WASHINGTON - With so many Internet-connected gadgets, appliances and services, wireless networks tie them all together.
Wireless Registry, a D.C.-based startup, has launched the first global wireless registry, which will let people and businesses own unique wireless identifiers and names, such as WiFi SSIDs (service set identifiers).
"The SSID is the name that exists when you walk into your house and have your WiFi signal," says Patrick Parodi, company CEO and founder.
The computer owner chooses the SSID, which differentiates the wireless network from others nearby. They often require a password to join the network.
Parodi says the registry will allow businesses and people to engage consumers.
"If you walk in the mall at Tysons Corner you'll notice there are a lot of signals around you, and if you're looking for WiFi, a lot of it is gibberish," says Parodi.
Using an imaginary business, named Joe's Burgers, Parodi says a consumer searching would not only find a WiFi signal, but also content determined by the business.
"It can check the registry and see what the owner of that name and signal has associated with it," says Parodi. "It could be a coupon, it could be the special of the day, it could be the menu of the restaurant."
"So, if it's Joe's Burger it could be a 2 for 1 deal today," Parodi says.
As it launches, the WIreless Registry is offering a free first year subscription for the first name registered, and the standard yearly subscription rate of $4.99 for subsequent names.
Registrants have the opportunity to download a Firefox plug-in, which would allow the browser to be proximally-aware, says Parodi.
Eventually, Parodi expects other browsers would detect nearby wireless access points.
In the same way the Domain Name System, or DNS, powered the Internet, Parodi says the Wireless Registry will power what's being called The Internet of Things, which requires unique identifiers for connected devices.
Parodi says his company is working with a company called Page-Out, on mobile applications for firefighters.
Assuming a homeowner had registered an SSID, firefighters could get important information that the homeowner had chosen to associate with the name, as they arrive on a scene, says Parodi.
"For instance the layout of the house, how many children are in the house, where the boiler is. So, the firefighter can become proximally aware before they walk into that building," says Parodi.
With the prevalence of WiFi, smartphones are capable of being turned into portable hotspots.
By using the WIreless Registry, smartphone users can associate their identity to a mobile device.
"You now have the ability to take that proximal identity with you, anywhere you go," says Parodi.
The Wireless Registry hopes to be the foundation upon which the Internet of Things is built.
Parodi likens his company to Network Solutions - the first company that focused on domain name registration.
"When Network Solutions launched 15 years ago, they were not the ones that built the websites. They were not the ones that built the portals that became things like Yahoo. They're not the ones that created the search engines like Alta Vista or Google, or the ones that created social media like Facebook or LinkedIn," says Parodi.
"We believe we're building the infrastructure for the Internet of Things."
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