A life in the day of... Kelly Davis-Felner, VP marketing, Wi-Fi Alliance
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.
“It 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 technology.
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 spectrum.
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