Light­ing gi­ants switched on to ma­jor prospects

China Daily - - CHINA INTERNATIONAL IMPORT EXPO - By HE WEI in Shang­hai hewei@chi­

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 ...”

Eric Ron­dolat,

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.

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