When the light starts talking


Lifi – the new generation of optical Wi-Fi - a Smart lighting for a Smart city!


Jenny Kassis visited LIFIHUNTERS’ offices and met with Dr. Ani Atanasova, CEO, LIFIHUNTERS and PIXELHUNTERS companies who gave her a demonstration of one of the latest wireless revolutions.


We heard that you make the lights talking. Could you please explain how you do this?

Indeed, we make the lights talking. We are capable of transmitting data such as files, mp3, mp4 and other documents, and connecting to internet through the LED lights. This is the newest revolution in the wireless communications technology, called LiFi.


When did this idea start and how are you developing it across different continents?

Our group, headed by our shareholder Oledcomm SAS started the research and development of this technology in 2007. It is a spin-off of the University of Versailles, France. In 2012 we started commercial deployment all over the world – from Australia to Mexico. Today, the biggest deployment of LiFi is in France, where you can see the technology integrated by EDF, SNCF, Airport of Paris (ADP), Thales and many other institutions. We have won multiple awards including Academic Enterprise Award for Innovation 2013, OSEO Award 2013 of the French Ministry of Industry, Cleantech Open 2013 for green technology using, SNCF Open Innovation Award 2013 and similar prizes.


Where can you employ this technique?

We are able to make lights talking wherever there are LED lights. In fact, LED lights are the future. Ultimately, the lights will be replaced by LED lights as the production of normal incandescent lights has stopped. The LED lights are a sustainable technology since they are considered to use 80% less energy. Moreover, through our technology a communication channel can occur. With these over LED lights coupled with LiFi, we will be able to create an amazing big data network. Does it need Wi-Fi or internet access to run?


It is similar to Wi-Fi, but works through LED lights. Thus, it is an optical Wi-Fi. For this reason, it is called Light Fidelity LiFi. Moreover, we do need internet access from an internet provider. However, the mode to connect wirelessly to it can be made through the lighting system. This is much faster than the Wi-Fi without a saturation of the bandwidth. In addition, it can be used in places where the normal Wi-Fi cannot be used –for instance, underwater, in hospitals, schools, airplanes, and metro. Hence, in any place where we cannot use radio frequencies.


What are the main features of this technique?


The LED lighting network can be used for geo-localization and geo-marketing services. Imagine you have an application on your smartphone that allows you to find where you have parked your car in just a few seconds. Imagine you can find the shop you are looking for with a simple click on your smart phone which will guide you through path-navigation inside the mall. Imagine that you can receive all the information about exhibits in museums by pointing your tablet towards the lights. Imagine you can communicate with the lights of your car… Many applications can be realized. Practically, it is an infinite source of opportunities to satisfy our data needs faster, more securely and in an eco-friendly way.


How is your method responding to the UAE Smart Government initiative?


Dubai Smart Government is a pioneering initiative in the region to provide government online services across the spectrum of corporate and community life in the emirate. Therefore, there is plenty of data usage and transmission required for this initiative. What is more convenient than finding another way to communicate wirelessly? Especially when it matches with the long-term national initiative launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, last year under the theme "Green Economy for Sustainable Development". This initiative aims for the UAE to become an international hub for renewable energy and sustainability. Our solution goes in harmony with securing a “greener way” of data communication!


How is your solution considered as an eco-friendly practice?


The LED lights are the most energy sufficient lightings. They are energy saving (use 80% less energy, compared to only 35% for fluorescent and 10% for incandescent lighting). They also save carbon footprint. The LEDs emit light in a specific direction, whereas an incandescent or fluorescent bulb emits light and heat in all directions. For direct lighting applications LED lighting uses both light and energy more efficiently. For instance, a recessed incandescent or fluorescent bulb will waste about half of the light that it produces, while a recessed down light with LEDs only produces light where it is needed — in the room below. The LED lighting is also more durable, versatile and longer lasting than incandescent and fluorescents lighting. On the other hand, the Wireless Internet routers use electromagnetic radiation to send their signals to your computer through walls.

If you have a wireless Internet router set up in your home or office, then you are receiving EMF exposure. Through our technology, we use the visible light to transmit data, which is absolutely safe and combined with the most eco-friendly lighting technology.


How do you plan to develop this technique further?


We will continue improving the technology as such and will develop it from the Business to Business to the Business to Consumer market. Also, we will keep working on different types of applications using the LED lights. We have more plans to accomplish. We are very passionate as this is the top-notch of the wireless communication technology.


About Dr. Ani Atanasova

Dr. Ani Atanasova is the CEO of LIFIHUNTERS & PIXELHUNTERS companies. She has a multi-faceted and multinational background in science, culture, management, and a strong scientific background in the Quantum and Optoelectronics field. Dr. Atanasova is the United Arab Emirates' Correspondent for the Young Business Leaders Organization France, she is the chair of the UAE Chapter of the International Game Developers Association, a core management team member of CEO Clubs UAE female division, and is a juror of the 2012-2013 International Business Awards, Stevie Awards and “A Design” Awards.


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