Pierre Laberge
Manager | Tax

The concept of Light Fidelity (LiFi) has existed for some time. It’s now making a comeback and Dévicom is participating in its development. Light-based communication could become common place.

It was Alexander Graham Bell himself who first communicated by light using his invention, the photophone. Bell wondered, “Can Imagination picture what the future of this invention is to be?” His question remained unanswered and the world turned to Hertzian waves for radio communications instead.

It was the development of light-emitting diodes (LED) that made it possible to revisit this technology, with the extensive use of LED devices prompting the industry to develop LiFi solutions.

Closer to home, Dévicom, a Saguenay company, recently entered into a partnership with Longueuil-based Global LiFi Tech. The two companies are collaborating on research and development as well as promotion and client-building strategies.

Our expert spoke with Jean-Luc Doumont, Dévicom Business and Communication Strategies Analyst.

How are voice and data transmitted by an LED light?

The principle is based on using two main components, a transmitter and a receiver, with an optic channel between them. One of the properties of LED light is that it switches the current off and on at a very high rate, up to several thousand times per second, unseen to the human eye and can therefore be used to transmit information using the computer binary system. When it is on, a LED light emits a (1) bit and when it is off, it emits a (0) bit.

These extremely fast frequency changes (0 or 1) are used to transfer all types of video or audio data over a broadband connection using a LiFi router that transmits electricity and data. The receiver is a mobile terminal (standard cell phone or tablet) that decrypts the light signal using a modulator to transform it into it to a high frequency internet signal.

Can any type of mobile terminal be used?

The cell phone or tablet must have a LiFi receiver or the computer must have a LiFi dongle to establish the connection. Some manufacturers have already integrated this technology into their business processes, it just needs to be activated when the time comes.

With this technological advance, it would be possible to have totally free bandwidth globally (with no licensing cost), without radio waves or electromagnetic interference, as well as more secure communication. Optical waves cannot penetrate through walls (LiFi’s main limitation), which means data is contained inside a lighted room.

Deployment of the technology is part of 5G telephone development as a result of extensive connectivity needs, due in part to the Internet of Things (IoT).

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Are there any other benefits to LiFi compared with the highly popular and widespread cellular or WiFi data networks?

Another benefit of LiFi is that it does not use radio frequency (RF) bandwidth. This helps address the problem of RF bandwidth that is almost at full capacity partly because of the immense popularity of audio/video streaming. Not only are WiFi bandwidth frequencies constantly growing, they are unable to meet demand.

LiFi has lower user costs and a DEL bulb can last up to 50,000 hours.

Lastly, data is unpiratable, since light can’t be pirated! Because it is not subject to interference, LiFi makes it possible to use the internet in locations that are not accessible by WiFi.

What are the potential applications?

In the home, each LED light could broadcast different information for each user.

In a hospital, LiFi could be used to communicate patient files electronically, as soon as the patient arrives at the specialist’s office.

At a municipal or RCM meeting, each elected official would have a copy of the agenda, minutes and resolutions as soon as they are connected with a LiFi light. When they leave the premises, the documents would no longer be accessible.

In a plant, LiFi could be used to access the internet or transmit information on various products using a tablet, as soon as a user moves close to machinery (safety and operational rules, etc.).

A first in Canada

In September 2017, Dévicom achieved something special by conducting a telephone interview broadcast by a local radio station using LiFi technology. This technological feat was accomplished by using a USB cable to connect the light sensor/convertor to a regular computer with a telephone using IP (Internet protocol). The LiFi Oledcomm technology was used to make several calls with no dropped calls and with an outstanding sound quality.

The future

Let’s go back to Bell’s question from long ago, “Can Imagination picture what the future of this invention is to be?”. While we may not be able to predict the future, we can picture two practical examples.

In a museum for example, if each work of art had its own LiFi light, visitors could learn about the work of art, when it was created, see a video of the artist and learn graphic details when they approach the work.

In a car dealership, clients could have access to information on a vehicle’s performance, an explanatory video, technical details. The possibilities are endless!

Jean-Luc Doumont is a Business and Communication Strategies Analyst with Dévicom, which handles LiFi infrastructure for Global LiFi Tech, a company deploying this new technology and converting lightbulbs and tablets to LiFi.

14 Mar 2018  |  Written by :

Pierre Laberge is a manager at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton. He is your expert in taxation for the...

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Adviser alert – March 2018

Potential accounting consequences of the US tax reform for IFRS preparers

The Grant Thornton International IFRS team has published IFRS Viewpoint – Potential accounting consequences of the US tax reform for IFRS preparers. The IFRS Viewpoint series provides insights on applying IFRS in challenging situations. Each edition will focus on an area where the standards have proved difficult to apply or lack guidance. This edition provides guidance on the potential accounting consequences arising from the recent reform of the United States’ tax system.

