A new wireless technology that uses light to create an internet connection is supposed to be 100 times faster than regular Wi-Fi.
Li-Fi uses visible light communication, or VLC, to transmit data at speeds of 224 gigabytes a second, an Estonian tech firm called Velmenni is claiming. Li-Fi was just tested outside the lab for the first time and it moved data at one gigabyte a second; or 100 times faster than regular Wi-Fi, Physics-Astronomy reported.
That speed would enable a person to download 18 movies per second, according to IB Times UK. It uses visible light that clicks on and off through an LED light. The technology tested outside the lab would enable a person to download a high-definition movie in a few seconds, IB Times UK reported.
Li-Fi as a Payment Solution
Interestingly enough Li-Fi might be far more secure than regular Wi-Fi because it cannot pass through walls. That would make it useful for financial transactions and for payment technologies like Apple Pay.
Major US retailers like Walmart are refusing to take Apple Pay because the signals can be intercepted by hackers. Walmart (NYSE: WMT) has unveiled its own payment solution Walmart Pay that uses an optical technology called Quick Read Code that has to be directly scanned by a register.
One potential use for Li-Fi would be vending machines. Perhaps a machine that sells videos or games that would be downloaded directly to a phone or tablet via Li-Fi. Another would be for a next-generation ATM that would allow people to get cash with their phones. There is also the potential to create readers for toll booths so drivers would be able to pay with an App without stopping.
My guess is that big banks; such as JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM), and companies like Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOG), which offers Android Pay will jump on Li-Fi if it works. That will undoubtedly make Velmenni a very valuable unicorn and an obvious acquisition target for big tech companies like Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOGL) or Apple.
The Internet in a Light Bulb
Beyond payment other uses for Li-Fi will be robots, the military (for wireless connections the enemy cannot hack), and secure office networks. Velmenni is already testing such a network at an office in its Tallin, Estonia.
Strangely enough Velmenni CEO Deepak Solanki, thinks it might be possible to transmit Li-Fi data through light fixtures. That might make it cheaper to use than traditional Wi-Fi or broadband.
Li-Fi was invented by Professor Harald Haas from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Haas thinks that it would be possible to transmit Li-Fi through almost any light fixture.
"All we need to do is fit a small microchip to every potential illumination device and this would then combine two basic functionalities: illumination and wireless data transmission," Haas said. "In the future we will not only have 14 billion light bulbs, we may have 14 billion Li-Fis deployed worldwide for a cleaner, greener and even brighter future."
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