The global Visible Light Communication (VLC)/Light Fidelity/(Li-Fi) market was valued at USD 454.8 million in 2015, according to Grand View Research Inc. The company forecasts that rising adoption of communication technology and exponential increase in the number of internet users will drive the VLC market between 2015 and 2024. Grand View Research says that as data traffic increases in developed countries, LiFi technology will be adopted at a higher rate during the forecast period.
The company cites the growing demand for a secure, fast and reliable network as a driver of growth for the VLC industry. Also, increased data usage combined with spectrum scarcity has led some industry providers to switch towards high efficiency and robust internet services. Notably, Visible Light Communication (VLC) is free of charge, unlicensed, and secure. Thus, it can help address RF spectrum crunch.
The company expects that awareness of one potential application in the retail sector, indoor positioning and monitoring, will help fuel demand for LiFi technology over next eight years. Integral in the expansion of VLC over the period is the increasing adoption of an LED-based lighting system in various applications such as automotive and transport, in-flight communication, and smartphones.
Grand View Research anticipates that high demand for indoor mapping portals combined with the increasing penetration of smartphones will stimulate the photodetector component demand in communication systems. Rising demand for real-time traffic updates is expected to accelerate the demand for VLC over the forecast period. Lighting systems including general use LED lighting systems have to be upgraded to provide VLC. The company sees the requirement of upgrading lighting as a constraint to the wide adoption of VLC. Moreover, the firm expects that the lack of infrastructure for wireless technology in emerging countries will hamper VLC industry growth.
VLC Market Categorized by Component
Grand View Research categorized the VLC market by components including LED, photodetector, and microcontrollers. The firm found that LED-based VLC devices accounted for over 40% of the revenue share in 2015. These can be switched on or off to generate a digital string of binary numbers. The data can be encoded in the light using the mixtures of red, green and blue LED by varying flickering rate to alter the light frequency. Also slight variations in light intensity can also encode data.
LEDs allow for higher speed variations in light intensity and color mixing that can translate to high-speed wireless communication using light.
The company found that photodetectors accounted for over 30% of the revenue share of the VLC market in 2015. Commonly used photodetectors such as a photodiode are utilized for sensing and detecting images in the transmitted signal. Microcontrollers help to modulate the data using various modulation techniques such as pulse width modulation (PWM). Grand View Research found that the microcontroller component segment of the VLC market was valued at over USD 95 million in 2015.
Application sectors analyzed in the study include retail, automotive & transport, consumer electronics, healthcare, defense & security and aviation.
Retail applications accounted for over 30% of the overall revenue share in 2015. VLC can be used as a positioning component in indoor areas of retail stores to help improve a customer’s shopping experience. LED and fluorescent lamps can send out the flickering light that can be detected by a smartphone camera with a special app which enables indoor navigation. Grand View Research points out that the implementation of VLC for retail can enhance customer loyalty and services towards retailer.
The company expects that the automotive & transport application segment will see the fastest growth among other applications, expanding at a CAGR of over 80% from 2016 to 2024.
Grand View Research predicts technological advancements in LED and communication components of cars will drive the adoption in traffic and car lights. The firm forecasts that the use of VLC in traffic management and road safety featuring instantaneous tracking via applications will play a significant role in increasing market penetration.
The companies dominating VLC market share include firms focused on VLC such as PureLifi Ltd., ByteLight, Inc., Velmenni, Visilink, Lightbee Corp., Oledcomm, and Ibsentelecom Ltd.
Grand View Research says that the increasing development and competition among players in indoor positioning based services are leading wireless internet service providers to focus on enhancing their structures and mobile applications.