Startup Velmenni moves Li-Fi from lab to real-world tests

New Delhi startup Velmenni is moving its Li-Fi technology from the research lab to real-world tests. The company's CEO told the International Business Times UK that it has started testing the technology within offices and industrial environments in Tallinn, Estonia.

Li-Fi allows data to be sent at high speeds using visible light communication (VLC). During pilot tests, Velmenni was able to send data through the Li-Fi light bulbs at up to 1 Gbps, which basically equates to downloading an HD film in a just a few seconds, according to the report. Li-Fi's advocates say it offers greater security on local networks because light can't pass through walls, which also leads to less interference.

Velmenni was a finalist in the recent Slush 100 startup competition in Helsinki.

"We are doing a few pilot projects within different industries where we can utilize the VLC (visible light communication) technology," Deepak Solanki, CEO of Velmenni, told IBTimes UK. "Currently we have designed a smart lighting solution for an industrial environment where the data communication is done through light. We are also doing a pilot project with a private client where we are setting up a Li-Fi network to access the Internet in their office space."

The success of the pilot projects could see Li-Fi technology rolled out for consumers within the next three to four years, according to Solanki, allowing people to access the Internet using light bulbs in their home. But Solanki acknowledged the need to integrate the Li-Fi system with the current version of other technologies. Techniques for retrofitting existing devices need to be developed.

Inventor Professor Harald Haas from the University of Edinburgh has claimed that in the future every LED lightbulb could be used as an ultra-fast alternative to Wi-Fi. With SIM OFDM and spatial intermodulation, the light source is able to transmit data. In a September 2015 TED talk, Haas demonstrated a video transmission from a standard off-the-shelf LED lamp to a solar cell with a laptop acting as a receiver; there was no Wi-Fi involved, just light. As the world adds more connected Internet of Things, "we need to use existing infrastructure as much as possible," he said.

Haas is also co-founder and chief science officer of pureVLC, a light communications technology company formed in 2012 as a spin-off from the University of Edinburgh to create OEM components, including LiFi drivers and receivers. The company recently announced it is working with French company Lucibel to co-develop and market Europe's first fully industrialized LiFi luminaire. The off-the-shelf solution will integrate pureLiFi's technology into a Lucibel LED lighting luminaire; it's expected to hit the market by the third quarter of 2016.

For more:
- see this International Business Times UK article
- see this Tech Radar article

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