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posted by Dopefish on Wednesday February 19 2014, @03:00PM   Printer-friendly
from the now-that's-a-bright-idea dept.

Lagg writes:

"Philips put out a press release detailing their new retail lighting system, which is designed for the purpose of saving power by tracking subjects in a room, then increasing or decreasing light intensity as needed. Philips also advertises a secondary feature for providing location based sale adverts to the customer directly on their smartphone. This will require the user to install an app to actually receive the sale alerts, but it's unclear exactly how this tracking will be done otherwise.

Any home automation types in the comments have a theory as to how this will work on a technical level? My best guess is that there are infrared LEDs paired with the lighting fixtures themselves that can be picked up by phones with IR sensors in them. Further, what advantages does this sort of system have in terms of lighting efficiency that an electric eye setup wouldn't accomplish just as well?"

 
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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 19 2014, @03:15PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 19 2014, @03:15PM (#2510)

    Is this the first Slashvertisment (Soylertisment?) on this site? Certainly it is not particularly newsworthy otherwise, as similar systems have been in operation for several years

    • (Score: 1) by Buck Feta on Wednesday February 19 2014, @03:23PM

      by Buck Feta (958) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @03:23PM (#2521) Journal

      It's a safe bet that SoyDot isn't exactly chock-a-block with retail-construction planners.

      --
      - fractious political commentary goes here -
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Vanderhoth on Wednesday February 19 2014, @03:25PM

      by Vanderhoth (61) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @03:25PM (#2523)

      I actually find this a very interesting topic. I know there are wireless LED bulbs that can be controlled by smartphones. I have one in my kitchen and when I'm away I can turn the light on and off. It comes in handy for long vacations where I want to be able to control the lights and make it seem like someones randomly turning the light on.

      An application this might be useful for would be security. You can get expensive cameras with built in night vision, but what if you had a motion sensor that would turn your light on so a cheaper webcam could snap a photo? That's essentially what this looks like to me only the motion sensor is built in.

      --
      "Now we know", "And knowing is half the battle". -G.I. Joooooe
      • (Score: 2) by hankwang on Wednesday February 19 2014, @05:17PM

        by hankwang (100) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @05:17PM (#2621) Homepage

        "when I'm away I can turn the light on and off"

        For that I have a EUR 7 digital timer switch that has programs per day of the week with a randomize function. It also doesn't require that I set up vpn access to my home.

        p.s. unicode? I can't get an euro sign.

        • (Score: 4, Funny) by Vanderhoth on Wednesday February 19 2014, @05:52PM

          by Vanderhoth (61) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @05:52PM (#2664)

          VPN... Yeah, I should do that...

          I guess it wasn't a ghost turning the light on after all. ;)

          Actually it was really fun at first. I didn't tell my wife, who's very superstitious, I'd put the light in so she'd get up to go to the kitchen and I'd turn the light on from down the hall and she'd come running back to the bedroom.

          I had her really freaked out for a few days. Sometimes I wonder why I'm even still married!?

          --
          "Now we know", "And knowing is half the battle". -G.I. Joooooe
          • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 19 2014, @11:33PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 19 2014, @11:33PM (#2974)

            Big schlong?

          • (Score: 1) by unitron on Thursday February 20 2014, @03:20AM

            by unitron (70) on Thursday February 20 2014, @03:20AM (#3114) Journal

            The question isn't why you're still married, but why she is.

            --
            something something Slashcott something something Beta something something
            • (Score: 2) by Vanderhoth on Thursday February 20 2014, @10:32AM

              by Vanderhoth (61) on Thursday February 20 2014, @10:32AM (#3314)

              She's married because she's both attractive and awesome. Seems pretty stright forward to me.

              --
              "Now we know", "And knowing is half the battle". -G.I. Joooooe
      • (Score: 2) by combatserver on Thursday February 20 2014, @12:21AM

        by combatserver (38) on Thursday February 20 2014, @12:21AM (#3000)

        "It comes in handy for long vacations where I want to be able to control the lights and make it seem like someones randomly turning the light on."

        This is another example of a specific use of a technology that seems quite useful, yet for many there will be resistance/lack of acceptance because of the underlying motivations of those producing/marketing the product. After recent NSA revelations, many of us are seeing technology in a new (and more sinister) light--Can this be used to spy on us? Am I trading yet another piece of my privacy so I don't have to flick a light switch? Asking such simple questions--and coming up with the answer "yes"--for some, will be the deciding factor. They will simply refuse to buy the product. I am one of these people (as are most of my extended family, some more than others).

        Unfortunately, this really only holds true at the personal level, to any meaningful extent --we can say "no" to the technology only to find ourselves surrounded by it as a result of corporate or governmental decisions to use any particular technology in spite of public resistance.

        Are we forgetting who is doing the spending? Have we somehow given up the right to decide where we spend our money (and thus our time, for that is really all money is--an indicator of value for someone's time, and a means by which that time can be transferred to another)?

        Think before you spend--it can quite literally determine our future.

