Story image

Wi-Fi Aware: Enabling a better connected world

15 Jul 15

A new wireless upgrade, known as Wi-Fi Aware, is in the works. This technology enables products to discover other devices, applications and information nearby before making a Wi-Fi connection.

Wi-Fi Alliance, the non-profit organisation that promotes Wi-Fi technology and certifies products, has launched a new certification programme known as Wi-Fi Aware.

This programme validates the capability for energy-efficient, proximity-based service discovery among Wi-Fi devices.

Wi-Fi Aware makes contextual awareness more immediate and useful, enabling personalised applications that continuously scan surroundings, anticipate actions, and notify of services and selected preferences, Wi-Fi Alliance says.

This programme comes at a time when demand for highly personalised mobile experiences is growing rapidly, says Wi-Fi Alliance.

The widespread implementation of Wi-Fi in mobile devices offers potential for vendors, operating system (OS) developers, and application makers to create innovative services based on proximity.

"Wi-Fi Aware exemplifies the continued innovation in our industry and our commitment to a terrific Wi-Fi user experience," says Edgar Figueroa, Wi-Fi Alliance president and CEO.

"Wi-Fi Aware makes that user experience even richer by delivering immediate, dynamic awareness of the user's environment."

This is a solution that works well indoors and in dense environments, without requiring a cellular, Wi-Fi, or GPS connection. The technology provides an on-ramp for a high-performance Wi-Fi connection and works at typical Wi-Fi range.

Once a service has been discovered, an app can easily initiate a Wi-Fi connection for follow-up activity such as sharing photos or playing a multiplayer game.

Wi-Fi Aware-enabled experiences will be application-driven, and users will be able to control privacy settings and opt-in to desired notifications.

Users can configure an application to offer and/or seek services on nearby devices, exchanging basic information without making a connection to that device.

"The future of mobile applications is being driven by a more location-based, context-aware, and personalised approach," says Rich Karpinski, 451 Research principal analyst.

"Wi-Fi Aware has the potential to put Wi-Fi at the forefront of those experiences, enabling social and local applications to come to life because users discover what's nearby in real time, accessing the experiences they want - when and where they want them."

The market for proximity-based mobile and social services is expected to increase three times by 2016, according to Wi-Fi Alliance.

Today, users of these services must instruct their devices to discover other devices or nearby information. Wi-Fi devices will now be more proactive in offering these experiences and personalised interactions.

As native OS support emerges, application developers will leverage the benefits of Wi-Fi Aware to create new and exciting experiences that will further accelerate the growth of the mobile and social service market, Wi-Fi Alliance says.

Industry support for Wi-Fi Aware is widespread, and smartphones, tablets, and a variety of other consumer electronics products stand to benefit from the enhanced capabilities of Wi-Fi Aware

In fact, silicon vendors have begun to certify the core technology that will power next-generation mobile devices, Wi-Fi Alliance says.

The first certified Wi-Fi Aware products which form the test suite for the certification programme are:

  • Broadcom BCM4358
  • Intel(R) Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260
  • Marvell Avastar 88W8897 802.11ac low power Wi-Fi combo chip
  • Realtek RTL8812AE 2x2 a/b/g/n/ac MiniCard

"Persistent awareness to surrounding services adds an exciting new dimension to the mobile user experience and enables applications to be more social, useful, and intuitive.

“The Wi-Fi Aware certification program provides both a foundation and a simplified approach to creating new generations of proximity-aware products," says Yaniv Garty, Intel Corporation vice president and general manager of Wireless Communications Solutions. 

Google Cloud, Palo Alto Networks extend partnership
Google Cloud and Palo Alto Networks have extended their partnership to include more security features and customer support for all major public clouds.
How Adobe aims to drive digital transformation for financial services
Digital transformation is a requirement for ongoing competitiveness that clearly helps businesses run more efficiently.
Using blockchain to ensure regulatory compliance
“Data privacy regulations such as the GDPR require you to put better safeguards in place to protect customer data, and to prove you’ve done it."
Human value must be put back in marketing - report
“Digital is now so widely adopted that its novelty has worn off. In their attempt to declutter, people are being more selective about which products and services they incorporate into their daily lives."
A10 aims to secure Kubernetes container environments
The solution aims to provide teams deploying microservices applications with an automated way to integrate enterprise-grade security with comprehensive application visibility and analytics.
DigiCert conquers Google's distrust of Symantec certs
“This could have been an extremely disruptive event to online commerce," comments DigiCert CEO John Merrill. 
Microsoft NZ bids Goldie a “fond farewell”
Microsoft New Zealand director of commercial and partner business takes new role across the Tasman. The search for his replacement has begun.
Google says ‘circular economy’ needed for data centres
Google's Sustainability Officer believes major changes are critical in data centres to emulate the cyclical life of nature.