WiFi Via the Flip of a Switch? Yes!

TREND WHISPERER  – a blog by Sherri Scheck-Merrill

I am excited to share BREAKING NEWS via a “live” TREND ALERT from product development duties in China! The Media Rooms at the China Fairs, (Hong Kong and Guangzhou),  are buzzing with insight about the “latest and greatest” product innovations which eventually will find their way to a store near you!

As a previous Trend Analysis Guest Ambassador for the U.S. market, Global Sourcing, (a highly regarded entity for sourcing and manufacturing globally), an invite arrived to attend a Media Luncheon where Buyers, Designers and Developers from the likes of Target, Wal-Mart, Container Store, QVC and Pottery Barn to name a few, are briefed on potential game changers for retail.

While enjoying the fascinating company of these incredibly forward thinking individuals, (most are already working on 2015-16 projects), one particular announcement generated such a level of “I want it now” enthusiasm, if it was remotely House_LightbulbWithTablet2-250x209possible,  I’d announce this weeks trend with a drum roll!

Simply imagine this; accessing your Internet connection by flicking a light switch!  Yes, thought and idea may not be too far off as researchers from Fudan University in Shanghai, China shared their creation of an LED light bulb that produces its own Wi-Fi signal! Dubbed as “Li-Fi, “scientists have pulled off getting four computers online under a single-watt LED light bulb, which eventually would be a more cost-effective alternative to Wi-Fi.

With the help of a microchip, the “Li-Fi” bulb not only connects up to four computers to the Internet simultaneously, but at a speed of about 150 megabytes per second! In comparison, most home computers have a connection speed of about 20 mbps.

The Li-Fi bulb basically uses light frequencies instead of radio waves, so it’s less-costly and a much more eco-friendly way of accessing the Web since it uses only 5% of the energy used by most Wi-Fi devices.

Although there are kinks to work out, (including design tweaks and the challenge of what happens when the light is blocked), researchers are proceeding with samples for 10 lucky Buyers at the International Industry Fair in Shanghai next month.

Although I am not recommending you throw your router out just yet, I must admit after taking several flights over the past few weeks and all lacked access to WiFi, the timing of this breakthrough couldn’t be better!  With many of us working under a “time lost is money lost” philosophy,  (thus the reason why we are married to the need of excellent and easy connections),  I look forward to the day Li-Fi arrives at retail. What a ray of light that will be!

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DSC01025Sherri Scheck-Merrill is a hospitality industry professional with a passion for excellent hotels and resorts. She is passionate about hotels, interior design, fashion, and beauty. As Vice President of Amenity Services Inc., she focuses on hotel business development and guestroom product design. She distinguishes herself by researching, teaching and reporting U.S. trends for her own fashion and export business.

She is a three-time nominee for Businesswoman of the Year by California’s Orange County Business Journal. A UNLV student-athlete/Harvard Executive Education Consumer Marketing graduate, she licenses popular retail brands for hotel guestrooms.

After spending several years on a tennis court, followed by the role of head buyer at the largest West Coast-based sporting goods and fashion apparel export company, her knack for predicting trends landed her a columnist position at Orange Coast Magazine. She is also the author of the biannual trend-forecasting report for a major retailer in Osaka, Japan, and writes a popular blog about trends for Hotels – the magazine of the worldwide hotel industry.

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