        (There is such a thing as a "randomizer"--looks like a regular mechanical-switch wall timer, but it alters the schedule randomly to do exactly what you describe--make it appear that someone is home. And yes, I just opened the one I had in my garage to verify it is indeed mechanical--it is (or was--damned sonic-welding))

        --
        I hope I can change this later...
    • (Score: 2, Informative) by Lagg on Wednesday February 19 2014, @03:44PM

      by Lagg (105) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @03:44PM (#2532) Homepage Journal
      If it is I'm probably a pretty terrible spokesman, considering the summary almost immediately questions the vagueness of the press release and the advantage in power efficiency over a traditional electric eye system.
      --
      http://lagg.me [lagg.me] 🗿
    • (Score: 5, Informative) by Dopefish on Wednesday February 19 2014, @04:20PM

      by Dopefish (12) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @04:20PM (#2558)

      Not quite. The reason this post is on SoylentNews is twofold.

      This is not a product that is geared towards consumers or can even be purchased by consumers, and this piece was designed to highlight the possibilities of home/office/retail automation, or the possible privacy implications thereof.

    • (Score: 1) by _0111000001100100 on Thursday February 20 2014, @04:16AM

      by _0111000001100100 (955) on Thursday February 20 2014, @04:16AM (#3155) Journal

      No I think they are trolling for the first "all hail our new ... Overlords" meme.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Random2 on Wednesday February 19 2014, @03:17PM

    by Random2 (669) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @03:17PM (#2511)

    I've been hearing about all these in-store apps recently, but does anyone actually use them? Especially for something like this, which would require the store to redo a significant portion of their lighting just for a 'more personalized experience', is there enough support of this to actually make it worthwhile?

    --
    If only I registered 3 users earlier....
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Lagg on Wednesday February 19 2014, @03:26PM

      by Lagg (105) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @03:26PM (#2524) Homepage Journal
      I imagine that would depend on the return on investment the store gets from the direct purchases via the adverts and possible sale of whatever tracking data is viable. I mean there's nothing there that would indicate they'd sell shopper pattern data but honestly I'd be more surprised if they didn't. Exploitation of shopper patterns and routes has been happening for decades and this can potentially make it that much more profitable since I'm sure they'd love to see exactly what, where and when people buy something opposed to the current general understanding that shoppers are likely to do impulse buys near the entrance and proceed on a counterclockwise route around the store and then trickle into the isles (or maybe clockwise if you're in the UK). But all one can do is guess right now since the press release is so goddamned vague and offers no technical details, not even where the IR emitter will be.
      --
      http://lagg.me [lagg.me] 🗿
    • (Score: 4, Informative) by SpallsHurgenson on Wednesday February 19 2014, @03:47PM

      by SpallsHurgenson (656) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @03:47PM (#2537)

      Several of the big box stores in my area (east coast USA) use them; I've noticed lights dimming and brightening as people moved about the store. In some cases they did this with actual dimmers, in other cases some (but not all) of the overhead lights were shut off, which created a similar effect. A few seemed to be based on motion detectors (stand still long enough and the lights dimmed), others seemed more sophisticated. At least one store seemed to dim the lights automatically based on how many people were in an aisle (nobody: very dim, just me: reduced lighting, two or more people: normal lighting).

      No idea as to the specifics of the system, although I don't think any of the lights were LED. Other than that (and the creepy advertising thing), the Phillips systems does not seem that extraordinarily new in concept.

    • (Score: 4, Funny) by ArhcAngel on Wednesday February 19 2014, @04:51PM

      by ArhcAngel (654) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @04:51PM (#2596)

      I've been to a couple of grocery chain stores that have replaced their cold storage displays with units that have the tech built in. It's a little off putting at first but once you figure out what is happening you get used to it. I've seen kids running down the frozen pizza aisle seeing if they can beet the sensors or just light up a totally dark aisle all by themselves...OK it was me being a kid but you get the point.

      • (Score: 1) by Hunkerchef on Thursday February 20 2014, @01:28AM

        by Hunkerchef (2039) on Thursday February 20 2014, @01:28AM (#3039)

        With enough individual lights the future will be like in games, where the character emanates a light from inside himself, wherever he goes. It would feel uncanny.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by gull on Wednesday February 19 2014, @06:45PM

      by gull (1893) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @06:45PM (#2726)

      the worst thing is when you're spending some quality time in a washroom stall (e.g. bad burrito for lunch) and the motion tracking lights go off, leaving you helpless in the dark.

      sometimes progress goes 'boink'.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by TrumpetPower! on Wednesday February 19 2014, @03:23PM

    by TrumpetPower! (590) <ben@trumpetpower.com> on Wednesday February 19 2014, @03:23PM (#2517) Homepage

    Can't a bloke get some peace and quiet without everybody staring at him and spotlights tracking his every move?

    Besides, if your retail business is so empty that you can turn out some of the lights and not leave your customers in the dark, you've got bigger worries than your lighting bill...such as, you're soon not going to be able to afford to turn the lights on at all, let alone buy some fancy gizmo that Big Brothers your customers with the lighting system.

    b&

    --
    All but God can prove this sentence true.
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Random2 on Wednesday February 19 2014, @03:45PM

      by Random2 (669) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @03:45PM (#2534)

      While I agree about the overabundance of tracking, I think the intended use slightly different than what you might be thinking:

      1) For museums/art showcases, where one might have people wander around a sparse area with only a few displays. This way they could turn the lights on just for the duration the person is in the area, and back off when no one else is around (Not that they couldn't do this with normal IR sensors, but 'ooh shiny smartphones').

