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LiFi – A New Way to Communicate

We live in a time where wireless internet via radio waves is expected to be in nearly every building and home. The days of having to hard wire in to have access to the information the internet holds is long gone and the days where a common and expected question is “What’s your wireless password?” is here.  But technology is constantly changing, being refined, and bringing in better and faster options. So what’s coming after WiFi? LiFi

Li-Fi is short for light fidelity and in the most basic terms, is wireless connectivity via LED light. In other words it is a light that turns on and off so fast it can transmit data to your computer, phone, tablet, or other enabled devices. It is essentially the same as transmitting data via fiber optic utilizing a laser light source. The major difference is that it is in the light in your ceiling and not a laser. Imagine being able to walk into a building and automatically connect just because you’re using their light!

There are many benefits to LiFi, one being that it is much more data dense. LiFi uses light waves unlike WiFi’s radio waves. Much more data can be transmitted via light waves because the waves are in nanometers versus centimeters for radio waves. With each light being a communication path, LiFi also offers users more freed up bandwidth, allowing the data density LiFi to communicate at higher speeds.

Security is also a HUGE benefit of LiFi. Light can be contained to a building, space, or room while WiFi’s radio waves can leak through walls and be picked up outside a building, house, or apartment. If you’re not under LiFi’s light, you’re not connecting to the network. It can be localized in buildings as well, allowing people who walk into lobbies to have public access while workers at their desk can connect to their company network. Lastly, because LiFi uses light beams which don’t interfere with other electronic devices like radio waves can. This gives added security to places like hospitals and airplanes.  

Here at Energy Performance Lighting, we have the first installment of a LiFi system in the United States from PureLiFi. It’s still in its infancy but it’s here! With the rate of advancements, LiFi is expected to be showing up more commonly in the next 2-3 years. We’re excitedly watching this new technology develop and can’t wait to work with customers interested in installing it.

If you’re interested in learning more about LiFi, check out PureLiFi’s website.

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Lighting is changing very quickly. Not only the technology of lighting but more importantly our understanding of how light affects human physiology. Advancements in the technology of how we produce light have enabled us to separate light spectrum down to the nanometer and study how this light not only affects human physiology but all living organisms.

Step back and think about evolution, all life began with light. Different life forms evolved and thrived based on specific spectrums of light. Humans, plants, bacteria, etc all thrive or die based on the spectrum of light it is exposed to. You can obviously see the difference between the spectrum of natural sunlight and the spectrum of a fluorescent lamp.

For us it all began with the discovery of the intrinsically photosensitive Retinal Ganglion Cells (ipRGC) found in the retina of eyes in 2002 by Samer Hattar, David Berson et al. Rods and cones are the visual photo receptors in our eyes helping us see black, white, and color; the ipRGC is a nonvisual photoreceptor. The ipRGC responds to specific spectrums of light and turns things on and off in our bodies.  Much of the spectrum that drives human physiological response is missing from our everyday lighting. We are just beginning to understand how this affects us in our daily life. 

We apply the latest research and lighting technology to our lighting designs. We understand there is so much more to light than just seeing. Yes, you have to have the illuminance right to comfortably perform specific tasks, but just as importantly, we need the light spectrum correct in our indoor environments to improve human health, productivity, and safety. We know how to apply this research for your specific environment.

If you get lighting right for human physiological response, a side benefit is 50-80% energy savings.

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