With an estimated population of over 1 billion people, Africa is the second most populous continent in the world. And if we believe the number of Internet users – which is in the millions in some countries like Niger, Kenya or South Africa – Africa is one of the most connected continents. This is despite the lack of infrastructure. But things could change. Indeed, the Ivorian company LIFI-LED intends to connect all Africans, even in rural areas, only thanks to the light…
In Africa, only 30% of the population has access to electricity, and the 167 million Internet users who surf the Internet do not have access to high-speed Internet. Created by Ange Frederick Balma, a computer and network engineer, LIFI-LED Côte d’Ivoire has developed an innovative wireless communication technology, based on the use of visible light: LIFI for Light Fidelity.
This revolutionary technology allows light to diffuse digital information by becoming a new communication medium with applications ranging from simple data transmission on a peripheral to the implementation of a smart city. The light then makes it possible to geo-locate, guide, inform, train, educate, raise awareness, monitor, alert… This visible light, between the blue color and the red color, is generated by LEDs (light emitting diodes). LIFI technology uses the optical spectrum, unlike Wifi, which uses the radio part of the electromagnetic spectrum.
Composed of a permanent team of five, LIFI-LED wants – thanks to LIFI technology – to address two important issues of the continent: lighting and very high speed Internet connection. Making the African continent smart and connected through the combination of solar energy and innovative communication technology.
The goal of the start-up is clear: to democratize the Internet and make it accessible to all populations, whether they are disadvantaged or living in localities without access to electricity. Many operators or large companies do not intervene in these areas not connected to the electricity network. And for good reason, these rural areas are too remote and the costs of deploying equipment there are considered too expensive and unprofitable. A loss of income compared to a rural Ivorian population of more than 42%! In this context, facilitating access to high-quality digital information and reducing electricity consumption costs is a challenge! The rural population is estimated at around 12 million inhabitants, including 5 million young people.
The solution of Lifi-led Côte d’Ivoire: a LIFI internet terminal. It allows connectivity for smartphones, tablets or laptops over a range of 100 meters in pure LIFI and 6 kilometers in complementarity with other wireless technologies. One of the main advantages of LIFI is that it does not emit electromagnetic waves and therefore does not pose a health risk; it is economical because it uses the LED lighting network as a channel, which is more energy efficient; its transmission speed is 30 times that of WIFI. In addition, in rural areas without access to the electricity grid, the terminal is powered by solar panels.
In addition to providing access to the internet, the terminal developed by the Ivorian youth is also a digital communication medium. It is equipped with a screen to dynamically display multimedia content. Advertising, television channels and shoutcast radios are just some of the applications for this already revolutionary station.
In short, the company LIFI-LED Côte d’Ivoire has made the bet to design an innovative technology promoting sustainable development as well as digital and social inclusion. Beautiful prospects for the Ivorian start-up both on its territory and on the rest of the continent!