IoT And Li-Fi Share A Futuristic Technological Bond

by Wrik Sen    Nov 15, 2016

LiFi technology

The world is embracing IoT and Big Data like witnessed rarely before. According to a Forbes report, there ought to be 10 billion mobile devices connected to the internet, who would be exchanging an approximate 35 quintillion bytes of data each month. This being just the mobile devices, there is plenty of factoring to do for traditional computers, big data servers, and IoT devices, who too will be exchanging data is gigantic proportions, thus laying out the magnitude of the issues lying. One of the main issues obviously, is handling the data, by way of networks, especially being able to efficiently transmit the high data volumes at a near faster than real-time speeds. That discovery is what is being called the ‘Li-Fi’ (Light Fidelity), a new data transmission method 100 times faster than the traditional Wi-Fi. What makes it easy to use, is that it requires the turning on a light.

Li-Fi history and what it means

From a technical standpoint, as pointed out by Internet of Things Agenda, “Visible Light Communication (VLC) is a class of technologies for wirelessly transmitting and receiving information using light (from infrared, through visible, into ultra-violet visible light spectrum of about 400 THz to 800 THz) instead of radio waves.” VLC, as mentioned here, is a more technical name for Li-Fi. As history points out, Li-Fi or VLC came into being around 2003, within Japan’s Nakagawa Laboratories, though the concept of light signaling and semaphores has existed for a much longer time. By 2010, the 802.15.7 standard had been defined, meant for Short-Range Wireless Optical Communication using Visible Light.

In 2011, Professor Harald Hass introduced a Li-Fi protocol at a Ted Talk, the awareness for it, spread far and wide. The European Union also acted that year, when they wrapped up the Omega Project, with VLC platforms ByteLight and Outstanding Technology also being launched, and Disney Research showing off some practical use cases of VLC in toys and clothes for children. Qualcomm had also launched the Lumicast technology for LED lighting as well. Till 2015 and 2016, it was all looked at from an engineering marvel’s point of view, until a few more advancement’s got the world’s attention to this technology.

The Jugnu Li-Fi from Estonia’s Velmenni, demonstrated internet speeds of 1 Gbps, which is 100 times faster than the general limits known currently. Some of the Indian researchers than developed a Triplet Li-Fi syystem, whereby 3 colors were being used, to different data streams, which also tripled the existing Li-Fi capacity. University of Oxford Researchers said that speeds of up to 224 Gbps were also possible for the Li-Fi systems, under lab conditions. In practical terms, it could down,oad 18 movies of 1.5Gb each, all within a time frame of 1 second.  

Use cases for IoT

- A light node, integrated into the Controller Area Network (CAN) bus in cars and heavy machines, can be used in an Industrial Internet of Things setup. They can directly send critical data to producing companies and allied businesses, which would then allow for seamless delivery of emergency and other services, which in the end, would allow for a better customer experience.

- For aquatic and other nature related discoveries in the Zoological and Botanical sciences, communications between divers and explorers, and to an extent with some aquatic life in the ocean, can take place with the help of Li-Fi technologies, with light nodes being used under those conditions. This can also be used for real-time data communication if equipment is put within such environments, such as underwater.

- With the idea of smart cities catching up, even in a country like India, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi has included the same in national plan for the same, Li-Fi can be used for securing and controlling entire cities, without having to adopt any energy intensive methods. With the use of Li-Fi secure areas like private residences or even office areas can be secured, but also seamlessly allowed to patronized with li-fi, which helps works on real-time speeds.