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John Lewis invests £100,000 in UK Internet of Things startup

Retailer's incubator prize for tracking solution developer.

By Amy-Jo Crowley

John Lewis is investing £100,000 in beacon tech firm Localz as the UK retailer puts part of its efforts into the Internet of Things market.

The retailer selected the nine-month old business as the winner of its technology incubator competition, JLab in efforts to develop its concept in the UK.

Stuart Marks, a technology entrepreneur and a partner in JLAB, said: "The quality of entries was exceptionally high and picking a winner proved to be a very difficult process.

"I am sure all the companies will go on to become very successful but there has to be a winner and in this case we felt that Localz has the potential to become a long term partner to John Lewis and to provide continuous innovation for their customers."

Localz uses a combination of location technologies such as iBeacons and GPS to sense customers’ locations inside a shop.

The service is expected to be trialled in John Lewis stores across the UK.

John Lewis added that future uses of the technology could trigger their Click and Collect order to be selected as they enter the shop in order to speed up collection and improve the overall brand experience.

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John Lewis, which partnered with technology entrepreneur Stuart Marks to launch the competition in March, had shortlisted 12 companies from 30 that pitched to its judging panel in May.

Other finalists included in-store digital engagement firms Localz and Vieewsy, online 3D room planning firm SpaceDesigned, Musaic, which provides wireless sound systems for smart homes, and Tap2connects, which provides smart labelling for after-sales care.

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