*Nitesh Sirohi, **Ayon Tarafdar

Li−Fi (short for light fidelity) is a wireless communication technology which utilizes light to transmit data and position between devices. The term was first introduced by Harald Haas during 2011 at TED Global talk in Edinburg.He is professor of mobile communication at the University of Edinburg and the co-founder of pure LiFi along with Dr. Mostafa Afgani. During his talk, Professor Harald Haas introduced the idea of “wireless data from every light”. In technical terms, Li-Fi is a light communication system that is capable of transmitting data at high speeds over the visible light, ultraviolet and infrared spectrums (Figure 1). In its present state only LED lamps can be used for the transmission of visible light.In terms of its end use, the technology is similar to Wi−Fi. However, the key technical difference being that Wi−Fi uses radio frequency to induce a voltage in an antenna to transmit data whereas Li−Fi uses the modulation of light intensity to transmit data. Li−Fi can theoretically transmit at speeds upto 100 GBps. Li−Fi’s ability to safely function in areas otherwise susceptible to electromagnetic interference (e.g., aircraft cabins, hospitals, military) is an advantage. The technology is being developed by several organizations across the globe. 

The general term “visible light communication (VLC)”, whose history dates back to the 1880s, includes any use of the visible light portion of the electromagnetic spectrum to transmit information. Formally pure VLC, is an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) firm set up to commercialize Li−Fi products for integration with existing LED – lighting systems. In October 2011, a research organization, Fraunhofer IPMS and industry companies formed the Li-Fi consortium to promote high speed optical wireless systems and to overcome the limited amount of radio based wireless spectrum available by exploiting a completely different part of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Fig.1. Concept diagram of Li-Fi (courtesy of iphonedigital)

Li−Fi can be integrated in several daily activities which has been summarized in the figure below.

Fig.2. Applications of Li-Fi

LiFi in India

According to Haas, the possibilities of Li−Fi technology in the Indian environment are enormous. He has presented two points in front of Indian technology experts where Li−Fi can be highly beneficial for Indians. The arguments were presented as follows:

A. LiFi for rural India

Today, it is clear that nobody can grow and develop without the proper utilization of internet technology. However, the Indian rural community is far away from the impact of the modern digital world. If Li−Fi technology is installed, the rural communities can easily establish a connection with the internet through lighting systems. In Indian rural areas, a constant supply of electricity is still a very hot topic so, when the constant supply of electricity is a question for rural areas, how will they establish a connection with the internet. 

But thanks to the Li−Fi technology which can be combined with solar cells as receiver, it could deliver communication access to the rural communities. This way people from rural areas can get themselves educated with the power of the internet.

 B. Smart manufacturing

It has been also shared by Haas that with the use of Li−Fi technology, the present manufacturing system of India can improve but they would need the assistance of the right technology and technique which can be offered by Li−Fi. Smart Li−Fi powered robots and machinery can be used by manufacturing units to increase their production and capacity levels. Trade is the backbone of any economy and when it is powered by the arising technology like Li−Fi then nothing can stop that economy from growing and expanding especially, for developing economics like India.

Li-Fi in the food sector

Application of Li−Fi in the food sector is extremely rare but there are many aspects to the food sector when the technology can be efficiently utilized. For instance, better communication in food transportation trucks can be established in terms of GPS connectivity and online tracking, as Li−Fi does not cause any electromagnetic interference. Moreover, it also reduces the cost of additional wiring required to operate conventional networking systems. Li−Fi based nanosensors can be used to effectively transmit food data to enhance food safety and improve food traceability. In an industrial setting, the use of Li−Fi can enable different food processing equipment to wirelessly communicate with each other for futuristic automation without the use of expensive wiring while making IoT applications more convenient to establish. Li-Fi could also harmonize different robotic systems with artificial intelligence with minimum delay in communication due to its high speed data transfer ability. Such advantages could trigger faster food processing systems thereby, fetching higher revenues and making the food sector more profitable and sustainable. 

*Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering, Jaipur Engineering College and Research Centre, Jaipur 302 017, Rajasthan, India

**Livestock Production and Management Section, ICAR-Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar, Bareilly 243 122, Uttar Pradesh, India