I believe that 2012 will prove to be a turning point for optical wireless communications and VLC commercialisation. In 2011 we saw the green shoots of an industry emerge and this year I expect we will see the delivery of something real. Here are my predictions:
- The IEEE 802.15.7 standard will be improved during 2012 and OFDM modulation schemes adopted to provide higher data rates. The dimming schemes will also be improved to maintain data throughput in heavily dimmed conditions. Colour shift keying (CSK) modulation schemes are unlikely to evolve during 2012 since most LEDs currently being deployed are single colour types and not RGB. If this standard does evolve during 2012, I believe that VLC products will start to become IEEE compliant in 2013.
- Smart phone based positioning products using LED lamps or modulated displays will be piloted in the market. ByteLight and Casio ones to watch in this space.
- Early products for Wi-Fi spectrum relief will also be piloted during 2012. I believe these will be complementary to Wi-Fi to ease congestion, rather than a replacement technology. VLC Ltd will definitely be active in this space and I believe we will see competition from Japan and Germany.
- I think we might see a low-cost product using LEDs indicator lamps for device-to-device communications. This will be at a low data rate possibly using the LED as both transmitter and receiver in a half-duplex mode. As I mentioned in an earlier post this could emerge in a toy, or could even be in an electronic door lock.
- I am not expecting any Power over Ethernet (PoE) VLC products this year but I will predict that a PoE based LED lamp type of product might make the market as a forerunner to this.
The only certain thing about predictions is that they rarely turn out to be accurate. I am, however, confident that some of this will come true. It will be interesting to review the situation again in December 2012.