Unlocking the potential of LiFi in the Middle East

Unlocking the potential of LiFi in the Middle East

Internet use is exploding with video streaming, IoT devices and cloud-based services. Networks are under pressure to keep up with exponentially increasing bandwidth requirements. Also due to ever growing concerns about data security there are more and more areas where radio-based wireless communication (WiFi, 4G and 5G) is not permitted or is not the best fit due to security concerns. With connectivity becoming a focal point for the Middle East, Signify President & CEO, Middle East, Turkey, Africa and Pakistan Goktug Gur, is eager to implement LiFi in various industries after its successful installation at more than 200 projects worldwide.

Can you please tell us a bit about Signify and LiFi technology?

Signify is the world leader in lighting. Our lighting products, systems and services make people’s lives safer and more comfortable; businesses and cities more energy-efficient, smarter and liveable; and contribute to a more sustainable world. Sustainability is at the core of everything we do. This extends to our operations. As a proof point, I can proudly say that our company achieved carbon neutrality in September 2020 with our “Brighter Lives, Better World” sustainability program. Now we have new targets in Brighter Lives Better World 2025, where we would like to double our positive impact on environment and society.

We all want to be connected, everywhere, 24/7. But with more and more connected devices every day, the radio spectrum is getting full. Networks can become overloaded and in certain cases WiFi is not suitable or permitted. This is where LiFi comes in. Unlike WiFi, which uses radio waves, LiFi uses the broader spectrum of light waves to transmit and receive data wirelessly. 

Trulifi by Signify provides a range of LiFi systems that ensures reliable, fast and secure data connectivity. In recent years Trulifi has gained some traction in different security markets across the globe. Especially in governmental and defence environments, the light-based solution is used in applications where radio waves are not permitted and using cables is not preferred. In 2021 the Dutch Ministry of Defence implemented Trulifi for the royal Netherlands Air force to transmit data wirelessly where before cabling was the only tedious option. The World Forum The Hague, leader in hosting high-profile conferences, installed Trulifi to be able to provide their guests with safe and secure internet connections and peace of mind.

How does LiFi work and where can it be used? 

A Trulifi transceiver is installed into the ceiling or inserted in our Philips light fixture. A USB access key plugged into your laptop or tablet receives and sends data from the transceiver via a line-of-sight connection. LiFi can be fully integrated within a total lighting system with controls, without compromising light quality or performance.

Trulifi ensures spaces are equipped with highly secure, reliable and high-speed wireless connectivity, while providing users with the same standards for ease of use and comfort as with other wireless technologies. Our Trulifi system is highly suited for use in banks, schools, government, healthcare and industry, from multi-tenancy buildings to the areas where WiFi is poor or unavailable. It offers a secure, personal connection for anyone concerned about data privacy.

What is Trulifi’s commercial presence in the Middle East? 

As a global player, Signify has a significant presence in the Middle East and Africa. Right now, there are many Trulifi projects running in governmental organisations in Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey. We also cooperate with different value-added resellers and system integrators to provide end-to-end security solutions to our customers and I would like to ask companies interested in promoting this unique proposition to reach out to us to discuss mutual cooperation opportunities. 

Why is LiFi safer compared to conventional connectivity solutions? 

Besides encrypting the data, LiFi provides an additional level of physical security on the last mile of wireless communication because end users must be in the line of sight to connect. The coverage zone of LiFi is therefore more easily defined than with other wireless technologies and the access (by using USB access keys) can be better regulated. You can therefore create distinct bubbles of security, inaccessible to anybody else.

How scalable is LiFi? Is LiFi suitable for larger areas like offices?

Very much so! Trulifi systems can go from a small meeting room with a single LiFi access point to large office areas and completely support handover between different Trulifi access points. Our Trulifi solutions portfolio offers a controller both in a hardware and virtual machine form to fully integrate into the IT backbone, so that from a central dashboard on premises one can manage and control the whole LiFi infrastructure. Trulifi supports up to 16 users within the coverage beam of one Access Point. With seamless handover from one luminaire to the next, you can move around without losing connection. 

Can something simple like a TV remote control or an optical mouse interfere with Trulifi? 

We use optical filters to filter out any other wavelengths. In general, you have to be in the same physical location of the LiFi system to tamper with LiFi and that makes it highly unlikely. 

You mentioned you need a USB access key to get LiFi access. Isn’t that a downside for LiFi users? 

The USB access key is often seen as a downside for LiFi. From a security perspective, I consider it to be a big plus. It presents a physical barrier to enter the network, which comes on top of security measures. So, the USB access key is another way of making data connectivity more secure.

What do you see as the strategic direction of LiFi?

Signify wants to establish LiFi as a mainstream communication technology that connects millions of people and devices on a global level. In order to realise the growth we envision for LiFi, it is important to create a healthy ecosystem where all players in the value chain are represented. LiFi is a communication technology and any LiFi system deployment will consist of a network of interconnected nodes. 

This value chain includes luminaire manufacturers, LED component suppliers, mobile device manufacturer, chip vendors, communication service providers, network installers, etc. All these players need to come together to make LiFi a success. Standardisation plays an essential part in building this ecosystem, especially for applications with mass adoption such as in offices and homes and Signify is a leader in the global standardisation process for LiFi with international bodies like IEEE and ITU.

Finally, can you tell us how Trulifi can add value in the Middle Eastern security market?

As explained, LiFi provides a unique value with an extra layer of physical security in wireless communications and with stricter regulations imposed in the region for data security, Trulifi solutions can be a great asset for all security-sensitive environments like military, ministries of defence, ministries of interiors and police stations. We are also open to look into tailored co-development projects with governments as we realise that in some cases new technologies need to be adapted to local regulations.

Do you want to experience the benefits of fast, secure and reliable data connectivity? Contact us at lifi.systems@signify.com to try Trulifi yourself. For more information on Trulifi visit www.signify.com/lifi