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Qualcomm: Let There Be Light, Location

Lost in the supermarket or mall?

Well, Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) wants to help by founding a new LED light location services partnership with Acuity Brands to let smartphone users know where they are in shopping malls. The pair are teaming up to further develop networked solid state LED lighting systems for location services.

The partnership will use Qualcomm's Lumicast Visible Light Communications (VLC) to pinpoint smartphones. The technology uses blinking lights -- imperceptible to the human eye -- to shuttle location data between LED light fixtures.

Smartphones can read the data using their onboard cameras. Users have to download an app to enable the Lumicast feature to work. The technology is said to be accurate to "within tens of centimeters," states Qualcomm.

Of course, such location technology will not only help people to "find themselves" -- it will also enable retailers, building owners and other corporates to potentially track people's movements.

"The technology is designed to deliver precise indoor location services... a capability that can revolutionize use cases for navigation, advertising and promotions, and customer service, as well as improve operational efficiencies in environments such as retail stores, malls, museums, airports, factories, warehouses, educational and healthcare institutions, and enterprises," states Qualcomm. "Real-time and historic analytics allow the business owner to understand building traffic better than ever before," it added.

Lumicast is now said to be deployed in more than 100 locations by two of North America's top retailers.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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