From PC Magazine:
Wi-Fi technology is about to get an upgrade.
The nonprofit Wi-Fi Alliance on Tuesday announced it will now begin certifying products as Wi-Fi Aware. The new technology lets compatible devices more easily discover other gadgets, apps, and information nearby.
It would, for instance, let you easily find video game opponents, swap photos, and access local information — all without a cellular, Wi-Fi, or GPS connection. The technology works within the typical Wi-Fi range, and was designed to function well in crowded environments and indoors.
From the Wi-Fi Alliance:
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.