The Wi-Fi Alliance are a busy bunch. They've been working on the certification of 802.11ac, the next-gen Wi-Fi standard following 802.11n. They're still in the process of developing Passpoint, a system that allows wireless access points to seamlessly take over data duties from cellular networks. Another certification program, Miracast, hopes to democratize the kind of easy audio/video streaming Apple offers with its proprietary AirPlay protocol.
AirPlay is only convenient within the domain of Apple TVs and iPhones and MacBooks, but Miracast could potentially allow you to stream video straight from an Android smartphone or Windows laptop straight to your TV. Miracast isn't the first initiative to make that promise: Intel's WiDi and the Wi-Fi Alliance's own Wi-Fi Direct have both dangled the carrot of simple Wi-Fi streaming in front of the tech community. Neither has had the success of AirPlay.
Miracast actually runs atop Wi-Fi Direct's point-to-point standard--it's a new name for a new focus on A/V streaming. Think of Wi-Fi as a three-floor building: the Wi-Fi protocol occupies the ground floor, Wi-Fi Direct's access point-free standard takes up the second, and Miracast occupies the third with codecs and other information important for video streaming. Where Wi-Fi Direct has sometimes only been useful for, say, sharing files, Miracast will specifically focus on user friendly video playback.
Wireless chipset makers can begin supporting Miracast in the coming months. According to Ars Technica, some or most devices will be able to implement support for the standard in software. Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, for example, offers an API for apps to support Wi-Fi Direct.
Ideally, Miracast is a cross-vendor technology that will allow a Samsung phone to stream video content to a Sony TV. The potential's there, but so far Wi-Fi Direct has seen specific, rather than general, implementations (example: Intel's WiDi). If Miracast can't break from that kind style of implementation, it'll be nothing more than a less popular AirPlay. Even Apple could get in on the game, but they have no reason to: AirPlay already makes them big money.
The Wi-Fi Alliance plans to see Miracast devices on sale this holiday season.