Lighting giants switched on to major prospects
Global businesses are bringing their smart lighting solutions to the China International Import Expo, as calls for energy efficiency and an easier life in China are set to spur huge market potential for the technology.
Dutch lighting specialist Signify, formerly known as Philips Lighting, has demonstrated a string of globallyleading lighting technologies, including the first Li-Fi-enabled luminary solution to the fair, as the company deepens its commitment to the Chinese market.
Some of Signify’s exhibits underscored its ambition to help advance China’s smart city initiative, such as Li-Fi lighting, horticultural products for city farms, the newly launched Internet of Things platform and the Philips Hue, a smart lighting system for homes.
Li-Fi is a two-way, highspeed wireless technology similar to Wi-Fi, but it uses light waves instead of radio waves to transmit data. Signify’s Li-Fi products could provide a broadband internet connection through light waves without compromising lighting quality.
According to CEO Eric Rondolat, light is an important aspect, carrier and enabler for the IoT, particularly as a large part of the electricity grid is based on lighting, thus making connected lighting a backbone of the system.
“Just a little over 10 years ago, two-thirds of our sales volume consisted of incandescent lamps, whereas today 70 percent of our sales consists of LEDs and as of 2020 every LED we put on the market will be IoT-connected or connectable,” he said.
Also bringing similar technologies is pureLiFi, a United Kingdom-based company that began at the University of Edinburgh and is part of the UK national pavilion. The company said Li-Fi technology is a faster, more secure and energy-efficient connection than Wi-Fi.
Demand for wireless internet access is in danger of overloading the amount that can currently be supplied by Wi-Fi. Researchers say that Li-Fi has no such limitations and could enable this capacity crisis to be overcome.
“This broadband solar panel receiver technology for Li-Fi will help solve the challenges of the digital divide throughout the world,” said Harold Haas, a professor from the University of Edinburgh.
“Li-Fi is a connectivity platform that will revolu-
So it’s great to see an initiative like this one (the CIIE), which talks about globalization, win-win situations between nations through innovation and trade ...”
CEO of Signify tionize wireless communications for 5G and beyond. China has the highest number of internet users in the world, and Li-Fi could make a significant impact on China’s wireless infrastructure, providing high-speed, efficient data transfer with unprecedented bandwidth,” said pureLiFi’s CEO Alistair Banham.
Company representatives added that the CIIE has demonstrated China’s determination to realize trade liberalization and economic globalization, which in turn enhances the firm’s confidence in the market.
“In the past year or so, doing business in the world has become more complicated,” Signify’s Rondolat told reporters. “So it’s great to see an initiative like this one (the CIIE), which talks about globalization, win-win situations between nations through innovation and trade ... which is very refreshing and very needed at this point of time.”
During the expo, the company also signed a strategic cooperation agreement with China National Building Material Group, a major building materials manufacturer and leading integrated service provider, to conduct global cooperation in the field of horticultural lighting.
Signify has signed up to participate in the second CIIE to show its deepened and long-term commitment to China, said Wang Yun, Signify’s president in China.
“Signify will leverage CIIE to launch game-changing lighting technologies and solutions in the Chinese market, promoting the development of IoT for lighting and the upgrades of the whole lighting industry,” Wang said.
He added the company will explore an open approach to trade and innovation and contribute to the success of the Belt and Road Initiative and to the transition toward smart cities.
A child is attracted by the large screen of the Signify booth.