Digital Media / Internet of Things

Li-Fi, El Dorado of the Internet of Things?

The word Li-Fi was first used by Harald Hass in 2011 during a TED Talk where he explained what the future of wireless communications could be. Li-Fi stands for Light-Fidelity, a new technology that enables wireless communications through light.

Multiple factors lead the way to this shift in wireless technology: First, telecommunications companies and engineers predict that Wi-Fi won’t be able to support the stream of data that will be exchanged daily in the coming years. Moreover, the safety of Wi-Fi networks is more and more often questioned. It is easy for hackers to hijack Wi-Fi networks as proved by the recent NSA scandal. In addition, people are raising concerns about Wi-Fi health dangers.

All in all, it may be time to find other technologies to support data streams.

Li-fi may be the solution for all of these issues. Indeed, Li-fi is:

* Cheaper: In terms of installation, all you need to enable Li-fi is a LED light bulb and a microchip that will work as a kind of dimmer. Indeed, light needs to flicker to create a signal. Since it relies on the electric system, Li-fi can be quickly installed. Furthermore, you may not know that cooling the cellular base stations consume a lot of energy. By using Li-fi, we would actually cut these costs and save energy.

* Safer: Li-Fi uses light to transmit data. As light cannot penetrate solid material, receiver has to be in sight with the transmitter. It can be seen as a disadvantage but if you consider potential hackers, Li-fi makes their tasks more difficult as they wouldn’t be able to access internet connections if out of sight of the transmitter.

* Faster: Wi-fi uses radio waves to transmit data while Li-fi uses visible light. Visible light has a broader spectrum than radio, 10,000 times broader to be precise. Hence, visible light can stream more data, faster than Wi-Fi. “Four computers can be connected to internet through one-watt LED bulb using light as a carrier instead of traditional radio frequencies, as in Wi-Fi” states Chi Nan, an information technology professor at Shanghai’s Fudan University.

* Ubiquitous: Li-fi can be used in situations where radio frequencies cannot for fear of interfering with electronic circuitry. Li-Fi can be used in hospitals, in planes, almost everywhere Wi-Fi is not allowed.

Despite these obvious advantages, it is not likely that Li-Fi will replace Wi-Fi as most households and companies have already adopted the latter. Li-Fi would more supplement Wi-Fi networks in congested areas, which is why China is one of the pioneers in this domain.

Li-Fi could lead to everything electronic being connected to the Internet with the lights on the electronics being used as Internet access points. This is why it embodies the future of connected objects and smart homes. Li-Fi is the technology that will enable this revolution to happen. The Li-Fi market is projected to be worth over $6 billion per year by 2018. And several companies are exploring the numerous opportunities Li-Fi offers. pureLi-Fi invests hefty sums to overcome some of the last hurdles for Li-Fi development, it has recently proved that a line-of-sight connection may not be necessary. Oledcomm develops Li-Fi solutions to provide more information for customers in shopping centers and museums. It is only the beginning of this revolution.

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