Does The Mobile Internet Mean The Death Of User Privacy?

Innovations in mobile technologies are making the mobile Internet increasingly ubiquitous and powerful. Consumers are drawn to the mobile Internet because it can be highly contextual and leverages information such as geo-location, presence, and user-specific information to deliver a rich and intensely personal experience.

As my colleague Julie Ask pointed out in her new report eBusiness: The Future Of Mobile Is User Context, companies that produce consumer products/services will increasingly take user context into account to produce convenient products with relevancy and immediacy for consumers. Already location-aware applications are becoming more and more ubiquitous; our movements as individuals are invariably documented somewhere.

Our phone is packed with sensors that can gather more contextual information about its surroundings than anything we’ve seen before. Sensors such as GPS, accelerometers, gyroscopes, NFC, and high resolution cameras are now commonplace in smartphones. Emerging sensor technologies like barometer, microbolometers, and chemical sensors will provide even richer user context information.

Soon your phone will not only know where you are, but what you are doing, how fast you are moving — and if Apple gets their way, the rate your heart beats!

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The Future Of Mobile Is User Context

I have had the opportunity to contribute to a brand-new piece of research led by my colleague Julie A. Ask, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester.

We both believe mobile has the potential to be even bigger and more disruptive than the Internet.

That’s a bold statement! Today, few of the numerous professionals we interviewed are developing digital strategies that leverage context and make the most of the phenomenal technology packed inside mobile devices. Even fewer are anticipating the opportunities that will emerge tomorrow, with technology innovation driving capabilities around the user’s context.

Indeed, the fancy features, such as GPS and NFC, embedded in mobile phones will become common, while new sensors like barometers will reveal more about the user’s environment. The phones will also act as modems, relaying or interpreting information from other machines or from attachments with sensors. In a few years, mobile will be divorced from the PC. While a mobile device may have the ability to act like a PC, it has the potential to do much, much more. Product strategists must step into the leadership role, driving the development of user-context-based products. Increasingly, voice and motion will control devices and applications. There will be an entirely new generation of products and services delivered on mobile platforms that will not originate online.

At the end of the day, who knows you best? Your mobile phone! Why?

Because it will become the device you use to interact with the world around you — your hotel room, your shopping cart, your TV, your bank, your parking meter, your car, your running shoes, and many other aspects of your life. You won’t be able to keep anything secret from your mobile phone.

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