Lighting

Is Li-Fi the Future of Wireless Communications in Smart Buildings?

LED Lighting now delivers lower energy consumption, longer life, smaller size and faster switching light. It is now rapidly replacing other light sources and is expected to take a 75% share of the lighting market within the next 8 years. In the meantime as Memoori’s recent report on The Lighting Controls Business 2015 to 2020 shows it has accelerated the take up of IP Bus based lighting controls pushing world demand at factory gate prices to $2.2 billion in 2015. Equally as important, it has given Lighting a new dimension, because its control network can also provide a common platform for many of the Building Automation Services (BAS) that are installed in Smart Buildings; and could help deliver a Building Internet of Things (BIoT). That could be done through the other BAS services but the logic for using lighting and its control is that it is pervasive. It is everywhere in the building. Combine this […]

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LED Lighting now delivers lower energy consumption, longer life, smaller size and faster switching light. It is now rapidly replacing other light sources and is expected to take a 75% share of the lighting market within the next 8 years.

In the meantime as Memoori’s recent report on The Lighting Controls Business 2015 to 2020 shows it has accelerated the take up of IP Bus based lighting controls pushing world demand at factory gate prices to $2.2 billion in 2015.

LiFi

Equally as important, it has given Lighting a new dimension, because its control network can also provide a common platform for many of the Building Automation Services (BAS) that are installed in Smart Buildings; and could help deliver a Building Internet of Things (BIoT). That could be done through the other BAS services but the logic for using lighting and its control is that it is pervasive. It is everywhere in the building.

Combine this with the ability of solid-state lighting to stream data through IP and for the sensors in the control systems to gather data, then there is a realisation that lighting control is in a strong position both technically and commercially to take the leading role in integrating all the technical services in a building.

Our report shows that merger and acquisition amongst internal and external companies, together with strategic alliances and investments from private equity have all become more active in the last two years. There is a buzz about the lighting controls business that as not been around for many decades.

But that is not the end of its future posterity. New technologies such as Li-Fi can become the driver that opens up even greater prospects. Although Li-Fi is in its embryonic stage it is attracting a lot of interest and not just within the lighting industry. Apart from its capability to transfer data at much grater speeds it is secure and that overcomes the biggest disadvantage of wireless, which is also running out of spectrum.

For that reason all, businesses involved in the vast and highly profitable category of “telecoms” are investigating how this potential game changer could be a threat to their existing technology and / or an opportunity to expand their business.

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Listening to a discussion at the recent LuxLive Conference called "Wi-Fi vs Li-Fi", I came away with the feeling that the case for Li-Fi given by Professor Harald Haas of Edinburgh University and Chaiman of Pure Li-Fi is very solid but whilst it has been proven at the laboratory stage its several years away from becoming a commercial proposition.

Dr Paul Egan of Digital Catapult lead the argument about Li-Fi not being a credible alternatve to Wi-Fi. Interestingly he did not try to rubbish the concept. His argument was that Wi-Fi is still developing fast and it can meet future demand. Telecoms companies are very profitable and they will find a solution to the security issues. He sees the business model of the Telecoms companies changing to take account of IoT developments.

Geoff Archenold founder of Integrated Systems Technologies held the middle ground. He is a strong advocate of Lighting being the entry point for BIoT. He thought that both Wi-Fi and Li-Fi would coexist but in 20 years time Li-fi would lead. He was very doubtful that Wi-fi will ever be fully secure.

However he said its no secret that telecoms companies are serious about using Lighting as the medium to building up their business. He also commented that the transmission of data over PoE will shortly introduce a new much cheaper chip that would massively speed up transmission speeds, so wired solutions are not finished yet.

This confirmed our major findings that Led Lighting and its Control has a very exciting and challenging future - http://memoori.com/portfolio/smart-buildings-the-lighting-controls-business-2015-to-2020/

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