Philips is now offering Light Fidelity (LiFi), a technology in which LED lighting provides a broadband Internet connection through light waves. As the lighting company for the Internet of Things, Philips Lighting is the first global lighting company to offer LiFi-enabled luminaires from its existing office lighting portfolio.
“LiFi has enormous potential for today’s digital age,” said Olivia Qiu, Chief Innovation Officer, Philips Lighting. “While radio frequencies are becoming congested, the visible light spectrum is an untapped resource with a large bandwidth suitable for the stable simultaneous connection of a vast array of Internet of Things devices. Being a lighting company, we ensure that our customers benefit from the finest quality energy efficient light along with state-of-the-art connectivity,” she added.
LiFi is a two-way, high-speed wireless technology similar to WiFi but uses light waves instead of radio waves to transmit data. The LiFi technology provides broadband connection with a speed of 30 Mb per second (Mb/s) without compromising lighting quality, according to the Dutch company. With 30Mb/s a user can stream simultaneously several HD quality videos while having video calls.
LiFi offers benefits over WiFi as it can be used in places where radio frequencies may interfere with equipment, such as in hospitals, or where WiFi signals cannot reach or are weak, such as underground.
Each luminaire is equipped with a built-in modem that modulates the light at speeds imperceptible to the human eye. The light is detected by a LiFi USB key/dongle plugged into the socket of a laptop or tablet. The LiFi USB dongle returns data to the luminaire through an infrared link. Perhaps, in the future such technology will be a standard fitting in laptops and devices–we will see.