On December 22, 2017, the President of the United States (US) signed into law the ‘Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’ (Act). The Act is a sweeping reform of US taxation which is likely to have a significant impact on financial statements prepared under IFRS for entities with US operations. Furthermore, because the Act became law on December 22, 2017, its effects must be included in interim and annual reporting periods that include that date. The range and complexity of the Act means that companies with US operations need to analyse the impact of the Act in detail. This IFRS Viewpoint addresses some of the issues that entities will face when doing so.

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Gaston Fournier
Manager | M.A., CHRP | Human resources consulting

It’s your business—you’ve invested time and energy, but has the time come to consider selling or transferring it? Here’s some advice for a successful transition.

Experts agree that it takes an average of seven years to complete a successful transfer. Only about one third of the 100,000 businesses that will be carrying out a transfer in the next ten years will do so successfully. About 91% of entrepreneurs do not have a succession plan. Is this your situation?

You need to surround yourself with the right professionals for this process. One benefit is that they can make keep discussions on track and foster a smooth transition. It’s also important to keep in mind that this transfer may take place gradually, over several years.

Cover all the bases

Make sure you have all of the experts you need for a successful transfer. There are numerous facets to an organizational change of this magnitude: human, financial, tax and legal, among others.

Work with experienced advisors

Call on advisors with business transfer experience who can see the big picture, because the success of this process depends on how well the advisors can work together as a team.

Reflect your business’s situation

Choose one person from the group that you trust, who knows your business’s situation and understands the related human and interpersonal issues. This person can act as the “integrator” with an overall view of your needs and objectives. That person’s role will be to identify your needs and call on the right resources at the right time.

Have an objective observer

Encourage neutrality. The professionals must be capable of giving you an objective opinion. To ensure the business’s longevity, they should consider the needs of the transferor and transferee in the process. This may include, for example, doubt about the transferees’ abilities, questions about everyone’s future role, the business’s value.

Generally, the following experts are involved in a successful transfer:

  • specialists in business transfers, strategic planning and human resource management;
  • an account manager,
  • a financial planner or development capital investor,
  • a business valuation specialist,
  • a tax specialist,
  • a lawyer,
  • an accountant,
  • a notary
  • a communication management consultant and family mediator and,
    in some cases, an industrial psychologist.

By surrounding yourself with the right experts, you’ll be well positioned to ensure a successful business transfer!

08 Mar 2018  |  Written by :

Mr. Frounier is a manager at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton. He is your expert in human resources...

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There seems to be a growing trend for seniors to live together. Historically associated with younger people, the phenomenon of sharing a residence appears to be drawing a new generation.

For some seniors, it’s an opportunity to avoid isolation and loneliness. It also has the benefits of being able to share interests and activities, without necessarily sharing their love life.

What’s more important, like teens and young adults, seniors see the significant advantage of sharing housing costs. In the context of their generally more limited income and with the constantly increasing life expectancy, living with someone is an appealing solution to deal with this reduced income.

Tax impact

Living together is seen as another option for balancing one’s budget.

Despite the undeniable benefits of shared housing, are there tax impacts? A reader recently had questions about how her plans to move in with someone would affect her tax situation. Let’s look at some of the considerations more closely.

After they have lived together for 12 months, two individuals of the same or different sex are considered to be common-law spouses and would therefore be required to change their marital status when filing their tax returns.

Since some tax credits are calculated on a family income basis, the change of status could result in the two individuals losing certain tax benefits. However, just the fact of being roommates does not trigger a change in marital status.

To conclude that roommates are common-law spouses, they have to have lived in a conjugal relationship for 12 months.

Common-law spouses

Tax legislation does not define a conjugal relationship, therefore, the facts underlying the relationship will generally determine whether two individuals are common-law spouses.

The tax authorities usually consider two individuals to be in a conjugal relationship if they live in the same residence, present themselves as a couple, declare themselves to be spouses for insurance or pension purposes, enter into agreements or loans together, have intimate relations, etc.

There is no dominant factor per se, all of the facts at hand must be analyzed to determine if roommates are common-law spouses.

The main point to remember is that simply living together is not sufficient to consider that roommates are spouses.


1. Roommates should ensure that they properly report the nature of their relationship to the tax authorities.

2. Having a roommate means you can no longer claim the tax credit for a person living along.

3. Misrepresenting the situation could lead to a review of your tax situation and the need to repay certain benefits.

Consult your tax advisor for help in assessing your situation.

This article was published in French in Journal de Montréal and Journal de Québec on 2018, February 27.