Sunday, December 29, 2013

Smart Technology, Context-Awareness, and the Internet of Things

Popular media has focused much attention on context-awareness media technology. In the May 2013 issue of Wired Magazine, its feature article Welcome to the Programmable World discusses how context-awareness technologies can soon “choreograph” to respond to our needs, solve our problems, and even save our lives. In its August issue of Wired, it features another article about context-awareness in The Age of Invisible Design Has Arrived.  Technology bloggers Robert Scoble and Shel Israel’s very recently authored Age of Context: Mobile, Sensors, Data and the Future of Privacy, a book that highlights what the future will look like and, in many ways, what today already does using context-awareness technologies.

Technologist Peter Semmelhack ( argues that by connecting a device to a network, the aim is to exchange and share information with other devices on that same netwok. Semmelhack proposes seven key attributes called the “social seven” which I believe is an excellent framework in examining how context-aware technologies can enable educational technology designers to better design their products and machines with the end user in mind.

The Globe and Mail article The Smartphone Knows What You're Thinking in 2012 featured context-aware computing when it predicted smartphones would have sensors that could detect a person’s location, the time of day and the presence of others to tell whether a person is in a meeting or listening to a presentation, or even dismissing incoming calls or revert to silent mode.

The technology-based company, Gartner, identifies context-aware computing as one of the Top 10 Strategic Technologies for 2011. And by 2013, Gartner predicts that more than half of Fortune 500 companies will have context-aware computing initiatives and by 2016, one-third of worldwide mobile consumer marketing will be context-awareness-based. Connected World Magazine is already the leading business and technology publication that provides the intelligence industry titans need and the guidance consumers crave.   Do I need to say more about our upcoming connected smart-ready world?

Technology columnist Brian Proffitt predicts three things for the Internet of Things for 2014 which is insightful and helps explain what are some critical technologies that need to be in place for the IoT to be realized.   If at least one of these predictions come true, we could see a very different world of technology in the upcoming year ahead.

Prediction #1:  More commercial deals like AllSeen that will get vendors working towards a common communications platform through which devices can readily pass information along to each other. Just take a look at AllSeen Alliance get formed.

Prediction #2: Consumers will start to see more examples of device-to-device communication as more hardware vendors incorporate smarter communication devices within their products.

Prediction #3: Payment systems, whether existing credit and debit cards, new systems like Coin or all-online systems like PayPal and Google Wallet, will become more integrated with the Internet of Things, smoothing the friction for transactions.

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