Inventor Harald Haas is revolutionising mobile wireless communication with Li-Fi smart technology that maximises the potential of the humble lightbulb. With the emerging Li-Fi industry predicted to skyrocket over the next few years, he tells us why Scotland has provided the perfect base for his spin-out company and why now is such an exciting time to join this world-leading team.
About the Li-Fi Centre
What we’re doing is pioneering the use of LED lights for data communication. We want to develop an infrastructure and technology through which lighting in the home can form the basis of an interconnected Li-Fi system, rather than using individual WiFi access points. This would change our everyday lives in many ways.
At the Li-Fi Research and Development Centre at the University of Edinburgh, we’re working with a number of industries to determine the connectivity problems in those sectors and then developing reference designs and prototypes to solve those problems. The technology can then be licenced by our customers to give them a competitive advantage.
This is pioneering and unique in the UK and we now have followers all over the world. The Li-Fi industry is predicted to become a $9 billion global market by 2018, so it’s a huge industry that’s being centred in Scotland. We want to develop and catalyse this emerging industry and take it into new sectors.
Working at the Li-Fi Centre
What we need now is expertise. We need highly-skilled engineers in the areas of wireless communications, product development, signal processing software, hardware – a whole range of well-trained people to help develop this ecosystem of small companies around Li-Fi.
We also want to expand into new industries including defence and security, healthcare, transport, oil and gas, so we're looking for business development managers, project managers and people who are experienced in market development.
One of the big attractions we have is that our people can be among the first to develop this Li-Fi technology and shape a whole new Li-Fi industry. It’s a very open-minded group of people and we encourage our staff to bring their own ideas forward.
In terms of career development, it’s up to our staff as to how they want to progress. People can develop within the Li-Fi Centre and our spin-out company, pureLi-Fi Limited, to shape their career and begin their journey to where they want to be.
Working in Scotland
Scotland is a beautiful country with rich nature. You can be working in a high-tech lab on Friday and then on Saturday you can be up in the Highlands where it’s calm and peaceful, and feel completely remote. I enjoy being out in the countryside with my family so that’s important to me.
My family and I took an opportunity to settle in Scotland, moving from Germany several years ago, following an earlier - and very successful - period here as a research student. At that time I’d developed the idea of light communication already and I always wanted to spin out a company. People here have really bought into the ideas that I’ve put forward, and the openness and support has been phenomenal.
The other thing I find appealing here is the way that people embrace creativity and are open to new developments. I think Scotland’s whole history and the number of Scottish inventors is testament to this. In some cultures people see the glass as half empty, whereas in Scotland people see it as half full.
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