Lux Magazine

pure Li-fi reveals the first luminaire with integrated Li-fi

The pureLiFi dongle is quite big but hardware integration will accelerate acceptance.

(Photo credit: Pure LiFi)

pure LiFi is starting to make inroads into the world of luminaire design with the launch of the first fully integrated LiFi integrated luminaire at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona at the start of March 2017.

I have to admit that as a product designer with a long history in luminaire design that I am intrigued by this technology. It seems to make so much sense in areas that need very high data transfer speeds like offices where lighting is used extensively. Current wifi networks can offer speeds that are up to 54 Megabits per second but this relies on the router being the same speed as the receiving device. 

The beauty of pure LiFi, especially in the office context, is that the emitter (i.e. the light source) is already thought of as part of the infrastructure. Each downlight / troffer luminaire* could service up to 16 people from one source. (*Not in its current format - only when fitted with a pure LiFi broadcast & receiver).

In order to succeed (as the Lux article suggests) pure LiFi needs to get rid of the dongle and push hard for it to become part of the fabric of the hardware many of us use daily; laptops, tablets, phones etc. The other significant development for pure LiFi to succeed is to work closely with luminaire manufacturers to develop the broadcast aspect of the technology. As an ex-colleague of mine (and a controls guru) Sam Woodward once said "in terms of the controls market lighting manufacturers already have their 'beach towels' all over the ceiling space. We own that space." (quoted from memory at the 2014 Lighting Fixture Design Conference).

Its really open to pure LiFi to make that a reality by pushing forward with integration into the tech hardware and by partnering with the 'owners' of the ceiling space - the lighting manufacturers. I will watch with interest how this develops.