Context Aware Computing Explainedposted by Anna Mar, November 23, 2011
Chances are you've used several context aware applications today. In fact, you might have used a context aware search engine such as Google to find this article.
What is it?Old school applications behaved the same way every time you used them. Context Aware applications change their behavior based on information about your situation:
Who are you?
Where are you?
What are you doing?
It's as simple as that.
Location ExampleLet's say your walking down the street in Tokyo and you search for sushi. A context aware search engine can use your location and include nearby sushi restaurants in results.
User Profile ExampleLet's say that you don't speak a word of Japanese. When you search for sushi in Tokyo — you're really looking for a restaurant that has an English menu.
A context aware search engine might use your user profile to recommend nearby restaurants with English menus.
Activity ExampleLet's say your living in Tokyo and studying to be a sushi chef. One day you're in class and you search for sushi on your tablet device. The last thing you want to see is a list of nearby sushi restaurants.
A context aware search engine might understand your current activity — participating in a sushi chef class. The search engine could then provide more suitable results.
Business ApplicationsContext aware computing isn't just about search engines. The business applications are endless:
Improvement of operational processes
Marketing and advertising
Product development and research
Building brand loyalty and customer relationships
Decision support (e.g. analytics)
Context Aware TechnologyContext aware applications require contextual data. This can come from many sources:
GPS location data from mobile devices
Geographic information systems
User profiling (i.e. tracking user behavior over time)
Third party information services (user and business data)
All this data must be combined to determine a meaningful context for the application. Determination of a context can involve complex algorithms.
Contextual data can be big. Contextual applications may deal with petabytes of data.
Potential Legal IssuesContext aware applications often use a great deal of information about you. In many cases it's still unclear how privacy laws will be applied to context aware applications.
Information technology governance|
What is security trying to achieve?|
Current state architectural blueprints.|