GE integrates iBeacon into new LED light fixtures, Walmart installing in stores worldwide

“Up until now most retailers have been deploying Apple’s iBeacon technology by purchasing small standalone Bluetooth beacons or using iPad terminals that act as beacons,” Jordan Kahn reports for 9to5Mac.

“Now, GE is introducing its next-generation LED light fixture [Lumination LED Luminaire – IS Series] that packs in a combo Bluetooth LE/Visual Light Communication chip for iBeacon functionality allowing retailers to cut costs and avoid purchasing standalone beacons from a company like Estimote,” Kahn reports. “It’s already got one massive customer about to roll out the iBeacon lighting fixtures: Walmart announced back in April (before iBeacon support was announced) that it plans to roll out these same new GE lighting fixtures to stores worldwide as part of its switch to LED.”

Kahn reports, “While Walmart hasn’t said exactly what features it plans to offer with iBeacons, GE’s lightning fixtures like standalone beacons will be capable of beaming coupons, promotions, product info, store maps and just about any experience developers can think up via the store’s mobile app.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]

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    1. Probably something really pointless. Knowing the typical Wal-Mart demographic, it would be virtually useless. However, it’s cool that other stores are doing this.

      1. Unless the color of the lighting could change with the type of customer in that aisle – brown for the morbidly obese with shit-stained short shorts, green for the hip-hop gang-bangers, yellow for the retired Florida crowd (like the lemon yellow pants my grandfather wears), red for the pissed off rednecks in their shit-kickers, blue for your teen mothers with 3 kids from 5 dads hanging off each arm, and pulsating strobe lights for the naked guy on PCP dancing in the kids’ toy section.

    2. The former. Good customer experiences will reward retailers, and their designs will be copied by other retailers. It’s good that Apple is moving into this space ahead of Google, who would have guaranteed the latter.

        1. Like your mobile phone provider doesn’t know where you are right now?

          This will be app-specific and you will be able to very easily not have iBeacons be able to communicate with you if you so choose, in the Apple way. Now if you have an Android or Windows phone, I’d be worried.

  1. Cook keeps building out the infrastructure: cars, light bulbs and so much more.

    The Beats acquisition, through the Beats app, extends Apple’s streaming reach to Android and Windows Phone. Quite a Trojan horse, no?

    Cook, a supply-chain guru, is at the top of his game. WWDC should be mighty interesting next week.

    1. steve h….the best answer of hindsight knowledge for those saying Cook needs to go. Like his style–or not, this observation shows his persistent laying of a powerful, pertinent and, likely profitable plan.

      1. Walmart has a lot of customers. Apple has a lot of server farms. I don’t think it’s a stretch to imagine an Apple app that runs on iOS, Android and Windows Phone that can securely deal with financial transactions. If you can pull it together with Wallmart, you can scale it up to just about any level.

        just my .02 cents…

    1. I just can’t see that happening. Apple users are historically known for being major spenders, and would rather spend their money at more pricer places, such as the Apple Store, or Nieman Markus. Android users are….cheap. Wal-Mart was pretty much made for them.

      1. Fair enough, Christopher, but many of us live in areas devoid of such high-end retail establishments, and settle for a $6.50 apron instead of the $70 MacKenzie-Childs item we wanted instead.

  2. do you need an active internet connection for this to work? If i carry an iPod touch and not currently connected to the internet, will it still pick up the beacon advertisement/message?

    1. No. iBeacon nodes basically just send your phone one specific, fixed string which effectively encodes “store a, location x”, and then iOS will forward it to store a’s iOS app [if installed] which can then decide what to do with it. But I would expect most apps will require an internet connection to actually offer you something, just because they REALLY track your movements through the store [as the app controls whether or not you are notified that it has received an iBeacon, but it still can store and upload that info to the companies server when an internet connection is available].

  3. beacons use bluetooth, not sure without looking whether any models of iPod Touch support bluetooth.

    iPhone users maybe big tech spenders, but that doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t shop a Walmart to save money on other things.

    1. Apple support web page:

      To use iBeacon, you need iOS 7 or later, Bluetooth turned on, and a compatible iOS device:

      iPhone 4s or later
      iPad (3rd generation) or later
      iPad mini or later
      iPod touch (5th generation) or later

  4. Re Walmart comments: Stereotypical bigotry seems to alive and well for certain socio-economic groups. It’s not really okay just because they have no protective leagues.

  5. To any of Wal-Mart’s detractors:
    Not all of us live in big cities, or can afford some of the things big-city stores offer. Wal-Mart is a good thing for us out in the country or in small towns, because the give us many good things, and at a great price too. I would love to go to an Apple Store, but there just isn’t any in my area, and the closest one is in a different state. Remember that.
    Sincerely, “a friend”,
    A Place With No Name, Earth

    1. I love apple products and shop at walmart all the time, retail & online. their motto is “we’re all about prices” and so am I. I go in other stores to compare, and its disgusting how much higher some of these other stores. makes me wonder how they stay in business. i turn around head back to walmart

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