Project ELIoT readies LiFi for mass markets

August 01, 2019 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Project ELIoT readies LiFi for mass markets
Digital communication via modulated light signals has great commercial potential, experts believe: This LiFi - comparable to radio wave-based WiFi - promises high data rates and reliability at very short latencies, but has not yet a broad application base. The ELIoT research project is intended to change this.

The future IoT will place significantly higher demands on data rates, reliability and latency of wireless connections. If many future IoT devices communicate in a confined space, the need for transmission frequencies will increase much faster than previously assumed. With LiFi, ELIoT presents a new, networked wireless communication technology that works in the previously unused light spectrum, alongside WiFi and mobile radio.

LiFi could be successfully used in environments where radio frequencies cannot or may not be used. For outdoor use, it could enable direct connections with high bandwidth from roof to roof, between street lights or to the homes of consumers in the next generation network. There are also likely to be higher demands on wireless networks through software-controlled production (Industry 4.0), virtual and augmented reality, and autonomous driving. LiFi could also be used for this.

ELIoT began in 2019 as a project of the EU's largest research and innovation program, Horizon 2020. This program aims to achieve groundbreaking success by bringing good ideas from the laboratory to market. ELIoT receives €6 million from the public-private partnership "Photonics21". Partners include Signify (formerly Philips Lighting), Nokia, MaxLinear, Deutsche Telekom, KPN, Weidmüller, LightBee, Oxford University, Eindhoven University of Technology and the two Fraunhofer Institutes Heinrich Hertz Institute HHI and FOKUS. Further companies will follow shortly as associated partners.

"With ELIoT, we have established an extremely efficient consortium of companies and organizations in the European lighting and communications industries. ELIoT represents a closed value chain with partners who cooperate with research institutions in the areas of components, chipsets, systems and applications in order to make LiFi technology commercially viable for the IoT of the future," says project coordinator Dr. Volker Jungnickel of Fraunhofer HHI.

Professor Jean-Paul Linnartz, co-initiator of ELIoT and head of LiFi research at Signify, underlines the potential of ELIoT: "LiFi offers interference-free high-speed communication with high reliability. The available bandwidth can be fully reused in any room. The lighting


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