The Wi-Fi Alliance recently launched a certification program for a new technology and standard called Wi-Fi Aware. But what does this mean?

What is Wi-Fi Aware?

Wi-Fi Aware is an always-on technology that enables devices to discover other nearby devices, applications and information. We think this short video from the WiFi Alliance explains it really well.

What makes WiFi Aware different from other technology available?

Wi-Fi Aware is based on the Wi-Fi Alliance Neighbor Awareness Networking (NAN) Technical Specification. It enables devices to discover nearby information and services and initiate interactions with people and services without a connection to a wireless access point.

When a device discovers an interesting service, the device then initiates a high-performance Wi-Fi connection. Meaning devices employing Wi-Fi Aware will be able to exchange information about nearby services or apps in a more energy and data efficient way.

What’s more, many existing technologies only conduct one-way communication, which precludes information exchange during discovery. Wi-Fi Aware can support a two-way conversation with other enabled devices and allows for a bi-directional exchange of small pieces of information, for example, location data, sensor readings, and services in proximity.

How will it be used?

So far, common examples cited could be friend-finder, social gaming applications, targeted ads or coupons, or as a product locator inside a marketplace. Proximity has become a critical element of today’s mobile connected experiences, and proximity-based applications stand to significantly benefit from the new capabilities of Wi-Fi Aware. Wi-Fi Aware will bring higher contextual awareness enabling more immediate, personalised applications that continuously scan surroundings, anticipate actions and notify users of services or selected preferences. Wi-Fi Aware will make the user’s environment much more dynamic and interactive which is surely what most people want.

Source: Wi-Fi Aware™: Better Proximity Technology for Personalized Experiences WiFi Alliance July 2015