Wireless connectivity through cellular and Wi-Fi networks are an indispensable requisite for today’s IT environments. What if you can get speed 100 times faster than traditional WiFi connections? Would you be interested in investing for such futuristic connectivity? Below is an excerpt of the conversation between Mr. Anuj Dhir, Vice President & Business Head, Commercial Lighting Business of Wipro and Nimeesh Kumar of Electronicsforu.com Network exploring opportunities for growth of LiFi technology in India and Asia.
Q. What is LiFi technology? What are the Business opportunities for LiFi lighting in India and Asia?
A. LiFi being a high-speed bidirectional fully networked, wireless communication using visible light rather than radio frequencies, can offer significantly greater security, data speed and densities to support more robust and reliable wireless networks that complement and enhance existing cellular and Wi-Fi networks. LiFi is likely to open up avenues for Service Business model viz., LaaS: Lighting as a Service which bundles Lighting & Bandwidth.
Wipro Lighting, has partnered with pureLiFi – global providers of LiFi technology and commercialisation, to harness their LiFi technology to develop applications for the wireless communications and lighting market in Asia. Wipro Lighting has been an active promoter of this technology on its Internet of Lighting (IoL)TM platform and recently exploring various business segments where this technology can penetrate well.
It is a known fact that MNCs, especially IT companies need unprecedented data & huge data bandwidths. Usage of LiFi enhances user experience with lights connecting to data and powering this industry’s growing demand for connectivity. LiFi networks for daily work, conference streaming, remote desktops along with video, can provide an enhanced user experience with the confidence of robust security. The directionality of light propagation can effectively reduce interference in heavily populated offices. Wireless off-loading to LiFi releases spectrum for connecting other devices.
Q. Which sectors could see higher adaptability of LiFi technology?
A. LiFi offers an unprecedented opportunity for connectivity within hospitals and healthcare facilities. LiFi does not emit electromagnetic interference and therefore does not interfere with medical instruments, nor is it interfered with by MRI scanners.
In defense & banking sectors, LiFi applications include secure communications through light due to the intrinsically safe nature of containing light. Additionally it also has an ability to apply different security levels to individual lights or a group of lights allowing for very sophisticated geofencing.
In coming future, LiFi can enable the realisation of truly smart cities. Street lights, building lights, and transportation lighting will be able to communicate wirelessly. LiFi has the ability of relieving public wireless congestion as an offloading facility for radio frequencies.
The next few years will witness LiFi not only providing high speed, secure and reliable wireless communications for users of transport, but also enabling vehicle to vehicle communications. Li-Fi is well suited for aviation – use of visible light spectrum means it won’t cause electromagnetic interference with the airplane’s crucial instruments. The cabin’s lighting system could also deliver in-flight entertainment (IFE), duty-free shopping and communications.
Lifi enables business analytics across all the above mentioned segments where high speed connectivity as well lighting play a crucial role.
Q. What are the Sales & Marketing Strategy to tap this opportunity?
A. We have established a dedicated team of sales & marketing professionals who understand the upcoming technologies and will be catering to the smart & connected lighting projects. The same team is exploring avenues where LiFi technology can be effectively put into place.
Our signature event – Lightshows – running this year across all the metros and major second tier cities in India – is based on new technology – Internet of Lighting. At this event, we have a full-fledged set-up to educate and demonstrate prospective customers about the working, features and benefits of LiFi technology.
Q. Who are the Target Audience to start the adoption?
A. Like for the penetration of any new technology, progressive customers who are keen in early adoption of new technologies and trends are our key target customers.
Q. What is the role of partners viz. trade channel or system integrator in this regard?
A. Our existing network of channel partners PAN India is fully equipped to create awareness and engage interest in the market about the LiFi technology, enabling the business in this new segment.
Q. What is the role of architects and other influencers in this ecosystem?
A. Architects & Project Consultants have always shown great interest and played a significant role in popularising Wipro Lighting’s products.
The involvement of architects is high from design & aesthetic perspective of the workspace.
Role of consultants, especially IoT(Internet of Things) consultants is moderate to high. They are chiefly responsible for bringing in new technology in modern workspaces and at the same time, its their responsibility to make them energy efficient and sustainable.
Q. What is the team structure at Wipro to tap this market?
A. We have established a dedicated team of sales, marketing, quality and service professionals who understand the upcoming technologies and will be catering to the smart & connected lighting projects. The same team is exploring avenues where LiFi technology can be effectively put into place.
With 19 branches PAN India, catering to our customer needs, we are well-equipped to provide the LiFi technology & related services in the country.
Q. What are the plans for investment in R&D and Product Development?
A. Research & Product Development is an ongoing process. Wipro is committed to innovation and improvement to bring out the best quality products and services to its customers.
We have a dedicated team focused on research & product development to help the LiFi technology become popular in India and Asia.
Q. What message would you like to convey to senior decision makers amongst enterprise and SME customers?
A. As a leader in LED lighting solutions, we need to ensure we are providing our customers with the gold standard in lighting innovation. Wipro envisions to provide high speed, secure and safe data transmission to its customers with the use of LiFi technology.
Our partnership with pureLiFi will provide the platform to ensure we are at the cutting edge of the LiFi technology revolution.
While constraints like technology upgrade and capex+opex limit the use of wired connectivity, limited radio frequency spectrum also puts constraints on the increasing demand for ubiquitous connectivity with varied bandwidth capability. Moreover, the use of wireless spectrum loads the premium licensing cost of spectrum usage on the telco business case as well as total cost of ownership towards the end customer.
The LiFi technology uses unregulated spectrum of visible light (380 nm to 750 nm) that does not need licensing; and it’s adoption over period of time will bring down total cost of ownership.