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.

Of course, this will raise privacy fears. But we believe that, in the long run, consumers will voluntarily give up privacy in exchange for the benefits of mobile convenience — provided that the contextual information collected about consumers delivers highly personalized experiences that they see as too convenient to pass up.

We believe that consumers will “walk through” their own personal Internet experience. What does this mean? Consumers will receive more and more individualized content based on their current context. Information will be automatically updated and personalized to match their past behavior and their real-time environment. As the remote control of our daily personal lives, the mobile phone will become both an enabler and recipient of merged physical and digital experiences.

That’s why we believe the future of mobile is the user context.

Building highly contextual experiences is a journey.

I invite you to start Julie’s report — accessible here for clients.