Top 10 Visible Light Communications Applications

There are many applications for VLC and here are my top 10 applications areas.  In later blogs I will consider certain applications in a little more detail.

Smart Lighting VLC

Smart Lighting in the home


Smart buildings require smart lighting. Smart lighting with VLC provides the infrastructure for illumination, control and communications and will greatly reduce wiring and energy consumption within a building.



By pointing a visible light at another device you can create a very high speed data link with inherent security.  This overcomes the problems of having to pair or connect and provides a much higher data rate than Bluetooth or WiFi.


Communicating in areas where there is risk of explosions can be a problem (e.g. in mines, petro-chemical plants, oil rigs etc.) . VLC is inherently safe and provides both safe illumination and communications.

VLC in Automotive & Transportation

VLC for Automotive Applications


Many cars already LED lamps. Traffic signage, traffic lights, and street lamps are adopting the LED technology so there are massive applications opportunities here.





The ability to send data quickly and in a secure way is the key to many applications.  The fact that the visible light cannot be detected on the other side of a wall had great security advantages.

VLC in Hospitals & Healthcare

VLC used in Hospitals


There are advantages for using VLC in hospitals and in healthcare.  Mobile phones and WiFi’s are undesirable in certain parts of hospitals, especially around MRI scanners and in operating theatres.



WiFi’s have got faster over but cannot keep up with demand for wireless data.  VLC can provide data rates greatly in excess of current WiFi and this can be done at low cost since the RF components and antenna system have been eliminated.

VLC in an aeroplane

VLC coverage inside aircraft


Radio is undesirable in passenger compartments of aircraft. LEDs are already used for illumination and can also be used instead of wires to provide media services to passengers.  This reduces the aircraft construction costs and its weight.





RF does not work underwater but visible light can support high speed data transmission over short distances in this environment.  This could enable divers and underwater vehicles to talk to each other.


Each visible light information source can be uniquely identified, so the location of any VLC device can be identified quickly and accurately.

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3 comments on “Top 10 Visible Light Communications Applications

  1. Dr. Povey,

    I am fascinated by this article, and am really hoping you could possible elaborate or provide more resources for me to read into for VLC’s applications within smart buildings and transportation safety.

  2. I work in fiber optic communications, so I understand the data carrying capacity of light. Over these short distances, chromatic dispersion wouldn’t be an issue. The only problem it seems would be that your photodetectors would always have to be pointed somewhat in the direction of the LED source. This would be very inconvenient for something such as a handheld device. I’m sure there are applications for this technology, tons of them. I just don’t see it replacing the 0.9, 2.4 and 5 GHz bands in terms of our primary wireless communication mediums.

    Vehicle communications is interesting, as well as military and marine. However I just don’t see this finding its way into our households any time soon. I mean, short of changing the channel on the television.

    Telecom Engineer

  3. Hi,
    Nice view of the applications. I want to know more & in details about VLC for vehicles communication. Kindly provide me with some links, papers etc which can help me particularly in vehicles.



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