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Solid-state lighting is a rapidly developing field. White-light and other visible LEDs are becoming more efficient, have high reliability and can be incorporated into many lighting applications. Recent examples include car head-lights based on white LEDs, and LED illumination as an architectural feature. The prediction that general illumination will use white LEDs in the future has been made, due to the increased energy efficiency that such an approach may have. Such sources can also be modulated at high-speed, offering the possibility of using sources for simultaneous illumination and data communications. Such visible light communications (VLC) was pioneered in Japan, and there is now growing interest worldwide, including within bodies such as the Visible Light Communications Consortium (VLCC) and the Wireless World Research Forum (WWRF). In this paper we outline the basic components in these systems, review the state of the art and discuss some of the challenges and possibilities for this new wireless transmission technique.