Differentiate with digital

The Future Of Mobile Is Context

Julie Ask
Vice President, Principal Analyst
July 11, 2011

Delivering highly contextual mobile services is an expectation. Mobile phones are personal devices. Consumers expect personal and relevant experiences. 

What is context?

Forrester defines “context” as

“the sum total of what your customer has told you and is experiencing at his moment of engagement.”

Context includes:

Situation: the current location, altitude, and speed the customer is experiencing.

Preferences: the history or personal decisions the customer has shared with you.

Attitudes: the feelings or emotions implied by the customer’s actions or logistics.

eBusiness professionals make limited or very basic use of context today. Mostly, they use an individual’s location to tell her where the nearest store or hotel is. The use of location is a minimum requirement today to meet consumer expectations of “decent” mobile services. The bar is rising quickly though. eBusiness professionals need to layer intelligence on top of contextual information and plan how they will use new contextual information such as temperature or altitude.

Here are a few scenarios that simply leverage intelligence with location:

  • Banks. Should a user require the same depth of authentication at home, at work, or in a foreign country?
  • Hotels. How much should you quote a prospective customer for a room tonight if she is 5 miles or 500 miles away?
  • Airlines. What home page services should you show a passenger whose flight leaves in 2 hours? In 10 minutes?
  • Retailers. How would you react if a customer was using your application for price comparisons and inventory checks from your competitor’s store?
  • Insurance providers. How do you use mobile to mitigate risky behaviors? State Farm already has an application that stops incoming text messages while an owner is driving a vehicle.

This stuff may sound really cool and exciting . . . if it were 2010. Leading eBusiness professionals are already mastering the business rules and infrastructure needed to deliver on these scenarios. The opportunities around context are just starting to get interesting. Give the report a read if you’d like to look into the future and see where your competition and consumer expectations are headed. 

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