Red Rose

Rosebuds Blog

Better security for travelers comes in a flash of light

October 07, 2016
Travel technology and data security

As we have learned in recent years, one of the most insidious forms of criminal activity is data theft. Even the Democratic and Republican parties have recently been victimized by foreign hackers trying to mettle in this year’s U.S. presidential election.

Public networks, such as the kind travelers often use, can leave us especially vulnerable. That is why the complementary wi-fi service we provide to guests at The Rose Hotel was strengthened a couple of years ago with a stronger encryption to protect their personal information and business data.

The good news is that a far better and more secure technology is on the horizon and we are keeping a close eye on its progress. The technology we are referring to employs the use of LED light pulses to transmit data and better protect the contents of those transmissions.

The technology is called li-fi and it uses light-emitting diodes (LEDs), a type of lighting that is sweeping its way into homes and offices. Think of how naval signal lamps work to communicate information with flashing light. Similarly, li-fi encodes messages in flashes of light and it can be used to create a local-area network, or LAN, in the same way wi-fi does.

But li-fi has distinct advantages over wi-fi. For one thing, because light does not penetrate walls, li-fi cannot be accessed by those outside the room. Compare that to wi-fi, whose microwave signals pass easily through most building materials. What’s more, light does not interfere with radio or radar signals like microwaves can sometimes do and can create dangerous interference on airliners and in hospitals, nuclear plants and other sensitive environments.

Indeed, commercial aviation of one of the businesses that is about to benefit from li-fi. The use of li-fi would ensure that passengers can use li-fi equipped phones and computing devices to a communicate globally without interfering with the jet’s navigation and communication systems.

And, of course, confined spaces such as hotels and guest rooms could allow for internet and phone communication while blocking criminals seeking to tap into the network and hijack the personal and business information of unsuspecting users.

Finally, installing a li-fi local area network should not be a difficult or expensive proposition, though it is dependent upon computer and phone manufacturers bringing li-fi equipped devices to market. That effort is already underway. A company named PureLiFi is miniaturizing components that could be embedded in computing and communication devices. Also, The Economist magazine reported recently that Apple has the term LiFiCapability included in the code of the iOS 9.1 operating system used by the iPhone.

We believe this new technology could light the way to a more secure future, and we hope to be one of the first hotels to make the technology available to our guests to ensure their privacy.