Sunshine Coast sheds new light on LiFi technology
  • Tuesday 10 July 2018

The Sunshine Coast has become the first Asia-Pacific region to put the next phase of wireless internet technology on public display.

Schell LiFi, which uses light to transmit data at higher speeds than WiFi, was officially road-tested at council’s Smart Centre in Bulcock St, Caloundra.

Mayor Mark Jamieson said the opportunity to showcase LiFi technology, which was developed by German-based AIPC Group and the Fraunhofer research institute, once again highlighted the Sunshine Coast as a leading region in the use of smart city technology.

“This is a very exciting opportunity for the Sunshine Coast to showcase and demonstrate what we believe is the next wave of wireless technology to the rest of Australia and the Asia-Pacific region as whole,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“The demonstration at council’s Smart Centre has given us a closer look at how LiFi compares with WiFi and its potential advantages for homes, businesses, public transport, traffic infrastructure and parking solutions.”

AIPC Group Director-Asia Pacific Sudhir Shreedharan said the Sunshine Coast Smart Centre offered a unique advantage to present the LiFi technology nationally and internationally.

“We have witnessed a strong growth in the infrastructure sector in Queensland, and the Sunshine Coast in particular, which is now a hot bed for Australian start-ups and investors, making the region an attractive destination for a technology infrastructure company like ourselves to present our products and solutions,” he said.

“The Sunshine Coast Council is bold, innovative and passionate about deploying technology solutions for the betterment of its ratepayers.

“Because LiFi uses light, it has a larger bandwidth and hence is faster than WiFi. It is more secure as well. It can also supplement existing WiFi infrastructure without needing additional cables in public or private areas.

“A hypothetical example of how LiFi could be used on the Sunshine Coast would be connecting the ‘Smart Poles’ which are installed in Bulcock Street and the new Maroochydore City Centre, to relay information about traffic accidents and other important information lightning fast.”

Council developed the Smart City Framework in 2015, which, combined with the Smart City Implementation Program, is embedded in council’s Corporate Plan to help drive the new economy and attract new capital investment to the Sunshine Coast.

Council’s Smart Centre was opened in May 2016 as an interactive and knowledge-sharing space where visitors and the community can engage with the Smart City Program, and provide feedback on technology trials and initiatives.

Background information:

LiFi technology fast facts:
• Li-Fi is expected to be 10 times cheaper than WiFi.
• LiFi (light fidelity) provides wireless communication between devices using light to transmit data (unlike WiFi which uses radio waves) and provides access to 100 percent of the available bandwidth, as well as real-time and higher net data rates.
• As WiFi was originally developed for computer communication, it provides packet-based, asynchronous data transmission; however, LiFi sends data continuously, similar to streaming.
• LiFi technology uses light from LEDs (light-emitting diodes) to deliver networked, mobile, high-speed communication, similar to WiFi.
• LiFi provides greater security against hacking as the light waves cannot penetrate walls, making it easier to control who connects to a network.
• Li-Fi can be used in sensitive areas such as in aircraft cabins, hospitals and nuclear power plants without causing electromagnetic interference.
• The light spectrum is 10,000 times larger than the entire radio frequency spectrum used by WiFi.

Examples of LiFi uses:
• LiFi provides alternative or complementary communication technology to WiFi for internet browsing and data streaming in the home or office, without the need for additional cables.
• LiFi smart stations inside shopping centres to display information, products or sales.
• Buses and trains can be fitted with LiFi to provide real-time transport information to the public.
• LiFi can function parallel to WiFi networks during disaster management.

About AIPC Global UG, Germany:
The AIPC Group comprises of independent companies who provide technology services and products. Headquartered in Hamburg, AIPC has successfully managed large technology projects for Airbus, Zurich, P3 Group, Generali, Astra Zeneca, GaB, and Kuehne+Nagel.

In early 2017, AIPC Global UG signed an agreement with Fraunchofer to provide LiFi technology products and solutions to governments, corporate organisations, original equipment manufacturers, smart cities and industrial SMEs in the Asia Pacific region, which led to the birth of the Schnell LiFi range of products.
Fraunhofer, Germany

Fraunhofer is Europe’s largest application-oriented research organisation. Fields of research include: Health and environment, security and protection, mobility and transport, production and supply of Services, communication and knowledge, energy and resources. Its research activities are conducted by 72 institutes and research units at locations throughout Germany.