The light spectrum is a rescue solution for the exponential growth of wireless connectivity demand. The bandwidth of light is 1000 times larger than the entire RF bandwidth.
Among light communication technologies, Optical Camera Communication (OCC) is an entirely software-based solution, which is the best compatible with existing infrastructures such as commercial cameras and lighting. Such a promising OCC technology could be the best choice for IoT, Industry 4.0 connectivity, and beyond 5G networks.
There are five strong reasons that promote OCC technologies:
1- Massive market volume and market acceptance
The uniqueness of OCC is about its hardware compatibility. No hardware modification is needed! Existing infrastructures such as conventional LED lighting and commercial cameras are all applicable to OCC.
Camera market is huge, LED lighting market is huge, too. Combining camera and lighting for communications, while catching the trend of internet-of-things, it will take a massive segment in the market.
The “look-and-link” protocol is innovative characteristic of OCC. Easy to install (for business provider) and easy to use (for end users) both are the leverage of OCC acceptance. Therefore, OCC will take a great benefit in the aspect of market acceptance.
2- International standard for OCC is available
After several years effort, the IEEE standards association has published the IEEE 802.15.7-2018 Optical Wireless Communication standard, in which OCC modes are clearly described. This recent 2018 standard is known as the first international standard for Optical Camera Communication.
3- IEEE 802.15.7-2018 modes are designed for various applications
There are three physical layer (PHY) categories for OCC within the standard:
- PHY IV: This PHY is intended for use with discrete light sources with data rates up to 22 kbps using various modulations.
- PHY V: This PHY is intended for use with diffused surface light sources with data rates up to 5.71kbps using various modulations.
- PHY VI: This PHY is intended for use with video displays with data rates in the kbps using various modulations.
PHY IV modes (mostly) are intended for outdoor/ vehicular communication with mobility support. Also it is suitable for outdoor signage and advertisement because any kind of multi-LED array can be used.
PHY V modes (mostly) are for commercial cameras (rolling shutter type) such as smartphone cameras. These modes are best suitable within indoor distance.
PHY VI modes are for screen signage services. Home TV, tablet, smartphone screens, all can be used for transmitting data because OCC itself is a software solution.
4- The development of OCC is mature
After the standardization of OCC, the mature implementations have been shown. The demonstrations do not just rely on single-carrier waveforms within the IEEE 802.15.7-2018 standard, but also develop advanced multicarrier waveforms such as rolling-OFDM and 2D-OFDM. Implementations showed their robust operation and reliable performance.
5- Open Sources are available
The availability of Open sources makes the future of OCC bright. Open sources are cleaned, well-packed, performance-tested, and documented for the researcher community. Based on open source projects, developers can contribute their novel ideas and build realistic applications.
Finally, our small team could not create the future of a technology but all of us the researchers and developers can. We trigger the ever-growing innovation, and together we build the valuable applications!