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The Age of Context is near

Sander Duivestein
August 22, 2012

For a few weeks ago Rebekah Cox, a product designer at Quora, tweeted  the following message: “The first company to fully execute on embedding your identity into your phone (making a truly first class experience) wins the next decade.”  Her tweet was quickly picked up and there was a heated discussion about the content. Was Rebekah right or wrong? Mobile identity: what is it? The tweet led to a complete article on “Mobile Identity” in which she further elaborated on her thoughts. According to Rebekah “Your identity is the product of how you manage your attention and others’ access to that attention.” Problem is that attention is a scarce commodity. All kinds of new technologies – such as a text message, a tweet, an email, a Facebook status update – shatter this attention. The solution lies into a mobile experience that fully addresses the needs of your identity properly: “A mobile experience that truly represents your identity — in a way that both resembles and enhances an in-person conversation but still affords you control over how you portion out your attention and provides context — could tie the knot for the myriad communication channels available.” The Age of Context Her article appeared subsequently on TechCrunch and in the comments on her article, the comment from Robert Scoble drew my attention: “Identity is only a piece of your context. The new device that takes over the world will know not just your identity, but your context.”  Not surprising that he makes this remark. Scoble is a technology evangelist and co-author of the book “Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers”. Recently he announced that he and Shell Israel are working on a new book with the working title “The Age of Context: How it Will Change Your Life & Work”. The book is about how software is finally understand who we are: “It’s about personalizing what you see wherever you look online based on what the technology thinks You Should see. It’s about harvesting and sharing mountains of human data and a new and imprecise field called predictive behavior.” Technology is intuitive. Technology always know better what our needs and intentions are. Indeed, technology often knows more what we wish for before we realize our innerthoughts ourselves. And is this scary? Or not? Are we actually helped by technology or are we even more harassed? Technology is our friend It is my firm belief that technology will help us in the future. We will master technology. This can only be realized if software understands our context. That the algorithms will know what information is relevant for us and presents this data at the right moment. Right time instead of realtime. In the free trend report “We the Web” Jaap Bloem and I wrote the following: “The mobile phone is no longer just a device to talk to. Context-aware applications on mobile devices in all kinds of sizes will become the main gateway between the physical and the digital world. […] What we want – perhaps largely unarticulated – is that the web knows how to find us based on our digital footprints and real-time behavior. The web should understand which we seek for. […] It is clear that the first who is able to create measurable value based on the abundance of available data on the Internet will again earn a lot of money.” The next era revolves around context. Context is king again. Intelligent algorithms have to interpret Big Data for us. To lift us humans to a higher level. It is the humanization of technology. Technology must augment our senses, to make us more human. A better human being. And indeed, the company that manages this achmievement first, will become the next Google of the next years.

About the author

Trend Watcher – New Media, Trend Analyst VINT | Netherlands
Sander Duivestein (1971) is a highly acclaimed and top-rated trendwatcher, an influential author, an acclaimed keynote speaker, a digital business entrepreneur, and a strategic advisor on disruptive innovations. His main focus is the impact of new technologies on people, businesses and society.


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