Technology is making it easier than ever to share ideas and communicate with one another. Wireless connections have allowed individuals access to a wealth of knowledge at the tips of their fingers, only limited to their area of connectivity. But what happens when no network connection is available and information sharing is necessary? For these situations, Wi-Fi Aware, sometimes simply referred to as Aware, steps in to handle our needs. Similar to Wi-Fi Direct, Aware offers the ability to share information between devices, with some very key differences.

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What Is Wi-Fi Aware?

For over a decade, Wi-Fi Direct has given users the ability to connect devices and share large volumes of data without the use of a network. This is generally done by establishing the connection through a series of steps and disconnecting when finished. Wi-Fi Aware offers a parallel experience with more simplicity. Connections are made automatically when devices are in proximity to one another, eliminating the need to repeatedly establish them. This allows devices the ability to continually transfer information back and forth with no need for human interaction.

Created by Wi-Fi Alliance, the Wi-Fi Aware certification was designed to improve peer-to-peer connectivity and provide a wide range of possible applications to devices. For this to work, certain devices are designated as publishers, continuously broadcasting a signal that invites the connection of other devices. The other devices are considered subscribers and search for publisher devices. Once they are within range of a publisher device, the subscriber automatically initiates a request, thereby establishing the connection between devices. This technology is the natural evolution of the internet of things, or IoT, allowing devices to interact in ways that enhance the user experience without the need for an access point or human oversight. As long as your device is compatible and within range, you have access to applications available in the area.

How Is Wi-Fi Aware Used?

As the technological demands of users evolve, Wi-Fi Aware has gained increased usability in a variety of settings. For those looking for social connections, Aware allows them to play games together using separate devices, share music to multiple devices simultaneously, share photos and find each other in crowded settings. For business purposes, the applications can serve to improve the customer experience by offering relevant discounts in the area, letting you view restaurant menus from your device and providing table booking options or enhancing your time in educational facilities, such as museums, by offering personalized information relevant to the display. It can also improve the workflow of staff by providing off-network access to printers, tracking time spent on-site, and acting as a substitute for ID when going through security checks.

Control the Information You Want

A key benefit to Wi-Fi Aware is the user’s ability to filter what’s shared and received through connections. Device users can decide whether they want their personal information shared with others on the connection and, because the technology is application-driven, can filter the applications that are relevant to them. This ensures any notifications they receive are welcome and prevents an overwhelming level of data being sent from unsolicited sources.

Benefits of Wi-Fi Aware

There are a number of benefits to using Wi-Fi Aware over other connectivity technologies. The range of Aware is superior to many of the other options available, making applications more useful. Using Wi-Fi connectivity also allows the transfer of high data loads at faster speeds while being protected by the higher level of security that Wi-Fi provides. Data can be shared simultaneously and multi-directionally between those who are connected.

The dynamic connection ensures other users stay connected, even when one or more users are out of range. The connection is also known to be strong in crowded areas, typically working most efficiently while indoors. This makes the technology perfectly suited to team-building exercises, engaging with peers in a crowded area or tracking members of a group in a busy environment.

Applications can be set to synchronize connections to area devices at once, allowing time-sensitive information to be shared to those who find it relevant. The signal can be received by any compatible device, across multiple brands, service providers, networks and users without the need for a network internet connection. Those same applications can even include a call-to-action for those who have connected, helping to increase engagement by users.

Devices using the Android O and later operating systems have the benefit of native support from Wi-Fi Alliance. Catering to Android developers creates an open market of application development, encouraging innovation to improve existing applications or create new ones.

Wi-Fi Aware was also designed to have low energy requirements, saving device batteries by establishing independent cluster networks and sending small bits of information in coordinated “heartbeats.” This ensures your device won’t continuously seek connection or be drained by constant interaction through an application. Aware also uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) triggered initialization to further save on battery drainage.

For business purposes, Wi-Fi Aware offers team connectivity that can aid in dynamic collaboration. Those within range can share ideas and contribute to a project through synchronized devices, allowing newcomers to easily get up to speed and disconnecting from those who leave the area.

What’s the Bottom Line?

Wi-Fi Aware is an excellent technological advancement that encourages collaboration and connection between users. It allows your device to bring you information about the world around you in a way you can filter to control the information you receive. This can enhance your experience as a consumer and help businesses establish a more personal connection with their customers. Use of Wi-Fi Aware requires low battery consumption, making it a convenience with minimal impact on device use. In short, this technology creates a link between users, through current and future apps, that offers convenience, social interaction, targeted marketing strategies to those who want them, and a more dynamic work environment that can be customized to fit a company’s needs. Perhaps one of the most interesting features of Wi-Fi Aware is its peer-to-peer dependency, ensuring that the experience will continue to improve as more individuals and companies choose to incorporate this technology into their routines.