Visible Light Communication, developed by Philips Lighting, allows specially equipped lights to locate and speak with smartphones. Philips is now letting LED manufacturers incorporate this technology, which should help to spread the technology more quickly.
What that means for you is that, if you download the app for a retailer using the technology, it can guide you through the store to items on your list (within 1 foot of the item!) and draw your attention to items on promotion.
As this article shows, Carrefour (the world's 3rd largest grocery chain) has already launched this in France. You can see it in action in the video below.
But as Philips opens this to other lighting manufacturers, there's no telling what else we may be able to do. As another example of its use (thanks to LuxReview for covering many angles of this technology), Fujitsu has built lights that can project data onto an object. So when you point your smartphone at the object, you can get information about it and no doubt get videos on it (great for museums), perhaps read reviews (great for reteail), and potentially buy it with the tap of a button.
Light has always controlled much of our lives, and we were largely limited by what the sun provided. Our lives were transformed with the first practical light bulbs (of which we carry replicas). And now we're entering the next great era of what light means in our lives as a transmitter of data.