A new technology called Wi-Fi Aware could make Wi-Fi-equipped devices as useful as Bluetooth smart beacons. The technology allows Wi-Fi devices to communicate via tiny messages—sending, for example, a notification to your smartphone about a nearby sale as you walk through a mall. Wi-Fi Aware runs in the background and might prove to be more efficient than traditional Wi-Fi.
That said, the widespread use of Wi-Fi Aware may be a ways off, with only a few wireless chipsets taking advantage of the technology so far and software implementations few and far between. However, both Facebook and LinkedIn are planning to use Wi-Fi Aware by the end of 2015, and the coming wave of Internet of Things devices will make widespread use of the technology to communicate between themselves.