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How to manufacture a car: Use Li-Fi
11 May 2016



Li-Fi is a nascent technology that transmits data in much the same way as Wi-Fi, except that it uses lightwaves rather than radio frequencies as its medium. Proponents say it will help usher in the fledgling Internet of Things (IoT) because it will open up desperately needed bandwidth. They point out that the visible light spectrum is 10,000 times larger than the constrained radio spectrum.



 The technology also potentially doubles the functionality of the ubiquitous lighting infrastructure by using it as an information pathway in which LED lamps and luminaires serve both as light sources and as communication transponders.



Li-Fi supporters also say that compared to Wi-Fi, it is less susceptible to interference and less likely to cause interference. On the other hand, Wi-Fi signals travel farther.



As a form of visible light communication (VLC), Li-Fi can have line-of-sight limitations. Nevertheless, Li-Fi could potentially serve many purposes, ranging from ordinary cafe web browsing to device-to-device communication.



The Fraunhofer Institute of Telecommunications, Heinrich Hertz Institute (HHI), will demonstrate a heavy-duty application at the Hannover Fair, a massive annual industrial and manufacturing exhibition where every year robots chuck around everything from cars to Chiclets.



In Fraunhofer’s Li-Fi demonstration, an inspection robot will transmit photographs over a Li- Fi system, Fraunhofer HHI project manager Dominic Schulz told LEDs Magazine.



It will be a proof-of-concept display of a system that when complete will send manufacturing instructions from factory ceiling lights to factory floor robots and thus support flexible, build- to-order car manufacturing processes.



Fraunhofer has been co-developing the technology, which it also calls “optical wireless communication,” with German lighting company Osram, German carmaker BMW, and Hungarian industrial automation firm Evopro.



“Using light as communication medium is a fascinating solution because there is little interference with existing technologies,” said Schulz. “We are convinced that we can efficiently use Li-Fi to meet many wireless communication requirements in business environments.”



The project, called “Optical Wireless Networks for Flexible Car Manufacturing Cells,” is part of a broader development initiative funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research aimed at advancing wireless communications in industry.



Fraunhofer said the goal is “the creation of robust communication links even in cases of line- of-sight interruption.”



Its combination of lighting with industrial and IT technology is illustrative of how the



lighting industry is teaming with — and in some cases competing against — IT vendors such as Cisco, Google, Apple, and many more to turn LED lighting into an intelligent infrastructure that helps collect, route, and analyze data.



Cisco and Philips, for instance, have teamed  to equip buildings in Holland and in Dubai with Power over Ethernet (PoE) lighting.  Philips is also conducting trials of lighting-based indoor positioning systems in supermarkets including one in Dubai to help engage physical-world shoppers with offers. In the US,  retail giant Target is also experimenting with similar technology from a different vendor.

Americans accepting LED bulbs
15 June 2015
Recently released, the seventh annual Socket
Survey from North American lighting leader Osram Sylvania found
65 percent of Americans surveyed have purchased LEDs for use in their homes and
the majority (64 percent) of those who did, purchased LED bulbs for use in
sockets for general illumination. Of the respondents who were identified as LED
bulb users, the most valued benefits of making the switch were reduced energy
consumption (96%), longer bulb lifespan (93%) and cost savings (93%).



This industry-benchmark survey, which is a nationwide measure of public
attitudes about energy-efficient lighting and awareness of lighting trends,
also showed 78 percent of Americans switched to a more energy-efficient
lighting technology since the phase-out of incandescent light bulbs went into
effect in January 2014, with 30 percent of respondents indicating they made the
switch to LED bulbs. The two biggest drivers for LED light bulb purchases were
the lifespan of the bulb and the amount of light produced, with 95 percent of
respondents indicating these qualities had some influence on their decision.



