PureLiFi prepares for LiFi technology trial in Singapore

LiFi-X is the first high-speed LiFi dongle. (Image: pureLiFi)

Edinburgh, Scotland-based PureLiFi is on a roll, making its debut at London’s LuxLive with a demo of a live LiFi, or light fidelity, internet connection—a first of its kind for the conference—as well as getting new funding from a Singaporean firm and inking a deal with Singapore’s government to conduct joint LiFi trials.

At the LuxLive event, the audience saw video content played via a LiFi internet connection. The LiFi system was connected via USB to a tablet. When pureLiFi COO Harald Burchardt stood underneath the Power over Ethernet adapted stage lights, a network was quickly detected, according to a CE-Pro Europe article. 

LiFi uses light to transmit data wirelessly, and while PureLiFi says it can be used to turn every light in an office, home, car or even streetlight into a wireless Internet access point, it is not trying to unseat Wi-Fi. During his talk in the IoT Arena at LuxLive, Burchardt commented that he does not consider Li-Fi to be a replacement to Wi-Fi, but wished it instead to be viewed as a, “secure extension to already available layers of communication,” Lux Review reported.

Professor Harald Haas, CSO of PureLiFi and professor of mobile communications at the University of Edinburgh, was recognized as the “father of LiFi” after introducing the technology to the world at a TED Global talk in 2011, where he demonstrated light fidelity for the first time and coined the term LiFi. He co-founded PureLiFi, which in 2016 launched its first LiFi dongle—LiFi-X—and integrated LiFi luminaire.

Last month, the company said it has been working closely with Singapore’s Info-communications Development Media Authority (IMDA) to trial its emerging technology in the sovereign city-state. The IMDA agreed to facilitate LiFi trials by removing some of the regulatory barriers, marking what PureLiFi describes as a global first that has the potential to enhance Singapore’s competitiveness with the advent of 5G and the Internet of Things. Singaporean investment firm Temasek also invested an undisclosed sum in PureLiFi.

IMDA, which issued a formal invitation for companies to conduct LiFi trials in Singapore, has said that LiFi could deliver potentially higher capacity throughput of up to 1 Gbps while alleviating demand for radio spectrum. Potential use cases include home and enterprise networking to complement the existing networks such as mobile and Wi-Fi networks, providing an additional boost in the capacity; and location-based services, with LiFi opening up advertising and navigational opportunities for businesses, where users of LiFi-enabled mobile devices can receive relevant information based on their locations.

RELATED: Analysts: Apple's pursuit of Li-Fi would require entire new ecosystem

Reports surfaced earlier this year that Apple appeared ready to include a LiFi capability in future versions of the iPhone after versions of iOS code were found to contain references to LiFi. Beginning with iOS 9.1, the operating system's library cache file makes mention of "LiFiCapability" along with other hardware and software capability declarations.  

When pressed at LuxLive, both Burchardt and another senior member of the PureLiFi team, Nikola Serafimovski, remained tight lipped on whether or not Apple had any plans to jump on the technology and include it in a future iPhone model, according to Lux Review.