Wireless communications company PureLifi has raised $18 million (£14m) to support a mass roll-out of its technology to the consumer market.
The Edinburgh tech business described the fundraise as a “watershed moment” for LiFi technology, which uses LEDs (light-emitting diodes) to deliver high-speed wireless connectivity instead of radio waves like WiFi.
On the back of the funding deal, PureLifi will aim to develop further LiFi components which will allow the technology to be easily integrated into mobile devices, such as phones, laptops and tablets, and provide these to manufacturers operating on a mass scale.
The funding round includes Temasek, an investment company headquartered in Singapore, and the Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise.
This is part of PureLiFi’s strategic move from LiFi systems to consumer components, which the company announced this year at global industry conference Mobile World Congress, where it debuted the first laptop powered by Gigabit LiFi.
It has since been working with device manufacturers to have LiFi designed into commercial laptops, tablets and mobile devices, and recently announced a collaboration with Getac, a manufacturer of tablets and personal computers.
'Faster and more secure'
PureLifi has previously conducted 5G trials with telecommunications giant O2 Telefonica, as well as forming a partnership with aerospace and defence group Astronics Corporation to test the use of LiFi on aircraft and collaborating with lighting companies Zumtobel and Wipro.
It claims that LiFi technology can provide “faster, more reliable and more secure” wireless communication data than current alternatives.
Chief executive Alistair Banham said: “LiFi is the natural next step in the evolution of global wireless communications and PureLiFi is leading the way to provide this technology to the market.
“Our investors believe in our team and our strategy to provide LiFi for every light and every device, and we have the products to support mobile device integration of LiFi.”
Harald Haas, co-founder and chief scientific officer, added: “After more than a decade of persistent and systematic development of key technologies for wireless communications using light and the demonstration of the almost unlimited capabilities of LiFi for secure gigabit wireless connectivity for many use cases such as machine-to-machine communication, we are now at the precipice of a watershed moment for LiFi.”
Market research group Global Market Insights projects that the global market for LiFi technology will reach $75 billion by 2023, with growth driven by its large bandwidth offering and “a high degree of security, availability and energy efficiency”.
PureLiFi was formed in 2012 as a spin-out from the University of Edinburgh.