In four years’ time, your smartphone may be smarter than you. It will be able to predict your next move, next purchase or interpret actions based on what it knows, according to Gartner. This insight will be performed based on an individual’s data gathered using cognizant computing — the next step in personal cloud computing.
“Mobile phones have turned into smartphones thanks to two things: technology and apps,” Carolina Milanesi, Research Vice President of Gartner. “Technology has added features such as cameras, locations and sensors, while apps have connected those to an array of functions that, for the most part, add and improve our day to day life from a social, knowledge, entertainment and productivity point of view.”
What smartphones can do through apps has improved and broadened thanks to the personal cloud. “We assume that apps will acquire knowledge over time and get better with improved predictions of what users need and want, with data collection and response happening in real-time,” she added.
The first services that will be performed “automatically” will generally help with menial tasks — and significantly time consuming or time wasting tasks — such as time-bound events (calendaring) such as booking a car for its yearly service, creating a weekly to-do list, sending birthday greetings, or responding to mundane email messages. Gradually, as confidence in the outsourcing of more menial tasks to the smartphone increases, consumers are expected to become accustomed to allowing a greater array of apps and services to take control of other aspects of their lives – this will be the era of cognizant computing.
By 2017 mobile phones will be smarter than people not because of an intrinsic intelligence, but because the cloud and the data stored in the cloud will provide them with the computational ability to make sense of the information they have so they appear smart.
“Phones will become our secret digital agent, but only if we are willing to provide the information they require,” said Milanesi. Regulatory and privacy issues, as well as the level of comfort users will have in sharing this information, will differ considerably across age groups as well as geographies.
While privacy will be an issue for some consumers, for many it will only be an issue if they do not get enough in return for their personal data. Consumers tend to give up a lot for convenience. The benefit of certain apps might instigate behaviors that were unthinkable yesterday.
“Mobile phones have been our trusted companions for years channeling the natural need we have to communicate with others and express ourselves first with voice, then with the internet, and more recently through applications,” said Milanesi. “Smartphones, their technology and operating systems have been radically changing other devices from PCs to televisions. The era of personal cloud is empowering users as well as devices to get access to and share more and more data. Over the next five years, the data that is available about us, our likes and dislikes, our environment and relationships will be used by our devices to grow their relevance and ultimately improve our life.”