Context-aware computing will give competitive advantage

Enterprises can leverage context-aware computing to better target prospects, increase customer intimacy, and enhance associate productivity and collaboration, according to a report from IT industry analyst Gartner.

By 2012, the typical Global 2000 company will be managing between two and 10 business relationships with context providers, and by 2015, says the market-watcher, context will be as influential in mobile consumer services and relationships as search engines are to the Web.

Gartner defines context-aware computing as the concept of ‘leveraging information about the end user to improve the quality of the interaction’. Emerging context-enriched services will use location, presence, social attributes, and other environmental information to anticipate an end user’s immediate needs, offering more-sophisticated, situation-aware and usable functions.

Context-aware computing has the potential to solve a wide variety of business problems, Gartner avers, because as more users employ a greater variety of applications, operating systems, browsers, and devices, user experience problems will increase; new business opportunities will emerge, by virtue of ‘knowing’ the customer more intimately; and productivity will improve as systems eliminate complexity for the user.

Gartner also believes that advances in networks, mobile hardware capabilities, social computing, service-oriented architecture (SOA), and unified communication, will make it easier to build and use context-enriched services. This will present a significant business opportunity for service providers, mobile device manufacturers and suppliers of communication infrastructure.

Gartner says that it is beginning to see ‘significant interest’ in context-aware computing from CIOs looking to harness context information to provide a wide range of benefits from increased associate activity to better customer intimacy and better-targeted marketing.

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