Scottish school trials li-fi internet

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A secondary school in Scotland is piloting li-fi internet within classrooms, becoming the first school in the world to test the technology. 

Optical communications company PureLiFi has deployed its LiFi solutions – which use light to establish wireless internet connections – at Kyle Academy secondary school in Ayr, Scotland.

The project is being conducted in conjunction with The University of Edinburgh and is being overseen by Scottish Futures Trust, which supports the Scottish Government’s Digital Strategy. The Scottish Government also supported the pilot with a £16,000 grant through its Digital Schools initiative for equipment and installation. 

The installation of pureLiFi’s LiFi-XC system, comprises of eight LiFi-enabled LED light bulbs in the ceiling and students have been given access to LiFi-XC Stations that plug into their laptops enabling high-speed connectivity through the lights.

LiFi technology, which was born out of Professor Haas’ 16 years of research in light communication, and productised and further developed by pureLiFi, is a high-speed, bidirectional, secure and fully networked wireless communication that uses light, rather than radio waves used in Wi-Fi, to transmit data. By using light waves, LiFi offers unprecedented bandwidth, which significantly enhances the connectivity of the classroom to enhance the learning environment by facilitating high-bandwidth learning materials such as videos and e-books.

With the increasing number of internet-connected devices in classrooms, installing LiFi alongside Wi-Fi provides additional bandwidth to reduce network congestion – enabling students to stream educational videos and download resources with seamless connectivity. Wireless connectivity is also in growing demand as schools seek to cater for more students by maximising the use of space with flexible work areas through the use of mobile devices, such as laptops, rather than a room of wired-internet PCs.

Paul Wheelhouse MSP Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands yesterday visited the students taking part in the LiFi trial to find out about their experiences with this new technology. Mr Wheelhouse said:

'We are pleased to support a Scottish-born company whose complementary, emerging technology has the potential to transform delivery of wireless broadband communications. The pilot trial in Kyle Academy represents a potentially very valuable contribution to our knowledge and understanding of evolving 5G technologies.'

South Ayrshire Council’s portfolio holder for lifelong learning, councillor William Grant, said: 'It’s been really exciting for Kyle Academy to be part of this pilot project to enhance wireless technology and feedback from young people, who have definitely seen an improvement in connectivity, has been positive. It’s easy to see the potential the technology has, and the difference it could make in the future – not just in schools, but in business and in society – and I look forward to seeing how it moves forward.'

Professor Harald Haas, of University of Edinburgh and Co-founder of pureLiFi, commented: 'LiFi was born in Scotland at a TED Global talk that I presented in 2011. Seven years later, I am absolutely thrilled to see true LiFi deployed for the first time in a school in Scotland. Connectivity has become a basic need to enable prosperity. This world’s first pilot not only offers secure connectivity in a School, but hopefully inspires the next generation to join us in innovating for humanity and prosperity.'

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