I have been hearing a lot of buzz about LiFi in the last few weeks. People around the world are raving about how it will change the way people access the Internet. And while I love the idea of innovating Internet availability, important questions abound: How will this affect the lighting business? What can we expect in the future? Are we seeing another revolution in the industry? As lighting manufacturers and providers, these are questions we need to be answering.
What is LiFi?
If we want to talk about how LiFi will affect our industry, we need to understand it first. LiFi, short for Light Fidelity, is a wireless communication system that uses visible light instead of radio waves. Like WiFi, it transmits data electromagnetically, but LiFi has been shown to produce speeds that leave traditional wireless services in the dust. Recent lab trials have clocked speeds over 18,000 times faster than the average US internet speed. Coupled with many other advantages including security and resistance to interference, it’s no wonder people are getting excited about it.
How Does LiFi Work?
LED lamps produce a constant stream of light that can be dimmed or brightened at rapid rates. The LiFi system harnesses that functionality by fluctuating the light levels emitted by an LED to send signals to a photosensitive device. These fluctuations happen so fast that they are imperceptible to the human eye, but are strong enough to be decoded by the device and translated into binary code. The device then sends signals back to a LiFi capable LED lamp and the process repeats, giving you an extremely fast connection to the web.
Why Should I Care About LiFi?
There is a dilemma right now in the lighting industry pertaining to LEDs. How can anyone support a business when clients only need to buy product once every ten years? The numbers just don’t add up. This has rocked the core of how business is done, and has left some people questioning whether they should get out while they can. LiFi, and products like it, are turning this perception around.
Everyone uses lighting products in their everyday lives, but hardly anyone thinks about where the light comes from. People take light for granted, and expect to have it wherever they go. But the advent of lighting as a conduit for other services has shifted the paradigm. It is now being seen as something of immense value. That gives distributors and energy service companies an incredible opportunity to sell their products as an ongoing program, constantly providing innovative new functionality with every lamp or fixture purchased.
How Will LiFi Affect the Lighting Industry?
LiFi is just the beginning of this revolution. These kinds of advances will continue as businesses seek to limit their environmental footprint and cut costs to improve their bottom line. If we want to survive we cannot let this incredible opportunity pass us by. As experts in this field we should be spearheading the movement and reaching for ever greater advances. This is the future of our business, and it’s time we start getting in on the action. Lagging behind just isn’t an option.