The first step in the light emitting diode (LED) revolution was to educate people on how it worked and why it was beneficial — now that the entire world is on board and now that LED has become the most preferred lighting option, what’s next?

CBMC Lighting Solutions suggests that innovative light, such as “daylights,” which recreate natural light, can boost office morale. In retail, LED lighting and “smart” mirrors (which feature LED modules) allow shoppers to adjust the lighting in the room to reflect different times of the day.

For large corporations, the trend is flowing toward “connected lighting,” which allows LED lights in one building to communicate with the lights in another. This helps property managers to remotely monitor and control spaces without having to travel.

Evolving out its research stage is the most interesting new development in LED technology: the advent of light fidelity, or Li-Fi (think of WiFi with a light-powered wireless data network, running at very high speeds). By simply using traditional LED, Li-FI can demonstrate speeds up to 224 gigabits per second.

The term entered the language in 2011, when University of Edinburgh professor Harald Hass described the technology during a TED talk. Haas had founded the company pureLiFi and leads the vanguard of the evolution.

How it works: Li-Fi is categorized as a Visible Light Communications (VLC) system. Its photo-detector receives light signals from an LED light bulb, and then converts the data to content. The data is contained within the light beam.

The only drawbacks, and they are minimal: Li-Fi cannot pass through walls, so it works best when the lighting is placed in individual rooms. This technology should become more available as industry standards are established.

Of course, business — especially those in retail — are taking a particular interest in Li-Fi technology. Li-Fi can help retailers transport data to customers’ phones quickly, securely, and even remotely.

Apple may be building its future iPhones with Li-Fi technology, and telecommunications providers like du and Zero1 have already successfully tested Li-Fi for Internet and audio/video streaming, in Dubai.

Dumalux reports on its blog that the LED lighting market (specifically generic bulbs, panels and tubes) has become oversaturated. This was bound to happen, as consumers begin to understand and accept LED lighting as a new and necessary way of life. As well, lighting companies hopped on board enthusiastically once they learned that this is a technology that customers want. As a result, LED manufacturers are looking to create more customized products specifically for niche industries — hotels, bars, parking lots, retail, outdoors — in order to differentiate themselves.

In traditional LED lighting systems, external circuit board drivers are required, which convert electricity and flow it into the LED system. This produces visible, stable light. Now, new products are being created that don’t need external circuit board drivers; in their place are DC LED chips that contain all the power needed.

This continues the amazing evolution of LED lighting, as well as one more contribution to bringing down energy costs.

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