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Philips Lighting introduces LiFi

The French real estate investment company Icade is piloting Philips LiFi-enabled luminaires at its smart office in Paris

LiFi can be used in places where radio frequencies may interfere with equipment
LiFi can be used in places where radio frequencies may interfere with equipment

Philips Lighting is offering Light Fidelity (LiFi), a technology in which high-quality LED lighting provides a broadband Internet connection through light waves. It is the first global lighting company to offer LiFi-enabled luminaires from its existing office lighting portfolio.


“LiFi has enormous potential for today’s digital age and as the world’s leading lighting company we are proud to pioneer new and innovative services for our customers,” said Olivia Qiu, chief innovation officer, Philips Lighting.


“While radio frequencies are becoming congested, the visible light spectrum is an untapped resource with a large bandwidth suitable for the stable simultaneous connection of a vast array of Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Being a lighting company, we ensure that our customers benefit from the finest quality energy efficient light along with state-of-the-art connectivity,” she added.


LiFi is a two-way, high-speed wireless technology similar to wi-fi but uses light waves instead of radio waves to transmit data. Philips Lighting’s office luminaires, enabled with LiFi technology, provide broadband connection with a speed of 30 Mb per second (Mb/s) without, it claims, compromising lighting quality. With 30Mb/s a user can stream simultaneously several HD quality videos while having video calls.


French real estate investment company, Icade, is piloting the technology in its smart office in La Defense, Paris. “LiFi has the potential to be a real game-changer in offices," said Emmanuelle Baboulin, head of the commercial property investment division at Icade. "As the leader in our market we wanted to explore the possibilities of this technology for existing and future clients.


"We plan to showcase the technology in our smart office in La Defense, so aside from stable connectivity, light quality is crucial to us.”


LiFi offers benefits over wi-fi as it can be used in places where radio frequencies may interfere with equipment, such as in hospitals, or where wi-fi signals cannot reach or are weak, such as underground.


Other user cases include environments demanding high security; for example, the back office of a financial institution or government service. LiFi adds an extra layer of security as light cannot pass through solid walls and a line-of-sight to the light is needed to access the network.


Each luminaire is equipped with a built-in modem that modulates the light at speeds imperceptible to the human eye. The light is detected by a LiFi USB key/dongle plugged into the socket of a laptop or tablet (in the future such technology will be built into laptops and devices).


The LiFi USB dongle returns data to the luminaire through an infrared link. With Philips LiFi-enabled luminaires, customers get the double benefit of quality, energy-efficient LED light and a highly secure, stable and robust connection as LiFi has 10,000 times the spectrum of wi-fi.


Philips Lighting has also announced its intention to change its name to Signify. It says its decision to choose the new name originates from the fact that light becomes an intelligent language, which connects and conveys meaning. The company will continue to use the Philips brand.


“We’re excited to announce our new company name as another step in our transformation journey,” said Eric Rondolat, CEO of Philips Lighting. “Our new company name is a clear expression of our strategic vision and a fabulous opportunity to introduce a new corporate look and feel that is uniquely our own and will serve to further unite our 32,000 employees. At the same time, we remain proud to continue to use the Philips brand on our products.”


Philips Lighting’s roots date back more than 125 years to the business founded by Frederik and Gerard Philips in 1891 in the Dutch town of Eindhoven.


Philips Lighting will be present at Light+Building 2018 which runs at the Messe, Franfurt in Germany 18-23 March, at the Philips Lighting booth in Hall 0: Forum.


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