhance customer loyalty and provide new services to shoppers.”


A woman uses her smartphone connected to Philips indoor positioning system to locate groceries at Carrefour in France. (Philips/LEDinside)

In-store navigation to enhance the shopper experience and grow sales.

According to studies¹, smartphone penetration is expected to exceed 79% in Western Europe and North America by 2017. The influence of mobile devices on shoppers’ in-store purchase decisions is increasing with 68% of shoppers already reported to use their mobile phones to browse, shop, or find product information when out shopping. Uptake of near-shelf couponing technology, which delivers tailored information to shoppers at the point of sale, is also growing with 56% of US supermarkets expecting to deploy this technology in the next year.

Indoor positioning can support a range of location-based services that make shopping a much more interactive, personalized, and fun experience. These services can include way finding, product finding, and personal couponing. In this way, retailers can offer shoppers personalized experiences to increase satisfaction, improve customer service, encourage brand loyalty and, ultimately, drive sales.

Furthermore, indoor positioning can add value for retailers in terms of staff efficiency. Staff can locate and find products more easily, can tag issue reports with location information, and can get location based re-stocking instructions. Transmission of positioning data even works when the lighting is dimmed. Once installed, access to location information can be controlled by the retailer so they can directly manage the customer or staff experience.

A woman finds the item she is looking for with Philips indoor positioning system at Carrefour in France. (Philips/LEDinside)

Privacy Protected

The Philips patented indoor positioning system does not read information on a shopper’s smartphone. Each light fixture transmits a one-way stream of digital information using Visible Light Communication (VLC). This one-way data stream is undetectable to the human eye but is picked up by the camera on the smartphone. The shopper opts into the service by downloading the retailer’s app. The coded location information is used by the app to provide location-based services. The shopper can turn off the app at any time.

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