Phones must be 'Smart', Not Just 'Smart Phones'

Author: Sanjeev Agrawal
CEO of Aloqa
In the next few years, phones will change in three fundamental ways to become a lot ‘smarter’ than they are today. Phones will add value by notifying us of interesting things than just being used as browsers. A phone is not a PC. It is an interrupt-based device that is intended to alert you – it rings when someone calls or buzzes when an SMS comes in. In the same way, it should ‘proactively notify’ you of content, people, places in your surroundings that would add value to your everyday life. You should be able to use your phone as a phone – a device that alerts you, as obtrusively or unobtrusively, as you’d like, of opportunities to socialize, play, work, shop, watch a show, or just grab a coffee.

Interestingly, location will be a commodity and will be used in conjunction with other aspects of a user’s ‘context’ to enrich their experiences. Location Based Services (LBS) has become a dirty word for our generation of mobile users for a good reason – historically, ‘location’ has been used a little too simplistically by most mobile apps. The example people give of the holy grail of LBS is always the same – You are walking by a Starbucks, and you get a coupon sent to your phone. Well from what we know, Starbucks doesn’t even have coupons – the occasional unsatisfied customer may get a free drink voucher from the barista to use next time. And even if they did have coupons, if all I got all day from location based apps is marketing material of various kinds, of course I would hate LBS too.

Here is what we believe. Location is one very important component, but only one component of a user’s context. Who the user is, what they like, the time of day, their social graph – these are all important inputs to context as well. The phone has the advantage of always being with you – it knows your location, it can be trained to know whom you are and what you like, including social relationships you enjoy and therefore a perfect device for you to get ‘Context Based Services’. And in some contexts, those coupons we talked about do make sense – like if you want to shop or are looking for a cheap place to eat.
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Reader's comments(8)
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Posted by: mounace love love - Thursday 09th, June 2011
3: Absolutely smart phones, you can always be informed about the offers available around the place you are roaming and also can be connected to the people around. And its up to the user, whether to enable these kind of services or not. Users can register and de-register to the services, at his own will. Nice article :-)
Posted by: Hanok Vijaya Vardhan Neethipudi - Thursday 03rd, December 2009
4: deliberately annoy
Posted by: Jayakumar RB - Wednesday 23rd, September 2009
5: sir, that we must think first about what's customers interest r
Posted by: abhishek kumar gaurkhede - Thursday 10th, September 2009
6: On the one hand, if used keeping in mind the interest of the customer (read, not the marketing), location / context based services can be of great benefit. On the other hand, user experience may not be great if inundated with lot of marketing coupons.
Posted by: Guru gbk - Thursday 10th, September 2009
7: Yes as you said phones should be smart. Informative article
Posted by: Savita Y Naganagoudar - Tuesday 08th, September 2009
8: Nice article. In a way, it was thought provoking too.
Posted by: Sumanth Cheedella - Monday 07th, September 2009
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