L NOVEM­BER 15

Oman Daily Observer - - FRONT PAGE - FAISAL KA­WOOSA

The mode of com­mu­ni­ca­tion changed al­to­gether with the ar­rival of mo­bile phones in our lives. It got wider and more mean­ing­ful once the world was ex­posed to smart­phones. How­ever, chang­ing tech­nol­ogy pa­ram­e­ters and fun­da­men­tals are call­ing for yet an­other dis­rup­tion in the com­mu­ni­ca­tion space — this time with In­tel­li­gent Phones.

Smart is not nec­es­sar­ily in­tel­li­gent but in­tel­li­gent is al­ways smart. By this def­i­ni­tion, today’s smart­phones are not nec­es­sar­ily in­tel­li­gent de­vices. Here is why. A smart­phone lets us do myr­iad of things in ways that bring ef­fi­ciency, ef­fec­tive­ness and pro­duc­tiv­ity in our lives — such as work­place com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

With smart­phones, we have been able to not only man­age e-mails promptly but also con­nect seam­lessly with peo­ple and friends on real-time plat­forms like What­sApp that are more in­for­mal but quick and ef­fec­tive means to make crit­i­cal de­ci­sions in a high­ly­compet­i­tive world.

Now, Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence (AI) is set to play an in­te­gral role in mak­ing the smart­phones of the fu­ture.

Al­go­rithm-based in­tel­li­gence has al­ready be­gun to per­co­late in premium smart­phones. As adop­tion and us­age evolve, AI will soon be­come a rudi­men­tary thing in smart­phones.

How­ever, the present ap­proach is about find­ing ar­eas where AI has us­age as stand-alone tech­nol­ogy and for con­ve­nience, in­te­grat­ing it with smart­phones makes it user-friendly. This, how­ever, is not go­ing to make the smart­phone in­tel­li­gent; it will only make them su­per or ex­tra-smart — ca­pa­ble of do­ing more things.

An In­tel­li­gent Phone, how­ever, is one which will have “think­ing” ca­pa­bil­i­ties and de­cide the next course based on the user’s pref­er­ences and pri­or­i­ties.

For in­stance, we now have sev­eral ad­vanced ca­pa­bil­i­ties in smart­phones — but there are man­ual in­ter­ven­tions that we, as users, have to ap­ply, like en­abling and dis­abling net­work ca­pa­bil­i­ties. Why shouldn’t the smart­phone be in­tel­li­gent enough to de­cide which net­work ca­pa­bil­ity to en­able or dis­able based on us­age?

Right now, if Wi-Fi is en­abled, the cel­lu­lar data goes into hi­ber­na­tion. Why can’t the phone de­cide which one to use based on sev­eral cri­te­ria like cost of data, ap­pli­ca­tion be­ing used, type of data be­ing ac­cessed and so on?

If a user gets into a car, the smart­phone should be in­tel­li­gent enough to de­ci­pher through AI and con­nect to the au­dio sys­tem via Blue­tooth. Sim­i­larly, the air­plane mode should be en­abled while some­one is air­borne.

All these may sound too ba­sic as ca­pa­bil­i­ties. These will not only bring com­fort for the user but also have im­pli­ca­tions on bat­tery con­sump­tion as well as in en­sur­ing that there are no “loop­holes” en­abled which may not be in use in the de­vice.

Smart­phones have fo­cused pri­mar­ily on the ap­pli­ca­tions and fea­tures they can sup­port. It has not evolved to com­mu­ni­cate bet­ter with the user as per his or her pref­er­ences and pri­or­i­ties.

One hin­drance was the evo­lu­tion­ary phase of AI; but since AI has now be­come a re­al­ity, the de­vice should add in­tel­li­gence and move be­yond ap­pli­ca­tions and func­tion­al­ity.

As the smart­phone in­dus­try looks for in­no­va­tion in a mar­ket that is near its sat­u­ra­tion point, the In­tel­li­gent Phone could be a saviour for the in­dus­try. It could re­ju­ve­nate con­sumer in­ter­est and, hence, the mar­ket it­self.

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