We like to keep a watchful eye on the intersection of LED lighting and the ‘internet of things’. The potential is vast and there are already popular products on the market such the color changing, app controllable Phillips hue, and a host of newcomers offering LED light married with everything from security cameras to speaker systems, to internet connectivity. As these market leading products become more standardized and cost stabilized we aim to add them into our web offering, but for now we will keep watching, and will highlight interesting advancements in the field. Today’s story brings us, naturally, to the city of lights! The Paris metro got rolling in 1900, consists of 303 mostly underground stations, and in 2013 transported 1.54 billion riders (and almost half as many baguettes*). They have been in the midst of a four year, 250,000 light fixture LED upgrade, and for at least a year there have been rumblings about a project to bring ‘Li-fi’ internet access to riders, delivered through the LED lighting system. In the summer of 2016 those rumblings bore fruit with the announcement of a contract with french firm Oledcomm, who will install the lighting based internet delivery system in 66 stations. Li-fi works by making invisible modulations to the light from a luminaire – invisible to the human eye, but not to the camera on a smartphone, tablet or laptop. The same technology lies behind the positioning systems being used by retailers such as Carrefour and Target, but here it is being used to send data, rather than just to pinpoint someone’s position. Proponents of Li-fi say that it will add enormous capacity to wireless communications, because the visible light spectrum is 10,000 times larger than the radio frequency spectrum that Wifi uses. Some also note that it will operate much faster than Wi-fi, and that it will be useful in electromagnetic sensitive areas like hospital, airplanes and nuclear power plants. The completed project will likely make the Paris Metro the first public transportation system to offer Li-fi connectivity. While still a somewhat experimental technology, it’s great to see a deployment on this scale. Internet from your lights… who knew? Vivia La France!
*disclaimer – my wife is French, making me somewhat allowed to make baguette jokes. And yes, it is common to encounter baguettes on the metro… and berets.
To read more about the recent news, visit this link; http://luxreview.com/article/2016/06/lifi-innovators-on-track-to-complete-paris-metro-installation