your smartphone will be a lot smarter than you. Not only will you be perpetually glued to it but you will also – according to the data crunchers – be increasingly governed by it. Research firm Gartner Inc. has forecasted that by 2017, your smartphone will be able to predict things like your next move and your next purchase. It will also be able to interpret your actions based on what it knows about you. These rather impressive (and some might say sinister) actions and insights will be based on your personal data, which your smartphone is constantly gathering using cognisant computing. Cognisant computing (yes, we feel your pain, another techie term to grasp) is being trumpeted as ‘the next big step in personal cloud computing’.
“Cognisant computing takes intelligent actions on behalf of users based on their historical data, preferences and rules,” explains Sandy Shen, research director at Gartner, in a statement. “It can predict user needs and complete tasks without users initiating the action or interfering with the service. It can take the very simplistic format of completing a recurring event such as to turn on the water heater at a preset time, or the more sophisticated format of calling the rescue services and connecting with the doctor when an emergency occurs.” SMART HOMES So that’s the good news then – while your smartphone is sneakily gathering and analysing the finer details of your life, these insights can be used to improve it. Or at least improve certain parts of it. Gartner used the example of your home, explaining that cognisant computing “can play a meaningful role at home because home settings are stable with relatively fixed equipment and user behaviour is routine usually and predictable”. By 2015, it notes that cognisant computing will be a key enabler in smart home solutions – which is a major growth area worldwide. PERSONALISED DATA STREAMS Unsurprisingly, mobile apps are a major enabler of cognisant computing. The data gathered through the use of the apps and the analytics around it, according to analysts, are becoming more important with every passing year.
By 2017, mobile apps will be downloaded more than 268bn times, generating revenue of more than $77bn. As a result, Gartner predicts that mobile users will provide ‘personalised data streams’ to more than 100 apps and services every day. FIRST MOVERS So who is going to be profiting from all this? As with most races in the realm of data, personal computing and its myriad applications, the front-runners are likely to be Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook. They can leverage their long-established relationships with loyal customers and users, and draw on their veritable treasure troves of consumer data to provide innovative tools and solutions.