VLC uses light emitting diodes (LED), operating in the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum, as optical sources for wireless communication. The technology involves switching LEDs ON and OFF within nanoseconds at a very high frequency to relay information to a smart device via the camera.
A light pattern from the LED luminaires works in a dense network providing illumination, while also functioning as a positioning grid.
VLC technology utilizes light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to transmit data and determine the position of a device in indoor environments. It relies on the principles of optical communication and the unique characteristics of visible light.
Since the visible light spectrum is 10,000 times larger than the radio frequency (RF) spectrum, VLC is regarded as a solution to RF bandwidth limitations. A wireless local area network (WLAN) or mobile connection is not required, however, there must be a constant “line of sight” between the mobile phone camera and the light source.
This causes limitations if users are walking and put their phones in their pockets, bags etc, or if the camera is temporarily tilted or blocked. This technology is often coupled with BLE beacons providing a buffer if the smart device goes “out of sight” of the LED.
Using a VLC indoor positioning system allows retailers to save on energy costs for switching to LED, yet due to the line of sight issue, a vast amount of lighting must be installed throughout the facility.
The data stream is also a one-way street for VLC. Using only light communication means that no data and/or analytics can be obtained from customer movement.
Challenges with the technology include:
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Visible Light Communication (VLC), is a wireless communication technology utilizing visible light for data transmission. It uses light-emitting diodes (LEDs), typically found in lighting fixtures, to transmit data by modulating the intensity of light at a very high speed, often imperceptible to the human eye. This technology enables communication between devices by using light as a medium.
An indoor positioning system using visible light combines the benefits of illumination and data communication enabling accurate localization within indoor environments. It leverages the existing LED lighting infrastructure to provide reliable and high-precision positioning capabilities for various applications.
VLC technology offers several advantages making it a compelling choice for various applications. Some of those include high data transmission rates, availability of infrastructure, energy efficiency, enhanced security, immunity to RF interference, indoor localization, license-free spectrum and multi-purpose functionality.
VLC can achieve higher data transmission rates compared to Bluetooth technology. It can support data rates ranging from a few kilobits per second (Kbps) to several gigabits per second (Gbps), depending on factors such as the modulation scheme, LED technologyand environmental conditions.On the other hand, Bluetooth technology, specifically Bluetooth 5, supports data rates of up to 2 Mbps (megabits per second). Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) variants offer lower data rates to optimize power consumption.So, in terms of raw data transmission rates, VLC has the potential to provide faster communication compared to Bluetooth.
VLC indoor localization is the use of VLC technology to determine the position or location of a device or individual within an indoor environment. It utilizes visible light signals emitted by LED light fixtures to enable accurate and reliable localization.
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