“The increasingly rapid pace of innovation makes this an exciting time to be in
the lighting industry. As technology continues to advance, our objective has
been to give consumers the highest-quality products to fit their needs in this
new lighting landscape,” said Jes Munk Hansen, CEO Osram Americas and CEO Osram
Lamps. “We are committed to continuing that innovation and leading the industry
in a time of transition from analog to digital, from mechanical to smart and
connected.”



With the continued growth of the home automation and smart home markets, the
seventh edition of the Osram Sylvania Socket Survey also took a deeper look at
consumer attitudes and awareness of smart lighting technologies. While 62
percent of respondents indicated they were aware of smart lighting technology,
only 10 percent have actually purchased smart LED bulbs for their homes.
However, 83 percent of those surveyed believe smart lighting is a good
introduction to home automation technologies, and 72 percent felt smart
lighting will eventually replace traditional light bulbs.



Additional findings of the 2015 Osram Sylvania Socket Survey include:



Consumer habits and trends

• The top sources of information on lighting for consumers are in-store
displays and store employees (43%), product packaging (36%) and friends and
family (30%).

• Consumers who already use LED bulbs in the home are more likely to purchase
LED bulbs again (44%) as opposed to non-LED bulb users (18%).

• Millennials were more likely to switch to LED bulbs following the
incandescent phase out (38%) as opposed to those over 55 (22%).



New technology awareness and adoption

• Most respondents (86%) believe at least one room in their home would benefit
from smart lighting technology with living rooms (58%), kitchens (49%) and
bedrooms (42%) topping the list. However, the next most common hotspots were
not inside the home, but in outdoor applications (40%) and in the garage (36%).

• While price was not the top consideration for regular light bulb purchases,
it was the top purchase influence for smart lighting products (90%), followed
by the life span of the bulb (87%) and the ability to turn the bulbs on and off
remotely (74%).

• Though in the minority, current smart lighting owners are more likely to
expand their “smart” homes with other technologies than non-users with products
like smart thermostats (84% vs. 58%), house alarms (80% vs. 51%) and door locks
(80% vs. 45%).
Philips estimates Africa could save $10 billion
09 July 2012
A recent study indicates that Africa could save $10 billion in energy costs annually by converting to LED lighting. During a Philips road show from Cairo to Cape Town, solar-powered LED street-light installations are helping to address lighting needs when electricity is unreliable.
Africa could save up to N1.63 trillion ($10 billion) in annual energy costs if it switched from incandescent to LED lighting. The change would also reduce carbon emissions by more than 50 million tonnes, which is the equivalent output of 35 power stations. These were the key findings of a recent research study conducted by Royal Philips. These figures reflect only on-grid lighting where electricity currently exists.
Nick Kelso, senior communications manager, Philips Lighting Africa, added that LED solutions, when combined with the latest innovations in battery and solar developments, can provide practical and sustainable light for some 600 million Africans who currently live without electricity according to the International Finance Corporation, a division of the World Bank.
“With this in mind, we see the need for new LED solutions in Africa, and the best place to begin is Nigeria, where we believe, there is a massive market waiting to be tapped,” said Kelso.
 In fact, as part of Philips’ African road show , it has begun installing solar-powered LED street lamps in Ghana and Marrakech using the Solar Gen2 lamps as well as an entry-level range of cost-effective LED street lights with lumen packages of 1500 to 6000 lm. Both product lines allow up to 30% higher transfer of energy from the solar panel to the batteries than is offered by traditional change controllers according to Philips.
 Eric Heutinck, general manager, Philips Lighting’s Maghreb and West African regions summarized ‘‘Quality LEDs offer part solutions to some of the key issues we face today, including energy crisis, climate change, resource scarcity, safety in our cities and an enhanced sense of health and wellbeing.’’
 Philips predicts that in 2020 approximately 75% of the global lighting market will be LED based. The company estimates that full switch to LED lighting would provide up to 80% energy savings in many applications or an average of 40% for all lighting applications.
About the Author  - Laura Peters is the Senior Technical Editor of Illumination in Focus