Disappear and multiply
The future of personal computing is diminishing the personal computer. The better your gadgets get at their jobs, the more invisible they become...
Ever eager to coin terms, analysts are pronouncing “cognisant computing” as the next big thing in the evolution of personal technology. It sounds very fancy, but it really describes a fairly obvious trend – that as your gadgets get better, faster, cheaper and more intelligent, they also spend less time in front of your face. What’s interesting is what becomes possible when this fundamental shift in focus happens.
The devices themselves are also falling away into the background of our environment. Wearable computing is a developing trend, but beyond that are ideas of computers being woven into fabric, buried in the ground and literally disappearing from sight.
Research firm Gartner recently
published research in the field of cognisant computing and made the observation that while gadgets are diminishing in terms of visual prominence, they are also multiplying around us. Your big smartphone has now replaced other gadgets like the GPS and pocket camera, but is reaching a pinnacle of convergence. If the analysts are right, it will be replaced in the future by a collection of smaller – much smaller – devices.
Michael Gartenberg, research director at Gartner said: “Cognisant computing evolves the connected device and personal cloud service into an activity of seamless and frictionless integration connected to sensor-driven ‘ invisible’ devices that are optimised for a particular set of functions.”
As a result, he added, applications are now aware of action or inaction on the part of their owners and ultimately provide a greater amount of relevant information that can eventually drive behavioural change.
We’ve seen devices like “smart-watches” on the market before however, but what makes the new generation of cognisant computers special, say the experts, is that they tie into a broader ecosystem for the user, whereas older devices tried to operate in isolation.
So the war currently being waged between Google, Microsoft, Apple and other tech giants is less about individual products, or even sets of products, and more about your life and the environment you live in. Fencing that off will be big money.