Wi-Fi Aware allows nearby devices to communicate

wi-fi-awareWi-Fi Aware is a new technology released by the Wi-Fi Alliance, the non-profit trade organization that includes Apple, Microsoft, Intel and hundreds of other tech powerhouses as members.

Aware allows Wi-Fi-enabled products to discover and communicate directly with nearby devices, applications or information, without relying on cellular data or an Internet connection. Think of it as a sort of the same thing iBeacons were supposed to do but have yet to provide.
Essentially, once you’ve installed an application that leverages Aware, your device will continuously broadcast and receive broadcasts from devices in your vicinity. Users can opt in to let applications both publish availability and subscribe to receive information and connection requests.

The key is that the device is constantly aware of everything in close proximity, but only chooses to connect to relevant sources of information. It’s going to be an interesting trick once it rolls out.

Even though Aware is running continuously in the background so that a device knows exactly what’s nearby before it connects, it’s incredibly power efficient, according to Edgar Figueroa, President of the WiFi Alliance — even more so than traditional WiFi, he says. This means that Aware has no trouble functioning in a crowded environment, like a huge concert or a football game where texting is often impossible. Figueroa says that we can expect to see social networks like Facebook or LinkedIn roll out applications with Wi-Fi Aware before the end of the year.

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