Li-Fi-maker Oledcomm is currently in talks to bring its technology to a residential project in the UAE.
Li-Fi is a technology utilising visual light communication, which uses LEDs that flash on and off faster than a human eye can see, to send data. The lamps which hold the LEDs are attached to a network and the data they send can be read by a smartphone camera (using a third-part app) or another optical receiver. Li-Fi technology has the potential to carry about 100 times more data that WiFi.
Oledcomm’s CEO Benjamin Azoulay, who was at Gitex this week, declined to give specifics, however. Azoulay was brought into the company earlier this year to make the technology more commercially available. He was previously CEO of Philips Lighting France.
Azoulay said the company is currently in the process of “miniaturising” the components used in making the Li-Fi modems, which should also reduce the cost. The technology is being tailored for retail use, where it is seen as a way to provide geo-located service. For example, in a supermarket, the Li-Fi lamp would be preprogrammed to tell people where products are located.
Li-Fi is also being targeted for use in areas where radio waves which are used in traditional WiFi communication, are restricted, such as hospitals or schools. The technology could allow doctors to access patients’ records in these areas.
“There is a trend, especially in Europe and North America, where people are more and more conscious about the impact on [their] health from the radio waves,” Azoulay said. “The French government decided in January to forbid it in kindergartens, maternity units in hospitals, paediatrics and neonatal [areas], but you still need communication to get the patient’s files in these areas.”
Oledcomm, based in France, has already set up Li-Fi networks in retail buildings and hospitals across that country.
“In France, Oledcomm has implemented Li-Fi in five supermarkets, and the biggest is a project which we are very proud of — the Metro of Paris will be fully equipped with our technology.”
Li-Fi will be set up in 290 stations, making it the biggest Li-Fi projects in the world with about 100,000 light points, he said. The company has identified 50 uses for the technology at the stations so far. The contract was announced in 2016.
Azoulay said the company also has a Li-Fi network in a hospital in Perpignan in Southern France in its neonatal and paediatrics units. He expects to have the technology installed in 80 rooms before the end of the year.
Azoulay said the company currently offers a lamp that can provide Li-Fi to a room for a cost of Euro499 (Dh2,173). The range of Li-Fi is limited by anything that would block light. He said the company also plans to make a large announcement at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January, 2018.