Companies can give themselves a competitive boost by better tailoring their interactions with individual customers, according to a new report by Gartner.
The analyst firm's Context-Aware Computing: A Looming Disruption report suggests that context will be as influential in mobile consumer services and relationships by 2015 as search engines are to the web today.
This type of context-aware computing can make good use of what a company already knows about an individual to help forge closer and more interactive relationships, and better target new prospects, the report claimed.
"Although the rudiments of context-aware computing have been around for some time, it is a disruptive technology that has the potential to be a real 'game changer' in terms of competitive advantage," said Anne Lapkin, research vice president at Gartner.
"Initial implementations of context-enriched services are already in play, and early adopters will find it easier to implement more sophisticated services in the future."
The report suggests that technology is something of a double-edged sword in this area. As the diversity of applications, platforms, devices and delivery mechanisms grows so does the complexity of each system, creating more problems with the user experience.
However, this is matched by the development and uptake of networks, social computing, service-oriented architecture and unified communications, which can make it easier to build and use context-enriched services to simplify the experience.
"Many organisations employ some context-enriched services today. However, while some are quite sophisticated, they tend to be disparate implementations," added Lapkin.
"Location-based services, presence and portal personalisation are common, if simple, manifestations of context today. Many organisations are beginning to experiment with social networking, which can also provide significant context in formation to achieve better results."
Larkin believes that companies that are aggressive with technology will be the first to integrate these various components to provide an aggregated communication channel for the user.
A second report from Gartner poses four questions that chief information officers should consider when looking into the implementation of context-aware computing:
* Why is context-aware computing worth my time and
* How should I approach my business to propose an investment in context-aware computing?
* Why is it important to get started so early?
* How do I successfully introduce context-aware computing in my organisation?
The Context-Aware Computing: Four Questions CIOs Should be Asking report delves into each of these considerations, highlighting the potential benefits and challenges.
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