Signify, the company formerly known as Philips Lighting that produces Hue-branded smart lights, has announced a new range of internet-transmitting LiFi lights called Truelifi. The range called Trulifi, a new high-speed version of its LiFi technology, leverages existing and future professional luminaires by sending and receiving wireless data throughout the workplace. The product range will consist of both new lights as well as transceivers that can be retrofitted into existing lighting. The technology can also be used to wirelessly connect two fixed points with data speeds of up to 250 Mbps.
LiFi (short form for Light Fidelity), a super-fast alternative to WiFi, is a wireless technology that transmits high-speed data using Visible Light Communication (VLC).They’re capable of transmitting data to devices like laptops at speeds of up to 150 Mbps using light waves, instead of the radio signals used by 4G or WiFi, to provide an internet connection.
Further, Trulifi uses optical wireless transceiver technology built, or retrofitted, into Philips Luminaires, which means customers do not have to tear out and replace their existing lighting infrastructure to receive great quality light and wireless connectivity.
“Signify (Euronext: LIGHT), the world leader in lighting, launched a new range of LiFi systems that includes the world’s fastest and most reliable LiFi systems commercially available. The range, branded Trulifi, leverages existing and future professional luminaires. Instead of using radio signals (such as WiFi, 4G/5G, Bluetooth, etc.), Trulifi uses light waves to enable highly reliable, secure two-way wireless communications at speeds far above most conventional workplace wireless technologies,” Olivia Qiu, Chief Innovation Officer at Signify wrote in the press release.
LiFi technology has been around for years — Oledcomm even presented a working prototype back at CES 2018 — but so far it’s failed to take off. Most internet-connected devices like laptops and smartphones need an external adapter to receive data over LiFi, and even then the signal can be blocked when the receiver is in shadow. Signify says you’ll need to plug a USB access key into a laptop to receive a LiFi signal from its Truelifi products.
In the right circumstances, however, LiFi’s use of light rather than radio signals to transmit data has its advantages. For example, it can be used in areas where there might be a lot of radio frequency interference, or in places like hospitals where RF could interfere with sensitive machines. While LiFi signals can be easily blocked, this disadvantage can be a boon to security applications since you have a lot more control over where the network spreads.
According to the company, the new range of internet-transmitting LiFi lights can transmit data using speeds of up to 150 Megabits per second (Mbps) over large spaces, such as meeting rooms and office floors. It also supports a fixed point-to-point system with speeds up to 250 Mbps for more demanding applications, acting as a wireless cable to connect devices. In order to get a LiFi signal from its products, all you need to do is to plug in a USB-access key to the computer.
“Trulifi underlines our strategy to unlock the potential of light to address new high-growth markets. Through our global presence, large installed base and industry knowledge, we’ll help existing and new customers to leverage their lighting infrastructures to receive reliable, secure, high-speed wireless communication at a very competitive price-point. Wherever there’s light, there can now be wireless communication,” Olivia added.
Signify, a leading lighting provider, is initially targeting professional markets like offices, hospitals, and other large buildings rather than homes, where it has the potential to reach a much wider audience, though they would eventually extend it to regular consumers in due time.
The company has not yet revealed a release date for the products.