The Wi-Fi Alliance wants to get you off Wi-Fi

...And onto the Wi-Fi Aware peer-to-peer pingapalooza

Wi-Fi Aware

CES 2015 The Wi-Fi Alliance is looking to push a new platform that will allow devices to share data even when no Wi-Fi network is available.

Dubbed Wi-Fi Aware, the platform would have devices share small snippets of data directly to enable applications like multiplayer games, without device upgrades or the need for an access point. Because the system uses existing Wi-Fi hardware to make the exchange, no new kit is needed.

Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO of the Alliance, sat down with El Reg on the CES show floor in Las Vegas to talk about the new system, and said that once adopted it could have a number of helpful use cases for locations in both developed and rural areas.

To implement the technology, software developers will need to update their applications to utilize the new system. Once activated, the Wi-Fi Aware platform will allow devices to send and receive small packets of data with user information and location.

That data could then be used by the app to trigger user alerts or events such as accessing a site or initiating a connection with another service. Users would be able to manage what can and cannot be shared through the application's permissions controls.

Among the possible use-cases the Alliance is pitching are a museum app using locational info to show content from nearby exhibits or a mobile game linking up users with others nearby for head-to-head matches.

"The device to device is really a driver for allowing nomadic applications," Figueroa said.

"This opens up a lot of temporary, one-off applications."

The Alliance also wants to spread the technology into developing regions. Figueroa said that because the system works without the need for either a mobile broadband or Wi-Fi network, it could be useful for connecting people in remote areas and distributing alerts and notifications.

The Wi-Fi Alliance is hoping to set Wi-Fi Aware capabilities live by mid-year 2015. In the meantime it is hoping to work with developers to get their applications ready for the switch-on.

Word of the launch comes, perhaps not coincidentally, as the Wi-Fi Alliance is marking a milestone in Wi-Fi devices shipped. Earlier this week the group said that the 10 billionth Wi-Fi enabled device had been sent out, with the current number of active devices at 5.5 billion. ®

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