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Going Beyond Location... It’s Context That Will Count

Imagine you’re at the station, waiting for your train. On the wall is a supermarket poster featuring some ready meals and a choice of grocery essentials. Using your phone you scan three items you’d planned to pick up on your way home anyway, requesting a home delivery later that evening. The store already knows your details and preferences and acts immediately. That’s another task off your ‘to do’ list.

Welcome to the world of context-based services in which the ability to combine specific customer/user information with other contextual information – where people are or what they are doing –is used to refine the product/service/information delivered to a user. In other words, by simultaneously drawing on a range of inputs, organizations will take the customer experience to the next level making it more context sensitive, targeted and personalized.

Context awareness also opens the way to handy new information services. So, if you’re signed up to a traffic app, you’ll not only be notified that the football match just ended and there’s congestion on the road, you’ll also get an alert forewarning you before the match even kicks off, because your likely destination and normal route/journey time has been anticipated!

Achieving all this depends on being able to identify you, knowing something about your location/environment, understanding what you’re doing – and what your friends or colleagues are saying about it. And all this analysis needs to take place in real-time.

Making context known is a market ready to happen and as such services proliferate, leading firms will use context to deliver mass-personalization and ‘real time’ context-aware information services to customers.

Make no mistake. As context becomes more commonplace, consumers will start to expect it. Indeed, analyst firm Gartner estimates that by 2015, 40 percent of the world’s smartphone users will opt-in to context service providers who will track their movements and digital habits, in exchange for better services.

That represents a big challenge for companies, who’ll need to get to grips with context in what is a rapidly evolving marketplace. And that means dealing with data distribution in real-time. Because if you try to interact with a customer visiting a store with a mobile discount relating to something on their wish list – after they’ve already moved on – your promotion has time-degraded and is no longer relevant. Not only will this mean that your customers are annoyed, but your business has missed an opportunity to boost sales and revenue.


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