Edinburgh-based tech company pureLiFi will supply the US Army with its optical wireless communication system, Kitefin, under a $4.2 million deal.
The deal with the United States Army Europe and Africa is the world’s first large scale deployment of LiFi. The deployment consists of thousands of certified office and field-deployable LiFi units in real tactical and strategic environments.
Unlike traditional Wi-Fi, which transmits data over radio frequencies, LiFi uses the light spectrum. This allows it to send information securely and in environments where electromagnetic interference makes Wi-Fi unviable.
Kitefin is a newly developed system with unique features for defence use cases.
The use of radio frequencies in secure and defence environments causes many challenges as radio frequencies can be detected and targeted. Kitefin eliminates this risk as it cannot be detected outside of its defined cone of coverage.
The Kitefin system also allows for rapid setup and positive logistical impact saving time, money, and lives on each deployment.
US Army Europe and Africa Chief Technology Officer Andrew Foreman said: “Including optical wireless in the commander’s toolbox is imperative to the survival of communications, command and control systems and, more importantly, soldiers.
“Leadership within the Department of Defense are at a major transitional crossroads for communications and mission command systems and must make a critical decision.”
An initial pilot of pureLiFi’s technology with the US Army Europe and Africa took place in 2019, convincing key army stakeholders that LiFi would play a key role in the future of defence communications which resulted in the largest-ever purchase of LiFi.
The deal comes on the back of pureLiFi’s recent £18 million series B investment to take LiFi mainstream. In 2019, pureLiFi launched gigabit components designed for integration into mobile phones and consumer electronics.
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CEO of pureLiFi Alistair Banham said: “This largest real-world deployment of LiFi with the US Army Europe and Africa is a testament to the benefits that LiFi can offer and the technology’s usability.
“If one of the most significant and advanced defence organisations in the world can rely on LiFi for the most critical of communications, LiFi can offer unprecedented benefits to the consumer. LiFi, like so many technologies before it, is on a classic journey of adoption in Defense to wide-spread acceptance in the consumer market and eventually LiFi in everyone’s home
“Since offering our gigabit components to the market, we have developed some very innovative proof of concept integrations with some of the world’s largest consumer electronic and mobile phone brands. We are closer than ever to seeing consumers having LiFi in their homes and their pockets.”
The first units of Kitefin will be shipped in spring 2021.