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Li-Fi tech too nascent to be effective – consultants

Short signal range and system reliability are some of the challenges Li-Fi faces, lighting experts say

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Li-Fi, a technology that uses visible light to enable high-speed wireless data communication instead of radio frequency, still needs a lot of improvement before it can be truly effective, experts say.

In an interview with Middle East Consultant, lighting consultants said that while the capacity of the spectrum is virtually limitless, a number of issues with the technology still need to be overcome before it gets accommodated in lighting design projects.

“The downside of Li-Fi is short signal range and system reliability, but it’s a relatively new technology which is still under development,” says Alex Shaw, design director at UAE-based lighting design consultant UMAYA.

Sergio Padula, technical director at Italian lighting firm iGuzzini, agreed saying that the technology’s development is still at an early stage and has very limited application thus making it difficult to understand its potential for the lighting industry.

“It seems to be something which can lead to interesting opportunities but at the moment, it is too early to understand its real impact and the benefits it might carry along,” Padula said.

Others like Mark Vowles, director at UK lighting design firm Nulty, are a little more sceptical saying that the introduction of Li-Fi may not have a big impact on lighting design at all.

“Primarily, lighting design helps improve the environment for occupants, not enhance their access to the internet. I can see the benefits of it in an open plan office, but when you start configuring partitions and walls in a space, the Li-Fi can’t pass through and it becomes redundant. I’ve also read that Li-Fi is affected by bright daylight, which as a designer, we try to encourage the use of as much as possible,” Vowles said.

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