Are you prepared for your phone to adjust your life for you? This isn't sci-fi. According to research firm Gartner, by 2017, your phone will be able to use data it perceives in a way you can't to perform automatic actions, such as adjusting your alarm to wake you up sooner if there is traffic that morning, or automatically sending an apology when you are running late for a meeting.
According to Gartner, there will be four phases of this concept, which the company refers to as "cognizant computing":
- Sync Me: Store copies of my digital assets, and keep it in sync across all end points and contexts.
- See Me: Know where I am (and have been) on the Internet and in the real world. Understand my mood and context to better align services.
- Know Me: Understand what I want and need, and proactively present it to me.
- Be Me: Act on my behalf based on learned or explicit rules.
So, what does all that mean?
Gartner indicates that the first steps are having your files and data in the cloud and accessible by multiple devices, and then having your phone give you contextual choices based on your history online and even in real life, via GPS. For example, a company might send you a sales alert through an app because the company knows you are near its store and have bought products from it before.
The Know Me phase is a bit harder to decipher, but Gartner's example of offering to book a car for its yearly servicing fits that bill: The phone would know from your calendar and past events that your sedan is due for a checkup.
Lastly, truly smarter phone capabilities will allow your device to perform actions for you, using data you have provided to the phone for such purposes. For instance, your phone could send birthday greetings or respond to mundane email messages, based on the calendar and email info you've provided in your device, Gartner says.
According to the firm, people are currently experiencing the benefits of the first two phases. (there are already location-based shopping apps that alert you to nearby deals, for example), but the second two phases are still to come. "Phones will become our secret digital agent, but only if we are willing to provide the information they require," Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner, said in a statement.
Gartner released this research Nov. 12 at its Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2013, held Nov. 10-14 in Barcelona.