Big LiFi Players Participate in Eindhoven Conference

A LiFi conference was held yesterday in Eindhoven and all of the big players attended: pureLiFi, Signify, Oledcomm, and Nokia.  Your humble editor was one of about 29 that joined online. Pieter Hermans of Jakajima moderated the event. 

Marcos Martínez, Director of Standards Engineering, MaxLinear, discussed the importance of having silicon developed to improve performance.  He discussed that LiFi should complement other technologies and seemed to infer that LiFi would not stand alone against WiFi.  He also professed that there wasn’t much understanding of LiFi or demand for the technology, saying, “99% of the population does not know about LiFi.”  After his talk, he was politely challenged by Harald Haas, of University of Strathclyde, who is generally known as the Father of LiFi and co-founder of pureLiFi.  Professor Haas reminded Mr. Martínez that there was no demand for touch screen technology either until it was invented, and then the market figured out the best solutions.

Ron Schaefer, pureLiFi, discussed that AR/VR is just one technology that will dramatically increase demand for LiFi. Earlier, in a session that was in the middle of the night (my time), Professor Haas explained that they have demonstrated one terabyte per second, and there was discussion if that speed would ever be necessary. Schaefer explained that to see small movements of the human face in a 3D hologram, it would require about 19 gigapixels per frame, which ends up being about 1 TBps.

He also discussed the issues with 2.4 GHZ and even 5 GHz and their limited spectrum, reminding the audience that all IoT devices will move to 5GHz.  He went on to say that most IoT devices are attacked within 5 minutes of coming online. 

pureLiFi has built LiFi into the case of the Android phone which uses infrared for uplinks and downlinks, so it works in the dark without a light. Schaefer said they simply drilled a small hole in the back of the phone to connect the antenna.

Schaefer ended his presentation by stating he did not know the use cases that will be winners, stating, “Our job is to provide a better pipe. Chances are the majority of uses we imagine today are not right…it will likely be something we haven’t imagined.  Give the pipe to the world and they will find uses.”  He urged the audience not to get trapped thinking LiFi is for specific singular uses such as underwater or military communications.   

Other speakers included representatives form Signify, Kyocera SLD, and Nokia.

To my knowledge, this was the first worldwide LiFi conference since the 2019 Global LiFi Conference in Paris, where I was honored to have a small speaking role.  Overall, it was a very good discussion and we hope to see more LiFi in the marketplace.

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