In a press release issued yesterday the new Li-Fi Consortium ™ was launched with the aim of promoting Optical Wireless Communications.
The Consortium’s stated mission is: “to promote new high-speed optical wireless usage models both indoors and outdoors. The Li-Fi Consortium provides resources for OEM and ODM developers to create exciting new products. With the emergence of high-speed cable connections like Thunderbolt and USB 3.0, the stage is set for a wireless equivalent. While Wi-Fi is very popular for pervasive 100+ Mbit/s service, multi-Gigabit short-range optical wireless interconnects provide an alternative to the proposed WiGig Gigabit RF solution.”
The Li-Fi Consortium is promoted as an industry group open to any company focused on the commercial development of optical wireless communication (OWC) technology. Unlike VLC, OWC includes infra-red (and in theory UV) as well as visible light and so the community is potentially quite diverse. The founding members are perhaps an early indicator of the shape of the Li-Fi Consortium. These members are: Fraunhofer IPMS, Germany, IBSENtelecom, Norway, Supreme Architecture, Israel/USA and TriLumina, USA.I must admit to being unaware of the formation of this group until yesterday so I am keen to learn more and share this information with the VLC community. Perhaps I can get one of their founders to provide me a suitable post for this blog. So far I can only see positives in the launch of the Li-Fi Consortium since it wishes to establish relationships with other organisations “which can help create a mature industry environment for implementers.”
What is Li-Fi?
As far as I am aware the term Li-Fi (short for Light Fidelity) was coined by Harald Haas in his TED Global talk in July this year as a way to convey the similarity between Wi-Fi and light bulbs transmitting data*. Consequently the term was reported in many articles and seems to be rapidly entering common parlance to describe visible light communications or in this case optical wireless communication. Having now been adopted by the Li-Fi Consortium I feel the term has now been claimed by the optical wireless industry to describe wireless data access points using light (visible or otherwise).
The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) describes Wi-Fi as: Wi-Fi (abbreviation); Wireless Fidelity, a group of technical standards enabling the transmission of data over wireless networks. It might be a while before Li-Fi enters the OED but perhaps it has already earned itself a Wikipedia entry.
* Luxim have used LIFI as the name of a specialist lamp but this had no data capabilities.