IEEE Smart Tech Metro Area Workshop series is coming to Glasgow 13 October 2015.

This one-day intensive workshop will be held at the Technology Innovation Centre (TIC) Building University of Strathclyde,  Glasgow, UK. Receive one day of instruction with a choice from two different tracks, plus meals, for only £35 (GBP) (US$55) for members*  and £350 (GBP) (US$546) for non-members. Smart Tech Workshops offer parallel, all-day, and half-day track sessions that allow attendees to immerse themselves in a given technology. Below you will find the agenda and course description for each track.

*Society affiliates are not eligible for the member rate.

Workshop agenda

Below is the schedule for the Metro Area Workshop in Glasgow. Two different tracks are offered throughout the day. Click on the session title for a detailed description of what is covered, as well as the speakers for each course.


Duration Room A & B, 9th Floor TIC Building Royal College Building Room R.2.15

 9:00 - 10:30 am

(10:00 UTC +1)

 1.5 hours  Registration & Coffee (Foyer)  Registration & Coffee (R 2.13)
10:30 am - 12:30 pm

(11:30 UTC +1)

 1.5 hours Li-Fi Technologies and their Appreciation Real World Desktop Software Defined Radio using the RTL-SDR and MATLAB/Simulink

 12:30 - 14:00 pm 

(13:30 UTC +1)

 1.5 hours Lunch (Foyer) Lunch (R 2.13)
 14:00 - 15:30 (15:00 UTC +1)  1.5 hours  Li-Fi Technologies and their Appreciation Real World Desktop Software Defined Radio using the RTL-SDR and MATLAB/Simulink
 15:30 - 16:00 pm (16:30 UTC +1)  30 min Refreshment Break (Foyer)  Refreshment Break (R 2.13)
 16:00 - 17:00 pm (17:00 UTC +1)  1 hour Breakout Sessions Breakout Sessions
 17:00 - 17:30 pm (18:00 UTC +1)  30 min Final Discussions Final Discussions


Session details

Session:Overview of Li-Fi Technologies and their Appreciation
Covered in this session:


The workshop will provide the basic technical information about the emerging Li-Fi technology. The differences to traditional radio frequency (RF) based wireless communications technologies will be highlighted. The lectures will cover fundamental digital modulation techniques for Li-Fi as well as techniques to achieve full wireless networking including multiuser access and handover indoors and outdoors using existing lighting infrastructure. In this context, you will see how in the future, novel optical attocell and hybrid networks will enable three orders of magnitude higher area spectral efficiency, and learn how Li-Fi elegantly supports the trend of ever smaller cells in wireless communications to improve data coverage and mobile user experience without the need for expensive new infrastructure. You will also see how using LED lights in a room as a base station or access point, data rates in excess of 10 Gbps can be achieved – this is faster than the fastest Wi-Fi in the 60 GHz band, referred to as WiGig.  

Background on Li-Fi Technology  

Li-Fi refers to high speed networked wireless communications through light emitting diodes (LEDs) - the devices that are at the heart of modern energy efficient lighting.

Li-Fi is a disruptive platform technology with potentially strong impact in industries such as the Internet-of-Things, data centres and big data, e-health, intelligent transport and driverless cars, industry 4.0, and 5G wireless networking as well as light as a service (LaaS) fuelled by the latest developments in the lighting industry. Due to the disruptiveness of Li-Fi many new business models will emerge. The workshop will hence also touch upon the emerging business opportunities generated by Li-Fi. The target audience is researchers, engineers and entrepreneurs who have an interest or work in any of the above areas. The content of the workshop follows the textbook: S. Dimitrov, H. Haas, “Principles of LED Light Communications – Towards Networked Li-Fi,” Cambridge University Press.

In his 2011 TED Global Talk, now watched over 1.6 million times, Professor Haas showed for the first time to the general public that it is possible to turn LED light bulbs into wireless transmission systems; he termed this ‘Li-Fi,’ and it was listed in the 50 best inventions in TIME Magazine in 2011. Subsequently, Prof. Haas spun out pureLiFi Ltd, a company that is leading Li-Fi commercialization.

Li-Fi is an emerging industry, and could have a huge impact on our everyday lives, and independent market research forecasts that Li-Fi will be a $9 billion industry by 2018.

