Smartphone Users, Prepare for the Era of Cognizant Computing (Gartner)

Provocative article about “cognizant computing” in eWeek.  So what is cognizant computer? According to Gartner:

 [It’s the ability to] predict a consumer’s next move, their next purchase or interpret actions based on what it knows …. This insight will be performed based on an individual’s data gathered using cognizant computing — the next step in personal cloud computing.

Gartner provides a cool graphic to explain what they mean:


So, for example,

“Smartphones are becoming smarter, and will be smarter than you by 2017,” Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner, said in a statement. “If there is heavy traffic, it will wake you up early for a meeting with your boss, or simply send an apology if it is a meeting with your colleague. The smartphone will gather contextual information from its calendar, its sensors, the user’s location and personal data.” The report predicts that the first services to be performed automatically will generally help with menial tasks, or time-consuming and time-wasting ones, such as time-bound events such as booking a car for its yearly service, creating a weekly to-do list, sending birthday greetings or responding to mundane email messages.

“Mobile phones have turned into smartphones thanks to two things: technology and apps,” Milanesi said. “Technology has added features such as cameras, locations and sensors, while apps have connected those to an array of functions that, for the most part, add and improve our day to day life from a social, knowledge, entertainment and productivity point of view.” By 2017, mobile phones will be smarter than people not because of an intrinsic intelligence, but because the cloud and the data stored in the cloud will provide them with the computational ability to make sense of the information they have so they appear smart, the report said. H”Phones will become our secret digital agent, but only if we are willing to provide the information they require,” Milanesi said. Gradually, as confidence in the outsourcing of more menial tasks to the smartphone increases, consumers are expected to become accustomed to allowing a greater array of apps and services to take control of other aspects of their lives, and thus we enter into the era of cognizant computing.

What does this mean for enterprises with mobile workers? Here’s a few things that come to mind:

  • Automatic super-efficient routing based on traffic patterns
  • Automation of various tasks
  • Customized data collection forms based on work habits
  • Task reminders related to new things to do (based on patterns or past work) or things to follow up on (based on patterns of recent work)
  • And maybe most importantly, espresso made to your exact specifications before you get to your favorite coffee shop

When it comes to espresso, I’m not entirely sure I want my smart phone to “be me,” but if it saves time, energy, and money in avoiding a long line and getting the perfect cup, I’m willing to give it a try.

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