      2) Smaller lights on a display, like a bright red set of lights that turn on when a customer gets close to them. Say they know you come to Home Depot for shop for 2x4s and screws; and like any 'good' store they're obsessed with rearranging their layout every 4 days. By highlighting sections of stuff that you're likely there to buy as you walk past the it makes them that much easier to find. (this would get ungodly confusing in a high-volume store).

      Now, as for the actual utility of these functions...

      --
      If only I registered 3 users earlier....
      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by JimmyCrackCorn on Wednesday February 19 2014, @04:04PM

        by JimmyCrackCorn (1495) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @04:04PM (#2548)

        dim witted.

        The crucial part is not about the light.

        How about that same museum that has a light that "has location based sales adverts" that allows you to find out about that art without wearing those funky museum ear phones.

        And your number two, finally have some specs available from the "location based sales adverts" for that bin of loose screws.

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by sfm on Wednesday February 19 2014, @03:43PM

    by sfm (675) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @03:43PM (#2531)

    Having visited stores with automatic adjustable lighting, I find the experience less than satisfying. It is very annoying to have lights flicker on (and off) as you walk around corners. The time constants for systems I have seen are on the order of 10-20 seconds, so standing still while deciding on a selection could easily allow the lights to turn off (the system is motion activated).
    While I understand there maybe some savings in electricity usage, I would much prefer if the stores in question would increase the on-time in order to reduce the annoyance factor.

    • (Score: 1) by whizzer on Wednesday February 19 2014, @05:28PM

      by whizzer (1674) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @05:28PM (#2635)

      In Heinlein's short story "Waldo" the titular character had a lighting system similar to what is being attempted here. The lights were controlled by the direction the person's head was facing and could accommodate multiple people in a single room. The point seemed to be to provide backlighting in a zero-g environment so there wasn't glare in your eyes if you happened to be looking "up".
      I always thought it was an interesting concept. Hopefully this tech advances and eventually is used to improve the room's lighting, not just save a few bucks on electrical costs.

    • (Score: 1) by xtronics on Wednesday February 19 2014, @06:11PM

      by xtronics (1884) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @06:11PM (#2687) Homepage

      I just find any lighting modulation distracting - Probably will reduce sales. I sure wouldn't use it if I was in retail.

  • (Score: 5, Funny) by snick on Wednesday February 19 2014, @03:58PM

    by snick (1408) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @03:58PM (#2545)

    bzzzt.

    I notice that you are standing in front of the magazine rack. Would you like a coupon for lotion and tissues?

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by mmcmonster on Wednesday February 19 2014, @04:07PM

    by mmcmonster (401) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @04:07PM (#2550)

    Slightly off topic:

    I wonder how many people would be interested in intelligent LED bulbs and such, vs. home automation systems. I recently had built my house and had home automation in mind. That being said, looking at the system I got, it's something that's relatively easy to retrofit once the walls are closed. The entire system works off it's own wireless network, with a bridge to my home network so I can control it with my smart phone.

    If I want to add a light socket to the system, I just purchase one of their light switches (not cheap: I think they cost $100-200 a switch.) which replaces the wall switch and communicates wirelessly with the brain. The switch then controls whatever 'dumb' bulbs are already attached to it.

    I suppose intelligent bulbs are a better solution when you want something (relatively) inexpensive and just involving a few bulbs (presumably you could control multiple bulbs simultaneously with software). Intelligent bulbs are also more useful when you want to do complex lighting without rewiring the walls (ie: the phillips smart LEDs can change colors).

    Centralized home automation is when you have lots of bulbs (think chandelier or large family room) and other devices that you want to control with the same interface (ie: security system, thermostat, A/V system). In my current setup, for instance, I have the outdoor lights come on at dusk (earlier if the weather is inclement that day) and turn off between 10:30-11pm. When I go on vacation, the chandelier will turn on roughly half hour after outside lights and go off about 15 minutes before the outside lights, mirroring what we do in real life.

    I would be interested in the Phillips smart bulbs once an interface exists with my home automation system. Just for colored mood lighting. Of course, the price can't be too much more than 'dumb' LED lights. I know I'm in the minority here. ;-)

    What are other people's experience with home automation or smart LED bulbs?

  • (Score: 3, Funny) by Statecraftsman on Wednesday February 19 2014, @04:56PM

    by Statecraftsman (1149) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @04:56PM (#2601)

    I don't shop often but when I do, I like to have the full experience. Bring on the LED-based Android root exploits!

  • (Score: 1) by unitron on Thursday February 20 2014, @03:26AM

    by unitron (70) on Thursday February 20 2014, @03:26AM (#3121) Journal

    ...LED Lighting?

    "...providing location based sale adverts to the customer directly on their smartphone."

    or just annoying?

    --
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