Li-Fi is particularly suitable for environments where Wi-Fi is unsuitable or where Wi-Fi does not provide enough capacity to meet increasing demands, such as:

  • In places where secure data exchange is paramount such as hospitals, company headquarters, homeland security agencies.
  • In modern factories where hundreds of tools and machines require constant and reliable connection to central servers, and other ‘internet-of-things’ applications.
  • In intrinsically-safe environments such as refineries, oil platforms, or petrol stations where the electro-magnetic radiation of the antennas of radio frequency communication systems could spark explosions.

As an indication of the high level of interest and potential high impact of Li-Fi, it has been featured by the BBC, New York Times, TIME Magazine and CNN International.

In March 2015, pureLiFi launched their networking and multiuser product, Li-Flame, demonstrated it at the Mobile World Congress in 2015. There has be a wide range of interest from industry in it, again indicating that Li-Fi is an emerging industry.


1) History of Visible Light Communication (VLC)

1.1) Relationships and differences between optical wireless communications (OWC), free space optical (FSO), visible light communication (VLC), and light fidelity (Li-Fi)

1.2) Linkage to infrared communication

2) New Security enabled by Li-Fi

3) LED device basics

 3.1) Dealing with LED non-linearities

 3.2) Optical properties and signal propagation

4) Digital modulation techniques and information rates

5) Channel models                     

6) Detector devices

7) Multiple input multiple output transmission in Li-Fi

8) Throughput in optical attocell networks

9) Li-Fi business cases in lighting industry

Every topic will be concluded by a brief questionnaire followed by an in-depth discussion

Speaker: Professor Harald Haas Director, Li-Fi Research and Development Centre (Li-Fi R&D Centre)   

Session: Real World Desktop Software Defined Radio using the RTL-SDR and MATLAB/Simulink

Covered in this session:
In this Workshop you will be presented with the fundamental theory behind the design of a generic PHY layer software defined radio (SDR) and demonstrate the first principles implementation, design, and real time operation of an SDR using off-the-air signal live in the tutorial. The workshop will feature the use of the $20 RTL-SDR USB device which can produce 8 bit I/Q samples at up to 2.8MHz sampling rate and receive over the range 50MHz to almost 1.7GHz. As part of the tutorial, you will learn how to build a first SDR implemented AM and then FM radio receiver, followed by implementations and demonstrations of 433MHz and 868MHz digital QAM receivers. You will also view some other signals around us (from IoT temperature sensors, mobile/wireless and so on). You will view all signals and build all components and designs from first principles DSP theory using MATLAB/Simulink and run real time on a standard Windows PC hosting MATLAB and drivers for the RTL-SDR. Attendees will receive a free USB RTL-SDR stick and access to all presented materials, instruction in, and use of full MATLAB/Simulink desktop and course notes including open versions of all of the SDR designs (and more) that were presented.
Keywords: DSP, Software Defined Radio, RTL-SDR, Digital Communications, Low cost digital receivers, digital signal processing, DSP. 

Learning Objectives:
The objectives of this tutorial are:
  • To introduce attendees to software defined radio implementations
  • To outline core DSP (digital signal processing) methods for physical layer SDR such as DDC (direct digital downconverter)
  • To present spectrum viewing applications showing desktop SDR using the RTL-SDR USB receiver and MATLAB/Simulink (GSM, 3G, LTE and other "on-air" nearby)
  • To introduce attendees to Simulink designs for SDR (no previous experience is necessary - designs are presented on a need-to-know basis)
  • To design and build a first principles AM and FM digital receiver, and a QPSK based digital receiver for a 433MHz in-lab transmission
  • To allow all attendees to design and build on a PC, using MATLAB/Simulink and an RTL-SDR USB stick and simple omni-antenna
  • To ensure all attendees are excited by the ease and low cost opportunity for SDR on the desktop.
1. Introduction to SDR “The Wireless Revolution is just beginning!”
2. From Analog to Digital -  the radio driven desire to sample at GHz
3. IF SDR 100’s of MHz to 10’s of MHz IF to baseband
5. The RTL-SDR Architecture: Analog Receiver and MHz Sampler
6. Receiving I/Q Signals at Baseband with the RTL-SDR
8. Live Demo: Design of a first SDR: AM radio Receiver at 433MHz
9. Live Demo: Design of an SDR enabled FM radio receiver: 88- 102MHz
10. Live Demo: GSM/LTE and 3G  mobiles spectra viewing
13. First Principles SDR Design: 433MHz 200kbits/s QAM receiver
14. Signal Synchronisation, Timing, and Data Recovery. 

Audience: Aimed at academics, students and professional engineers interested in building and designing real time SDR implementations on the desktop from first principles.  We aim to allow attendees to both build and design receivers, and also to observe on-the-air signals ranging from applications of IoT, mobile radio, FM radio, to generic QAM on 433MHz carrier. 

