Big Brother? Or Big Mother? Depends If You Get It Right ...

What am I even talking about? Think about how you use your mobile phone. Do you contact your closest friends? Do you shout and swear at your local telecom provider's IVR because your new home Internet service isn't working as advertised? Do you shop? Bank? Read books? As a result, your phone knows if you are happy or sad. Your phone knows where you live, how fast you drive and where you spend money. Creepy? Maybe if your phone tells you your wife isn't going to like that shirt you are buying. Less creepy if your phone knows you are a Starbucks addict and they are giving away free coffee today. What defines creepy to some extent lies in how much value you perceive in a service. We call this context - what an individual's situation, preference and attitudes are. How you use it will define how creepy it can be.

Your phone will know more and more about you based on some technology that will be in the phone that can sense what you are doing or your feelings, for example. Your phone will also understand your preferences based on how you use the phone. We wrote a lot about this in 2011 - re what is means to you as an eBusiness professional. (See report)

I was so excited when I saw this article from the New York Times on December 23rd. Don't freak out - this is no where near mainstream. Among the interviews we did, in fact, a minority of professionals interviewed were using context in this way let alone thinking about it. Getting it right will be as much art as science. Getting it right will take trials and learning by doing. eBusiness professionals, however, should take a close read - I think this is a very accurate view of the near term potential of mobile. Could even become a consumer expectation. Yesterday, I expected my pharmacist to fulfill a prescription. Tomorrow, I want a coupon for a thermometer when the possibility of a flu outbreak is there. Creepy? or Big Mother?

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Comments

Fascinating

I think it's all about relevance. If it's relevant to me, it's useful. If it's not relevant, it just seems creepy. I think you are right to say it's art as much as science. How do you decide what will seem relevant to a customer?