The visible light communication market is poised to explode, according to Global Market Insights. In 2014, the visible light communication (VLC) market size was valued about USD 300 million. Global Market Insights (GMI) projects that the VLC market will grow at a CAGR of over 90% over the forecast period to exceed USD 10 billion by 2023. VLC market technology uses LEDs as their source, which inherently allows high-speed flickering.
This high-speed flickering can serve a dual function of data communication and lighting simultaneously. Furthermore, GMI notes that the technology is cost-effective and extensively suitable. Unlike conventional Wireless technology, VLC does not interfere with any RF signals. VLC utilizes image sensors and optocouplers as components.
GMI contends that VLC represents a unique industry that has tremendous growth potential over the forecast period. VLC products primarily employ efficient and low-cost LEDs for rapid data transmission rates. This industry is also referred to as Light Fidelity (Li-Fi) market.
The limited accessibility to high bandwidth will contribute to the growth of visible light communication market, according to GMI. Visible light can provide a bandwidth frequency spectrum which is considerably larger than that of radio frequency bandwidth. One limitation of the VLC is that users of the lights do not want to see any of the light changes and flickering that can transmit data.
GMI notes that the increased bandwidth compared to RF can allow more than one user and therefore can accomplish higher transfer rates. As a result, GMI expects that VLC’s high bandwidth availability will be the biggest attraction of this technology over the forecast period. Another driver of the VLC market includes the increasing adoption of location-based services (LBS) and target-based advertising.
Companies are also putting more money into research and development of VLC technology, GMI points out. Benefits of VLC in the healthcare field include higher lighting efficiency, biologically safe lighting and data transmission, negligible interference. Also, VLC can go were WiFi and RF-based communication are not allowed-in parts of hospitals.
GMI says that some VLC technology can transfer data more quickly than Wi-Fi, WiMAX, and Bluetooth, which use radio waves for communication. However, the lack of standardization and the complexity of simultaneous data transmission and receipt with the same module will probably hamper the growth in VLC demand. Difficulty in upgrading existing LED lighting also challenges the industry’s growth, GMI says.
The R&D and technological breakthroughs can provide prospective opportunities in the VLC market that can open a broad range of applications. The increasing adoption of LED lighting can also help pave the way for the growth of visible light communication market, GMI says.
The industry can be segmented by end-user applications such as connected devices, retail indoor positioning, underwater communication, automobile & transport, hospitality, in-flight infotainment/communications, and light-based internet.
GMI says that in 2014, the indoor retail segment dominated the VLC industry in terms of revenue. Developed nations in North American and Europe are the primary drivers of demand in the market. North America including the U.S. accounted for 42 percent of the VLC market in 2014, and GMI expects the continent of North America to be the largest contributor to the market.
GMI points out that the VLC market is seeing increasing collaboration among major players and research institutions on research and development of VLC. Also, GMI says that the original equipment manufacturers of LED lighting within the VLC industry are focusing on mergers and acquisitions with developers. Such collaborations will help the manufacturers overcome barriers such as complexity in upgrading existing LED lighting and lack of standardization, GMI contends.