Novelty: The tutorial will allow attendees to take live signals off the air, and implement real time SDR systems on the desktop in MATLAB/Simulink implementations; all on a $20 receiver.   The morning of the course will be lectures and demonstration (3 hours) and the afternoon of the course will be hands-on for all attendees (3 hours).    

Materials: Attendees will receive: 

  • A free RTL-SDR USB
  • A copy of notes and slides
  • The 670 page e-book “Software Defined Radio using MATLAB & Simulink and the RTL-SDR
  • A 30 day Product Trial license of MATLAB and Simulink
  • All RTL-SDR software defined radio examples and exercises.

Speakers: Professor Bob Stewart MathWorks Professor of Signal Processing, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK

Dr Louise Crockett, lead author, The ZynqBook

Speaker bios

Headshot of Professor Harald HaasProfessor Harald Haas Director, Li-Fi Research and Development Centre (Li-Fi R&D Centre); Chair of Mobile Communications, University of Edinburgh, UK

Harald Haas (S'98¨CA'00¨CM'03) received the PhD degree from the University of Edinburgh in 2001. He currently holds the Chair of Mobile Communications at the University of Edinburgh, and is the Director of the Li-Fi Research and Development Centre. His main research interests are in optical wireless communications, hybrid optical wireless and RF communications, spatial modulation, and interference coordination in wireless networks.  He first introduced and coined spatial modulation and Li-Fi. Li-Fi was listed among the 50 best inventions in TIME Magazine 2011. Prof. Haas was an invited speaker at TED Global 2011, and his talk has been watched online more than 1.6 million times. He is co-founder and chief scientific officer (CSO) of pureLiFi Ltd.

Professor Haas holds 31 patents and has more than 30 pending patent applications.  He has published 300 conference and journal papers including a paper in Science.  He was co-recipient of a best paper award at the IEEE Vehicular Technology Conference in Las Vegas in 2013, and Glasgow in 2015. He was co-recipient of the EURASIP Best Paper Award for the Journal on Wireless Communications and Networking in 2015.  In 2012, he was recipient of the prestigious Established Career Fellowship from the EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) within Information and Communications Technology in the UK. Prof. Haas received the Tam Dalyell Prize 2013 awarded by the University of Edinburgh for excellence in engaging the public with science. In 2014, he was selected by EPSRC as one of ten RISE (Recognizing Inspirational Scientists and Engineers) Leaders.

Headshot of Dr. Bob StewartProfessor Bob Stewart,MathWorks Professor of Signal Processing, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK

Bob Stewart is currently the MathWorks Professor of Signal Processing in the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at the University of Strathclyde.    Since August 2014 he has been Chair and Head of the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, in the UKs largest EEE Department with more than 55 academic staff and almost 300 researchers.

 His interests in teaching, knowledge exchange and research over the last 20 years has focussed around signal processing and with specific interests in software defined radio, radio standards such as LTE, 802.11, and most recently on wireless white space radio utilising TV spectrum frequencies where he is engaged in OfCom testbed pilots, and the Mawingu white space project in Kenya.

From 2006-12 Bob was the Xilinx Professor of DSP and Digital Logic at Strathclyde, and from 1997-2013 he was a visiting Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Extension School.

In 2004 Bob was a founder of the technology company Steepest Ascent Ltd which became part of MathWorks new Glasgow office in 2013.  Bob has published his work extensively over the years, and in Sept 2015 will publish the new co-authored book “Software Defined Radio using MATLAB & Simulink and the RTL-SDR” via

Headshot of Dr. Louise Crockett Dr Louise Crockett

Louise Crockett is the Xilinx Teaching Fellow on FPGA Systems Design in the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at the University of Strathclyde.   Louise graduated with her PhD 2008 on digital communications and since then has been active working on FPGA designs primarily for communications and software defined radio.

Louise is the lead writer of the best selling textbook “The Zynq Book” jointly with Xilinx which after publication in 2014 has become the de-facto introduction to Zynq FPGA technology.

Louise supervises and manages a number of PhD researchers at Strathclyde working on FPGA system design for applications including, wireless standards,  image and video processing, and the industrial internet of things, and works with a number of blue chip and SME companies.

Her teaching involvement has a focus on FPGA system design, and she currently leads the Department's  teaching activity in digital systems design and VHDL classes,  and the Master’s classes on FPGAs for DSP and Communications.