Wi-Fi technology has long allowed users to wirelessly connect to a router to gain instant web access. Recently, however, Wi-Fi Alliance has been focused on a project called Wi-Fi Aware to further improve wireless web connectivity, browsing, and location detection. Wi-Fi Alliance, a non profit group effort between hundreds of companies including tech giants Apple, Microsoft, Intel, and many others worldwide, seeks to make continuous improvements to the Wi-Fi experience, provide unparalleled web connectivity and create richer Wi-Fi experiences.
Wi-Fi Alliance’s newest project, Wi-Fi Aware, gives products with Wi-Fi capabilities the ability to discover and communicate with nearby devices without the need for cellular data. An upgrade over Bluetooth, the biggest benefit to Wi-Fi Aware is the ability to function like a “smart GPS”–using location sensing to determine where you are and deliver relevant information about the area including restaurants, stores, and other points of interest. Additionally, the location sensing capabilities will be able to detect friends in the area through opt-in integration with social media channels.
Today, social media usage and instant content sharing are at an all-time high as a result of smartphones and Wi-Fi connectivity. Wi-Fi Aware is taking that one step further, giving consumers an even more optimized, real time experience that works well even in crowded environments and indoors. Wi-Fi Aware is representative of the the consumer’s desire for location-based experiences and having instant access to information about their current location, whether it’s somewhere they frequent or a place they’ve never been before.
Manufacturers will need to have new devices certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance prior to being available to consumers. Owners of multiple Wi-Fi devices with Wi-Fi Aware apps will reap the benefits that this new development provides; inter-device discovery, ease of use in crowded areas, and location data. Skeptics argue that the location sensors may be a personal security breach, making people vulnerable. The Wi-Fi Alliance is ensuring that all Wi-Fi Aware applications have enhanced privacy options and either an opt-in or opt-out identity disclosure agreement.
Bringing unprecedented access to wireless devices of any kind–cell phones, tablets, GPS devices, MP3 players, and more–Wi-Fi Aware will change the game by allowing for selective connectivity, greater power efficiency, ease of use in crowded environments, and smart location sensing. Most importantly for many consumers, Wi-Fi Aware would create a link between users through social media channels and smart location sensing. The inter-connectivity of Wi-Fi Aware apps and devices would make people feel at home in any location by providing relevant location information including restaurants, shopping, and points of interest. Universal Wi-Fi is seemingly on its way, and for consumers worldwide that’s a good thing. They’ll never have to feel lost in a new city again.