Co-op uses strip lights to change food prices

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Co-op uses strip lights to change food prices

Antony Savvas
The Co-op is implementing a system that uses fluorescent lighting, rather than infrared or radio, to transmit in-store price changes to digital shelf labels.

The flicker-rate on a store's strip lights is used to transmit price change data to optical shelf price labels every two hours. The system has been developed by Fujitsu Services in partnership with Australian company and product inventor ILID.

Price changes for specific product codes are stored on a central point of sale database at the store. To send updated information to the shelf labels the changes are first sent to an ILID controller device. The encrypted data is then sent from this device to the store's strip lighting system, which is equipped with ILID modulating devices.

The modulators in the lights then relay the updated information to the labels by rapidly flickering - the flicker rate is unnoticeable to the human eye.

The Co-op is the first company in the UK to use the system since its launch at a UK retail technology show at the end of last year. The ILID ESL (electronic shelf labels) system is first being installed in the Co-op's 35-store chain in the West Midlands. The Co-op's new Shrewsbury store will be the first to go live.

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