New Wi-Fi Alliance® certification program sets the stage for more powerful context-aware services
Austin, Texas, July 14, 2015 – Wi-Fi®-enabled mobile devices will soon enable a new wave of social, local, and mobile experiences. Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Wi-Fi Aware™, a new certification program from Wi-Fi Alliance®, validates a new capability for energy-efficient, proximity-based service discovery among Wi-Fi devices. The technology in Wi-Fi Aware enables products to discover other devices, applications, and information nearby - before making a Wi-Fi connection.
Wi-Fi Aware comes at a time when demand for highly personalized mobile experiences is growing rapidly. Wi-Fi Aware makes contextual awareness more immediate and useful, enabling personalized applications that continuously scan surroundings, anticipate actions, and notify of services and selected preferences. Wi-Fi’s widespread implementation 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,” said Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO of Wi-Fi Alliance. “Wi-Fi Aware makes that user experience even richer by delivering immediate, dynamic awareness of the user’s environment.”
Wi-Fi Aware makes proximity more powerful
Wi-Fi Aware improves on existing proximity offerings by delivering a truly here-and-now contextual awareness solution that works well indoors and in dense environments, without requiring a cellular, Wi-Fi, or GPS connection. The technology provides an easy on-ramp for a high-performance Wi-Fi connection and works at typical Wi-Fi range.
Wi-Fi Aware devices go through a unique process of discovery and synchronization, establishing a common “heartbeat” that enables very power efficient operation. Devices form clusters and exchange small messages about services available nearby, enabling immediate discovery. Once an interesting 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.
Users are embracing context-aware applications
“The future of mobile applications is being driven by a more location-based, context-aware, and personalized approach,” said Rich Karpinski, principal analyst at 451 Research. “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. 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 personalized interactions. Wi-Fi Aware’s ability to send and receive tiny messages before establishing a connection further enables a two-way conversation among devices. This capability not only enables a user to discover nearby information and services, but request additional information – all without an internet connection. 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.
Industry support for Wi-Fi Aware is widespread
Smartphones, tablets, and a variety of other consumer electronics products stand to benefit from the enhanced capabilities of Wi-Fi Aware, and silicon vendors have begun to certify the core technology that will power next-generation mobile devices.
The first Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Wi-Fi Aware products which form the test suite for the certification program are:
- Broadcom BCM4358
- Intel® 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
For additional resources, and to experience a range of Wi-Fi Aware use cases through our video animation, please visit www.wi-fi.org/wi-fi-aware. The underlying Wi-Fi Alliance Neighbor Awareness Networking (NAN) Specification is also available for free download.
Industry response for Wi-Fi Aware:
“Wi-Fi Aware is a key certification program that will enable Wi-Fi to bring proximity-awareness to mobile devices. Wi-Fi Aware closes many of the gaps preventing other technologies from offering a rich experience where users can fully engage with the world around them. Its ability to work well indoors and in dense environments, and to facilitate an efficient device-to-device or traditional Wi-Fi connection, will make Wi-Fi Aware well suited for a variety of applications and environments.”
- Clint W. Brown, Director, Product Marketing, Broadcom Corporation
“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.”
- Yaniv Garty, Vice President and General Manager of Wireless Communications Solutions, Intel Corporation
“Wi-Fi Alliance’s Wi-Fi Aware program closes a gap in the market where other proximity-aware technologies fall short. Wi-Fi Aware not only provides a power-efficient solution for device discovery, but also leverages Wi-Fi’s strengths to enable a fully rich consumer experience for a variety of peer-to-peer applications.”
- Kevin Tang, Sr. Director of Marketing Connectivity Solutions, IoT Business Unit,
Marvell Semiconductor, Inc.
“MediaTek is accelerating the delivery of leading technology and innovation through all aspects of our business including this important area of context-aware technology. Wi-Fi Aware technology will proliferate the development of innovative social and business applications. Working in Wi-Fi Alliance, we will help drive the adoption of Wi-Fi Aware devices which leverage proximity to enable new and interactive consumer experiences.”
- SR Tsai, General Manager of Wireless Connectivity and Networking Business, MediaTek
“The role of mobile in people’s lives continues to evolve and technologies from Wi-Fi Alliance play a big part. Wi-Fi Aware’s ability to allow mobile devices to be more in-tune with and better interact with devices in their proximity enables exciting new experiences for consumers. Qualcomm Atheros has been a strong supporter of the Wi-Fi Aware program and is pleased to see it reach this important milestone towards enabling proximal awareness.”
- Gajinder Singh Vij, Director of Product Management, Qualcomm Atheros, Inc.
About Wi-Fi Alliance®
Wi-Fi Alliance® is a global non-profit industry association – our members are the worldwide network of companies that brings you Wi-Fi®. The members of our collaboration forum come from across the Wi-Fi ecosystem and share a common vision of connecting everyone and everything, everywhere. Since 2000, the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ seal of approval designates products with proven interoperability, industry-standard security protections, and the latest technology. Wi-Fi Alliance has certified more than 25,000 products, delivering the best user experience and encouraging the expanded use of Wi-Fi products and services in new and established markets. Today, billions of Wi-Fi products carry a significant portion of the world’s data traffic in an ever-expanding variety of applications.
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