Lights That Go Beyond Illumination

As the world moves towards digitisation, cybersecurity remains a big concern for organisations and businesses especially SMEs. According to Kaspersky Lab, On average enterprises pay US$551,000 to recover from a security breach while the International Data Corporation (IDCWorldwide Semiannual Security Spending Guide, forecasts that worldwide spending on security-related hardware, software, and services will be USD106.6 billion in 2019, an increase of 10.7 percent over 2018. This amount will reach USD151.2 billion in 2023 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.4 percent over the 2019-2023 forecast period.

The 2018 Unisys Security Index Malaysia study, meanwhile, reveals that Malaysians recorded the third highest level of concern of the 13 countries surveyed, led by concern about data security issues such as identity theft, credit card fraud and internet hacking which could done through our WiFi connection.

Seizing this opportunity, Signify, the lighting arm of Philips, offers LiFi-enabled luminaires, which provide customers with the double benefit of  energy efficient LED light and a secure, stable and robust connectivity.

Alok Ghose, Chief Executive Officer of Signify in Asean says: “One of the  things that has gone to evolution in the lighting throughout the years is conventional lighting has become LED and analog has become digital. On top of being a very reliable light source, lighting from LED can also transmit data. That opens up immense opportunities for secured connectivity. One of the new technology that Signify is actively working on is Light Fidelity or LiFi, a wireless connectivity similar to WiFi but uses light waves instead of radio waves to transmit data.

“Connectivity is booming very fast, we expect in the next two to three years there will be 16 million connected devices around the world. With this there will be immense pressure on security, stability and the speed of the wireless connectivity. Most of this wireless connectivity technology work on radio waves and that spectrum is extremely congested.

“Wireless Connectivity technology has its security limitations, most importantly data security, WiFi for example, uses waves which moves through walls, therefore it can be easily hacked. On the other hand since the spectrum is very congested, the connectivity speed and stability are both getting increasingly under pressure,” he said.

Adding on, he said that LiFi basically turned a normal LiFi enabled lighting fixture into a wireless router. “The moment you connect a cable to a Wifi-enabled illuminator, it becomes a router and it can communicate with a connected device be it a laptop or a phone via light waves. This opens up a complete new spectrum of connectivity.”

“LiFi connectivity works only in the beam of the lighting.  In other words Lifi works within a confined space of lighting therefore there is a line of sight, which means it cannot be hacked by someone who is outside the beam space.  The communication between a device and the router happens through infrared,” he explained.

Alok said Signify currently worked on around 50Mbps speed and plans to  it to 250Mbps were in the pipeline.

LiFi is not a replacement for our connectivity via WiFi.  It complements WiFi with an additional layer of security as light cannot pass through solid walls and a line-of-sight to the light is needed to access the network. It can be used in places where radio frequencies may interfere with equipment, such as in a hospital emergency room, or where WiFi signals are weak, like underground tunnels.

“It’s also ideal for use in environments demanding high security; for example, the back office of a financial institution or government service,” adds Alok.



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