Catania is the first hub with a Li-Fi system, thanks to startup To Be

Published on Thursday, 9 August 2018

“You don’t talk about innovation, you do it!”

– Francesco Paolo Russo, Founder & CEO To Be Srl

But imagine if we could use the lights from seats in aircraft cabins to access the internet with our smartphones. This can be made possible thanks to Li-Fi. Its technology provides wireless communication between devices using light to transmit data and position. So what is the difference between Li-Fi and Wi-Fi? Both are similar in terms of use, but Wi-Fi uses radio frequency instead of light.

Li-Fi technology is an exciting new prospect and is actively being developed by companies around the world. The Italian startup To Be is one of them. “We are working on Li-Fi protocol, developing new products and solutions that use light to communicate. Today, we are pioneers in the world of light transmission technology,” explains To Be’s founder and CEO, Francesco Paolo Russo.

Better connectivity for a better world

Russo founded To Be Srl almost two years ago with partners Raniero Pani and Paolo Ignazio Marongiu. For them, “Innovation means finding the best, most technologically advanced and functional solution to a problem.” To address the issue of connectivity, their solution is Li-Fi. “We know that this technology has many advantages in several different fields of application, as demonstrated by what we are currently doing in the retail world, cultural heritage, cybersecurity, as well as the health and energy industries, obviously,” he adds.

The CEO explains that he grew up with the dream of leaving this world “better than he found it.”  In the pursuit of achieving this goal, he realises that To Be’s Li-Fi solutions have many advantages when it comes to sustainability and accessibility. “By using light as a transmission medium, in addition to having the best performance in terms of speed, for example, we do not have problems of interference in environments such as hospitals,” Russo explains. Li-Fi technology also promises to improve the user experience and access to the internet.

With Global Market Insight data in mind, Russo predicts that “the impact of Li-Fi technology is expected to grow at an annual rate of 55.4% between 2018 and 2023.” To stay ahead of this projected evolution, To Be aims to make its solution available in foreign markets. At Enel, our vast network of global operations offers a great opportunity to make this happen.

A Li-Fi Hub & Lab

The association of light and energy presents different sinergies relevant to the Enel Group’s core activities. Russo notes: “Enel fully understands the potential of our solutions and, in a short time, we’ve worked together on various fronts.” One of our collaborations was at the Catania Innovation Hub&Lab: “This is the first hub in the world equipped with a Li-Fi system: we have implemented 20 light points capable of transmitting proximity information to people, who are able to interact with the light through an app,” explains the CEO.

This partnership has created new opportunities for To Be. “At the Enel Innovation Hub in Catania, I was able to project my vision and energy towards a more sustainable future from the very beginning,” says Russo. He points out that working at our Catania Hub&Lab gave his company additional value as it had access to the best technology and innovation from all over the world in a single space. He also benefited from Enel’s eagerness to establish partnerships and give  support.

Li-Fi technology has the potential to revolutionise the way we connect to the grid in the near future, and to create synergies that impact the energy sector. Russo concludes: “With these new technologies, Enel is going to completely change the approach to the end user with renewables, which are no longer the future, but the present.”

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