Ever been on an NYC subway platform during rush hour or a major league sporting event packed with fans and had to crane your neck above others to see if the digital menu board listed your favorite artisanal hot dog or burger?
LinkRay visible light communication technology, which is being tested at a major U.S. sports stadium, and is already installed at ASICS‘ New Concept Store in Tokyo, as well as the City’s Big Sight Conference Center and other transportation and cultural venues, functions like a QR code, but uses light to send information. LinkRay is less finicky than a QR code and can send information to hundreds or even thousands of people at once, even those standing at a distance from the light source.
“The digital landscape has quickly shifted to mobile, and retailers, sports and entertainment venues and local governments are seeking new ways to provide useful information to consumers when they want it as well as to gain insights into their level of engagement. With LinkRay, Panasonic is enabling business and public sector customers to transform and deliver the desired information digitally to connected citizens and consumers,” said Richard Hsu, VP of Engineering at AVC Networks North America, a unit of Panasonic Corporation of North America in Newark, NJ.
The LinkRay technology uses ID signals sent by LEDs that form the backlight of most digital signage today. The LEDs flicker on and off at a speed that can’t be detected by the human eye, but can be seen by smartphone camera sensors. That imperceptible LED beam transmits the signal, which is tied to content on digital signage, in a spotlight, in a light box or a light bar. A dedicated LinkRay app, and other third party apps, on a smartphone receives the light beam and calls up relevant content from cloud servers for the consumer. For all those hungry consumers jostling at half time to get a glimpse at a ballpark’s digital menu board to see if it has pulled pork, killer pastrami or plant based burgers, it’s a light in the dark.
The smartphone’s settings control the language in which the LinkRay provided content appears. That means the dedicated LinkRay app can retrieve information translated into the language that suits the consumer’s preference.