By 2020, Asia will have 11 billion connect devices with over 5.5 billion mobile connected devices. Will the current data transmission technology and infrastructure be able to sustain such growth in online population?

  • User expectation of Internet speed is rising by the day. Wi-Fi users have limited Internet speed, which decreases as more people share the network
  • Wi-Fi has very limited security making it vulnerable to hackers who can access the network, raising concerns about personalized information such as bank login details and other business-related critical data
  • The current tech is dependent on a telephone line – an additional expense plus dependency can lead to connectivity challenges with faulty lines etc

Li-Fi seems to be the answer and the good news is, it is now out of testing labs and making real impact with applications in the real world.

  • High data speeds can be achieved, in excess of 10Gbps, which is several times faster than average Wi-Fi
  • More secure since Light cannot penetrate walls and requires line of sight (either direct or reflected) between the emitter and receiver. Unintended interference and usage is minimized
  • Based on LEDs, this technology consumes little power – one LED bulb of 1 watt can produce Internet streaming of media in approximately 5 laptops

The use of Visible light for communication has the potential to transform how devices communicate with each other. Li Fi is enabling visionary innovators to leverage this technology to enable a more connected world.

  • Retail Navigation – Li-Fi provides a smart means of navigating through the store map by identifying each light through the use of MAC codes that are placed inside a chip. This can also be used by retailers to provide information and notification to shoppers about offers and discounts
  • Traffic Light Management – Traffic lights use LED lighting, thus providing an emerging opportunity to manage citywide traffic management systems such pedestrian signals and traffic signals using Li-Fi. For example, street lights communicating with a pedestrian’s Li-Fi-equipped smartphone will be able to regulate vehicle traffic, allowing pedestrians to cross a street.
  • Vehicle to Vehicle Communication – Most car headlights and tail lights are being replaced with LEDs. Li-Fi could transform these LEDs for car-to-car communication. This can improve anti-collision systems and facilitate exchange of a wide range of information between vehicles.
  • In-Flight Connectivity – Li-Fi can transform lighting inside aircraft into a communication system with high data speed for each passenger. Entertainment systems, browsing and flight information can be passed individually to each passenger through the overhead light placed above them without creating electromagnetic interference (EMI), thus, reducing cabling requirements
  • Under Water Communication – Radio waves get absorbed in water quickly, thus preventing underwater communication. Li-Fi embedded LED lights can penetrate through water, enabling secure communication between diver to diver, diver to mini-sub, submarine to submarine, and unmanned surface vehicles
  • Outdoor Internet Browsing – In external urban environments, adopting Wi-Fi to provide Internet browsing will have high infrastructure cost. Also, challenges such as speed and security make applications such as smart cities difficult. Li-Fi, using LED street lamps, would provide a network for Internet access points
  • Patient Monitoring System – Patient monitoring is an important application in hospitals today. Li-Fi-enabled LED lights can access through areas with EMI, thereby monitoring patient movements with no interruptions. They also do not interfere with the operation of electronics such as MRI scanners, unlike WiFi. This will enable contact-free monitoring systems for hospitals

Li-Fi can empower a wide range of applications that were not feasible through RF-based wireless communication systems. As the future is moving rapidly in the direction of the Internet of things, industries are working toward connecting all electronic devices and integrating varied systems, Li-Fi can facilitate the development of new applications and expand the limits of existing applications

Sapan Agarwal drives content and marketing for Frost & Sullivan. Sapan is based out of Kuala Lumpur Malaysia and can be reached at | +603 6204 5830