Your Phone May Become Smarter Than You Soon

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":

  1. Sync Me: Store copies of my digital assets, and keep it in sync across all end points and contexts.
  2. 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.
  3. Know Me: Understand what I want and need, and proactively present it to me.
  4. 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.

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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.

Source: Gartner via Govtech

Follow Kevin Ohannessian at @khohannessian and on Google+. Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.

Kelly Ohannessian is a freelance writer and editor. With more than 15 years of experience, she works with a focus on covering the creative aspects of the gaming industry. Her articles have appeared on Medium, Fast Company, Tom's Guide, Laptop Mag, Gamespot, and many more. Currently, she works as a manager at Brooklyn Game Lab.

  • CaedenV
    I for one welcome our new pocket sized overlords!
  • fimbulvinter
    Well, smarter than YOU maybe.
  • ohim
    As much as i like cool devices i kinda hate that more and more people are getting dependent of their phones. Well.. at least you don`t get to be anal probed for aliens to know better about yourself :))
  • deftonian
    A phone will never be smarter than the user. What I mean is, these are most likely features that will need to be turned on and understood before it works. If a user doesn't understand how to turn them on or tweak the settings, then it's useless anyways. So, it's possible the phone has the potential to be smarter but the user needs to understand how to get it going.
  • timaahhh
    .... Then we've already lost
  • bmwman91
    Hello Dave, where are you going? You still need to wipe.

    It has been 4.265 seconds since you last inhaled. Please take a breath now, Dave. Reminder to exhale auto-set for 3 seconds from now.
  • soldier44
    Well with more smartphones available to more and more people especially the "Walmart" crowd this is a given..
  • clonazepam
    I'm sorry I'm late. My phone was confused about the time. It didn't set my alarm properly. My phone didn't tell me there'd be traffic this morning. My phone didn't sync up with my car last night and remind me to get gas. Whaaa whaaa it wasn't my fault... haha
  • 016ive
    Not shur whether my phone will be my personal assistant or I'm his! :P
  • sirskeetsalot2013
    Any-ones phone is smarter than those monkeys at the firm Gartner.