Despite all the sensors within a mobile device, “context” remains allusive.
The quest to really understand someone’s state of mind vis a vis chips, session management and sensors is noble. But, people aren’t “read” so easily.
Why not just ask them?
At least half the value of a mobile device is it’s use a two-way communication tool. It’s the essence of the medium. But, apps and mobile web generally operate outside of “conversation.”
Our Retail Demo (shopGirl) remains relevant to the ongoing discussion about “mobile context.” It appears to be a simple, very short and quick back/forth conversation with a virtual sales clerk.
But, that clerk then delivers one of five possible mobile coupons based on the User’s “stated interest” at that specific time.
i.e. “in context.”
Passing sensor data through to the virtual agent will increase it’s “intelligence,” but, ultimately, no one can tell you what a mobile user is really thinking, except that mobile user.
Conversation is the fastest path today to determine contextual value for the End User.
It’s also a lot of fun to create.
There are some terrific insights and discussions going on around Mobile Context, these are current favorites:
http://www.cloudfour.com/on-mobile-context/ (including the comment section; great reading)
And this excellent piece on how “personalization” is the key to contextual…