Monday, April 28, 2014

Contextual and Predictive Technologies

Apple's Siri is a technology that I am getting more comfortable with everyday.  It is proving to be a nice little time saver when it comes to looking up phone numbers on the internet, dialing phone numbers from my directory, etc., etc.  When Siri came out she was fairly big news.  Now apparently she is old school.  The new buzz words are contextual technology and predicitive technology.

CT and PT are software programs that allow our devices to learn about behavior and preferences so that the device can anticipate what we want or need, and get it done for us.  Want an example?  Think Radar O'Reilly from MASH.  Radar walks into Colonel Blake's office and lets Henry know that his wife is on the phone before the Colonel even asked Radar to make the call!

The opportunities are endless: phones, watches, headset, cars, televisions . . . .  Imagine the calendar on your phone synching with your car's GPS.  It's a Tuesday and you need to be at a depo in a different city.  You start the car and automatically the depo location is programmed into your GPS. . .  You are driving to court for a 9:00 a.m. appearance.  It's 8:50 and your car senses that you are still 20 minutes away.  Your phone automatically calls the courtroom clerk, bluetooth sends the call to your car's speakerphone, and you let the clerk know you are running late.  Your smartwatch senses that your heart rate and blood pressure are elevated.  It also detects unusual shaking in your body.  It sounds an alarm and tells you to get to a doctor immediately in case of heart attack or stroke.  Oh yeah, the marketers will be involved also.  You are on your laptop looking at pictures of Hawaii.  Your heart rate goes up.  Your smartwatch senses this as a good thing, and an ad for a discount vacation pops up on your laptop screen personalized with your name and an invitation to immediately book a special deal for a Hawaiian holiday.  The possibilities go on and on.

The technology is already out there, and the big boys like Google and Microsoft are investing heavily in it.  Examples would include Google's recent purchase of Nest thermostats and its evolving Google Now service, two more examples of CT and PT.

Hal is here, but it may not be a bad thing?

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