Harald Haas coined the “Li-Fi” term in his TED Global talk last year. It seems to have resonated well and the term has begun to be used generally to describe high speed optical wireless communications.
I confess, I was not a fan of the term from day one. To me, the name suggested a direct alternative to Wi-Fi and I felt it might send out the wrong message about VLC. In the same way as Wi-Fi can be viewed as complimentary to cellular data, I view VLC as an assistant to Wi-Fi in areas where very high data rates are required in a localised area.
The term Li-Fi has just appeared on the front cover of February’s Wired magazine and was added to Wired’s Jargon Watch.
This week it has been used widely in an article on visible light communication in The Economist “Tripping the light fantastic”. The superb illustration by Dave Simonds even has the Li-Fi name emblazoned on the light bulb.
My old elevator pitch on VLC always had to be short since my office is just on the second floor. It went along the lines of “we turn light bulbs into Wi-Fi” This was sometimes interpreted as we stick a wireless radio module into the bulb so I often had to explain what this really meant. However, I have found with the term Li-Fi people seem to get the concept quicker. They identify it as similar to Wi-Fi but obviously with a twist. “Li” standing for “light” when explained gets the difference across and importantly is easily remembered.
Li-Fi appears to be heading towards common parlance, so Li-Fi it is then!