29 May 2014
| Sophie Donoghue
The Wi-Fi Alliance has over 575 members within its portfolio and it is Kelly Davis-Felner’s job to ensure that collaboration is present across the board.
can sometimes feel like herding cats," she says. "However, when
it works it can be the most magical thing."
Texas-based Wi-Fi Alliance is an association that aims to bring
together all different types of companies, ranging from Silicon
Valley startups to mobile operators and carriers, with the aim
of "defining Wifi for the future".
As VP of marketing for the alliance,
Davis-Felner’s role predominantly revolves around
supporting the members in developing certification programmes
for Wifi technology. Attuned to the needs of operators and
carriers, the members get together three times a year to "make
sure Wifi is working well and addressing the things people want
to use it to do", says Davis-Felner.
Organising 575 companies that compete, collaborate and at the
same time are each other’s customers and peers can
be a big challenge. The companies involved pledge an allegiance
towards co-operating to improve Wifi and the idea of working
together is designed to give them all an edge to develop the
There is clearly a willingness to co-operate, but
Davis-Felner says that this does not always eliminate internal
politics and competitive sensitivities. One part of
Davis-Felner’s role is to promote Wifi and the
Wi-Fi Alliance collaboration forum worldwide in the public
arena, which she says is the most rewarding part of her job.
"Wifi is not a hard sell," she says.
Davis-Felner is coming up to her 10-year anniversary with Wi-Fi
Alliance, and has been part of a period when the Wifi industry
has been very dynamic.
"Back in the very first years on the job I was preparing a
PowerPoint presentation for our managing director at the time,"
she says. "We made a slide that showed all six handsets that
were Wifi-certified over the years. Now that number is well
into the thousands."
Early last year, Wi-Fi Alliance added a technology called WiGig
to its portfolio. It is a capability which operates in a
different frequency band to Wifi and has a short-range wireless
connection for high-throughput load connections. It is often
used as a cable replacement technology, and the Wi-Fi Alliance
is in the process of developing a certification programme for
it, which is expected to come out late next year.
Looking to the future, Davis-Felner says that the Alliance is
turning to other technologies that operate outside of the core
frequency bands to complement the technology portfolio, and it
is looking at other opportunities to build connectivity
solutions and certify them in other parts of the
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