What Is Wifi Aware?

Wi-Fi Aware is an exciting new capability of Wi-Fi which enables power-efficient discovery of nearby information and services before making a connection. Wi-Fi Aware will make it easy to find services available in the area that match preferences set by the user – and is optimized to work well even in crowded environments. Wi-Fi Aware will be a key enabler of a personalized social, local, and mobile experience, enabling users to find video gaming opponents, share media content, and access localized information all before establishing a connection.

Bottom line is we need the LAN equivalent for mobile devices and this looks like a step in the right direction. Still to doesn’t address the issues of curation and security very well but that might be up to developers. If the game you’re playing is Wifi Aware then you can have secure and relevant social interactions curated by your game developer.

If widely adopted, Wifi Aware could redefine social networking and finally enable the now infamous “elastic social networks”. A dynamic collection of these elastic networks could be thought of as a “civic network” or a new paradigm in social networking that allow us to share and connect with people nearby to discover placer, crowd-shop, get better POVs on stadiums, take 3D photos and videos, share files in conferences and classrooms, become citizen reporters and profoundly change interactions in every naturally occurring group of people. Quoting one of my essays (The Case For A Global Civic Network):

—- What Facebook is to a club, this next property needs to be to the “open society”. An open collaboration place that is less intimate than your social network of choice, but still manages to embed intelligence, security and structure into our daily interactions. If you think of society and civility as the protocols that make us productive offline, then the idea of a civic network emerges as the tools that will make us productive as a “hive” or significant group of people. Indeed, this is a big idea, but one that could change our world for the better and have a disruptive impact for generations to come. —-

While I’m skeptical, I think that Wifi Aware is a huge step into such a vision and, if widely adopted, could create new possibilities for developers and users.

You can join the conversation at Hacker News.