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Boris Johnson sheds light on Li-fi thanks to Maxim

October, 2013

Promoting a UK technological first, showcasing sustainable school buildings and securing the support of Mayor of London Boris Johnson was the job of Maxim’s Andy Rayfield recently.

At the heart of the project was spreading the news about ground-breaking Li-Fi technology, which is currently being trialled by Maxim’s client 8point3 LED, in partnership with PureVLC, at the Business Academy Bexley.

The first public demonstration of the technology was given at The Sustainable Buildings, Sustainable Schools event at the Business Academy, which was attended by representatives of schools and academies from across London.

Andy was tasked with coordinating the media on behalf of the partners.

And who better to unveil the technology than Boris Johnson? But with a back-to-back packed diary, getting the effusive Mayor of London to attend was impossible.

Step forward Andy to suggest: “Why don't we ask him to do a video welcoming the conference, encouraging schools to be inspired to invest in renewable technology and explaining what it could mean for how thousands of children are taught across London everyday? We could demonstrate Li-Fi by transmitting the video via it.”

The words had hardly left his mouth before the project’s partners were tasking him with making it happen.

Andy Rayfield said: “A call to the Mayor's diary secretary explaining the idea and the principle of the event soon set the wheels in motion.

“Once we had satisfied the Mayor's office that nobody was seeking to make a profit out of the event and that its intentions were to educate the educators on how they could adopt and finance 'green' technologies, we were invited to supply a script.

“The video was shot by the Mayor's press team at City Hall two days before the conference and it's fair to say that Boris didn't stick entirely to the words provided, but I don't think anyone expected anything else," continued Andy. "However, in his own inimitable style he certainly inspired those present and the message was well received.”

What is Li-fi?

So here’s the science bit for all you techies. Li-Fi, developed by Edinburgh-based PureVLC, uses LED light fittings, produced by Kent-based 8point3 LED, to broadcast high-speed data signals. This enables internet access via light, which provides faster download speeds and improved connectivity for students.

The aim was to show attendees how they could adopt sustainable technologies such as LED lighting, Solar PV and biomass and thus reduce energy consumption and bills, and that finance models are available that negate the need for substantial upfront capital investment.

Maxim worked closely with the Business Academy Bexley when it installed the UK’s largest PV solar farm at a UK educational establishment, capable of producing 600Kw of electricity. The Academy has subsequently gone on to install a 600Kw biomass boiler, and having recently invested in a voltage management technology, is saving more than £162,000 and over 764kg of CO2 emissions a year.

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The film that was produced as a result of Maxim

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