Tag Archives: security

Ever wished for faster Wi-Fi? Check out this new technology…

How many lightbulbs do you see or pass every day? A few dozen? Or perhaps a few hundred? Imagine every single light bulb not only giving you light but also working as a wireless hotspot – and this a hundred times faster (about one gigabit per second) than our current Wi-Fi technology.

Well, that might soon become reality, with Li-Fi technology.

Li-Fi was invented by Harald Haas, a German professor from the University of Edinburgh, back in 2011.
The technology uses Visible Light Communication (VLC), a medium that uses visible light between 400 and 800 terahertz (THz). It works basically like an incredibly advanced form of Morse code – just like switching a torch on and off according to a certain pattern can relay a secret message, flicking an LED on and off at extreme speeds can be used to write and transmit things in binary code.

For an interactive way to learn what Li-Fi is about, check out the video below:

For the first time, Li-Fi has been tested and implemented outside of the lab – in an industrial complex in Tallinn, Estonia.

According to Deepak Solanki, CEO of Velmenni (Estonian tech company), the current tests are targeted for business clients, where the data communication is done through light. However, one project is also working on bringing Li-Fi technology to private homes. The results will be published soon.

So… Besides the speed, what are the other benefit of Li-Fi? It’s simple: security. Why? Because light cannot pass through walls, and thus makes it much harder to hack. A side effect is also that there will be less interference with other devices. Another benefit may be availability: at work, at home, on a train  and even on a smartphone – every light bulb that you can may be a potential source of high-speed data transmission.

The potential for this technology is huge, but the problem is that all our infrastructure is based on the Wi-Fi technology. This means that a rapid change to the Li-Fi is rather unlikely, but, a solution to this may be to make it compatible with the current technology & infrastructure. This is what Haas and his team are doing right now with PureLiFi: working on a plug-and-play application with secure connection and high-speed internet (tough not as fast as with the “standard” Li-Fi technology). In addition, a French start-up called Oledcomm is already planning on introducing Li-Fi into hospitals, where the interference plays a big role.

Critics have named two downsides to this technology:

  • it cannot be used outside and
  • light pollution

As you can see, the future is taking place right now! And to finish with the words of Mr. Haas: “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.” (TED Talk 2011 – see below to watch the whole talk, and fast forward to 5:30 for the really interesting stuff)

Bring it on.

This is what your smart home can do

Control your home heating system with your smartphone, close your blinds while on-the-go… those are just two out of many examples of what a smart home can do. There are plenty of smart home solutions out there, but which ones are really practical?

Imagine switching on your washing machine and turning on the heating just before leaving work, so that when you come home it’s nice and warm and your cloth are ready to be hung. Sounds good, right?

Well, that no more science fiction. All you need is the right equipment. From connected smoke detectors to intelligent lighting solutions, there are so many applications on the market that it’s hard to list them all.

Read on if you’d like to discover how all this works out.

In most cases, there is one wireless remote that communicates with all devices. You can then control via app the settings.

Security

The real challenge happens once the individual devices work together. Right now, most solutions focus on just one aspect, for example your home’s lighting or video surveillance system. If, however, they work together new opportunities start to appear. When away on holidays, lights could be programmed so that they switch on from time to time to fake presence. With connected video surveillance / connected cameras you can check on your smartphone if everything is alright at home, presence detectors and window sensors can send you a text message when a door changes status from “closed” to “open”, and so on… All this do the rest to really discourage potential burglars to enter your home. So, instead of investing in an expensive alarm system, you can save a lot of money by making your home not only safer but also more convenient via smart home features.

Smart home technology is therefore very useful to save money, very popular thanks to its convenience aspect and can make your home safer. Especially in the winter season smart lighting solutions such as Belkin WeMo , Philips Hue or Lightify from Osram are very popular amongst consumers.

However, it can go much further with connected rain and wind sensors, which could automatically close the blinds when a thunderstorm is approaching.

Cost Savings

As already mentioned, smart home technology can help you to save you real money. Heating control devices will reduce your monthly heating bills. Those are often linked with door and window sensors which automatically close once heating is turned on.

But there are even more sophisticated ways to save money, for instance with smart outlets, which measure electricity consumption and propel them to your smartphone. Like this, you are able to identify which devices use the most electricity and which ones, eventually, can be replaced with more efficient ones.

From light controls to heating and security systems, it’s important that your smart home technology is easily understandable, easy to install and ideally inter-connected.