Dr. Mohsen Kavehrad
President of Center for Research in Knowledge Communication (CRKC)
Abstract: The IoT (Internet-of-Things) is a modern-day buzzword with lofty expectations to have a profound impact on society. However, what is it, how will we use it and what will that impact be? Is it exciting or will it be frightening? Will it be helpful? Who will be the winners and who will be the losers? These are important questions, especially when you consider that IoT may have as great an impact on society as computers and the Internet have had. Maybe even more. In the Internet of Things, connectivity to people and things comes from Earth-bound wired and wireless networks. However, fewer technologists know about the evolving Internet-of-Space (IoS), where connectivity comes from space-based satellites and—in the near future—lower altitude airborne platforms based on drones and even balloons.
Furthermore, demands by the communications industry for greater and greater bandwidth push the capability of conventional wireless technology. Optical systems and networks offer a far greater bandwidth. This means new devices and systems have to be developed. Semiconductor Light Emitting Diode (LED) is considered the future primary lighting source for buildings, automobiles and aircrafts. LED provides higher energy efficiency compared to incandescent and fluorescent light sources and it is already playing a major role in the global reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, because of the significant energy savings. Lasers are also under investigation for similar applications. These core devices have the potential to revolutionize how we use light, including not only for illumination, but as well; for communications, sensing, navigation, positioning, surveillance, and imaging.
Visible light communication (VLC) technology is one of the advanced optical wireless communication technologies. Indoor networking and location-based services are the only applications that are quite penetrated in the market . Products for other applications are expected to hit the market soon. Prototypes for underwater communication are available at present. Japan sampled the intelligent traffic management systems with VLC technology and expected to bring it in the mainstream. VLC can be implemented as a complement to the existing wireless networking technologies like Wi-Fi and 5G etc. VLC is expected to penetrate in the future applications like Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications, smart cities, wireless sensor networks, ubiquitous computing etc. in the next five years. In 2010, VLC systems were able to achieve data rates of 500 Mbps for a short range of 5 meter. With the ongoing R&D, some research institutes were able to achieve transmission rates of ~ 1 Gbps for longer-range communications. Research centers and companies are looking forward to achieve Gigabit network with VLC technology. See Figure-1 below.
This paper introduces a novel idea called; “Internet-of-Light”. It can address the needs of both IoT and IoS. It is very secure at physical layer and can be applied to many real and necessary service areas; e.g., manufacturing, transportation, health, communications, sensing and navigation, to name a few, that are all essential technologies for our nation. The most compelling story of how
Internet-of-Light will transform our world is the one still being written: the future of lighting, communications, sensing and the birth of a new enterprise lighting network.
Keywords: IR, FSO, VLC, Smart Homes, Positioning by Light and Smart Cities, IoT, IoS.
 M. Kavehrad, S. I. M. Chowdhury and Z. Zhou, “Short Range Optical Wireless: Theory and Applications,” John Wiley & Sons Inc., December 2015
Biography: Dr. Mohsen Kavehrad is the President of Center for Research in Knowledge Communication (CRKC) and retired W. L. Weiss Chair Professor of Electrical Engineering, Pennsylvania State University. He received his Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from Polytechnic Institute of New York University (formerly; Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute) in 1977. Between 1978 and 1981, he worked for Fairchild Industries (Space Communications Division) and GTE (Satellite Corp. and Labs.). He then joined Bell Laboratories where he worked on communications and networking research problems. After the breakup of the Bell System, he joined the Department of Electrical Engineering at University of Ottawa, as a Full Professor in March 1989. He was also the Director of Photonic Networks and Systems Thrust and a project leader in the Telecommunications Research Institute of Ontario (TRIO) and the Director of Ottawa-Carleton Communications Center for Research (OCCCR). He was an academic visitor (senior technical consultant) at NTT Laboratories, Japan, in summer 1991. He spent a six months sabbatical term as an academic visitor (senior technical consultant) at NORTEL, Ottawa, in 1996. In January 1997, he joined the Department of Electrical Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University as the W. L. Weiss (AMERITECH) Endowed Chair Professor of Electrical Engineering. In August 1997 he was appointed as the founding Director of Center for Information and Communications Technology Research (CICTR). During 1997-1998 he was also the CTO and a Vice President at Tele-Beam Inc., State College, PA. He spent a six months sabbatical term as an academic visitor (senior technical consultant) at AT&T Shannon Research Labs., Florham Park, New Jersey, in 2004. He has also served as a consultant to a score of major corporations and government agencies.
Dr. Kavehrad’s research contributions have been in the fields of: Satellite communications, Fixed radio communications, Portable and Mobile radio communications, Atmospheric Laser communications, Fiber optic communications and fiber optic networks. His current research interests are in the areas of technologies, systems, and network architectures that enable the vision of the information age; e.g.,Broadband Wireline/Wireless Communications Networked Systems and Optical Communications Networked Systems. Since the start of his academic career, these research topics and others have led to significant graduate research. He was elected a Fellow of the IEEE in January 1992 for his contributions to Digital Wireless Communications and Optical Fiber Systems and Networks. He received 3 Exceptional Technical Contributions awards while working at Bell Laboratories for his works on Wireless Communications Systems, the 1990 TRIO Feedback award for his patent on a “Passive Optical Interconnect” and the 2001 IEEE VTS Neal Shepherd best propagation paper award and 3 IEEE Lasers and Electro-Optics Society best paper awards and a Canada NSERC PhD-thesis gold medal award, jointly with his former graduate students for their works on wireless and optical systems. He received the 2009 DesignCon Paper Award in the High-Speed and RF Design Category. He also received the Paper of the Year Award from ETRI Journal in December of 2009. In January 2012, he became Director of an NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Center called; “Center on Optical Wireless Applications”.
He has lectured worldwide as an IEEE Distinguished Lecturer, and as plenary and keynote speaker at leading conferences. His works have been published in over 350 refereed journal and conference papers, several books and book chapters, and he holds several key issued patents in these areas.
Dr. Kavehrad’s professional activities include being on the Advisory Committee of the Department of Electrical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in MASS (1998-2003), serving as a reviewer and panelist for the National Science Foundation, has chaired review panels for NSERC-Canada and served as a reviewer for multiple technical journals and conferences. He is a former Technical Editor for the IEEETransactions on Communications, IEEE Communications Magazine and the IEEE Magazine of Light-wave Telecommunications Systems. Presently, he is on the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Wireless Information Networks. He served as the General Chair of leading IEEE conferences and workshops. He has chaired, organized and been on the advisory committee for several international conferences and workshops.
Dr. Kavehrad has been quoted in such internationally circulated publications and media as the New York Times, Electronics Times, IEEE Communications Society Industry News Cache, Science Daily Magazine, Wireless News Factor, Photonics Spectra, TRN News, Laser Focus, Cabling Journal, Scientific American Journal, MIT Technology Review, EE TIMES in UK and the BBC in London.