Context, such as location and business role, will be used to create what Lopez Research defines as Right Time Experiences (RTE). RTEs are enhanced business processes or services that deliver an employee or customer the right information at the moment of need. Right time experiences are built by combining application or process data with contextual data that resides in other internal corporate apps, data in the cloud and accessible device data. It’s important to note that a Right Time Experience can be delivered in an industrial automation context as well. For example, if the temperature in a data center rises above a certain level and the process can also determine the air conditioning is inoperable, the application sends a repair request to the maintenance company.
We’ve discussed context in the past, particularly in areas such as mobile marketing, but “contextual” services have eluded the market for some time. Why is it different now? The world has embraced mobile devices, processing has moved to the cloud, and behavioral trends of social sharing and discovery have matured. Mobile, IOT, and social provide a wealth of contextual information such as:
- Location. What is the location of the user or device? What can we infer from the location (such as home, office, car, shopping mall)? Has the user crossed a geofence, which is a virtual boundary in a real physical geography? Geofencing allows users of the system to draw zones around places of work, customer sites and secure areas. For example, an RTE in construction could link mobile phone locations to timekeeping systems to automatically log when a worker crosses the geofence of a construction site and when he leaves the site. The worker doesn’t have to log his time, and the manager has accurate and up-to the-minute information on time records.
- Device and Presence information. What type of device is the employee or customer is using? What type of capabilities does the device have (keyboard, video, LTE)? What are the latest status messages? What you are doing with your device or if you are switching devices? RTE experiences adapt to the device and quality of the network you are using. Instead of paging a cardiologist to the third floor, a nurse can use mobile unified communications software (linking presence and GPS data to VoIP calling) to determine who is available and if they are nearby.
- Enterprise and consumer social graphs. Big data and social software combine to provide sentiment analysis that can be gathered from pieces of knowledge or insight the user recently shared. Consumer packaged goods companies like Proctor and Gamble are using sentiment analysis derived from social graphs to do everything from create products to improve customer care. B2C companies, such as retailers, will build commerce-related RTEs guided by a customer’s prior behaviors, set preferences, and personas that are crafted from users that are viewed to be similar.
- Motion. Are you moving or stationary? The context of motion can be used to define if and how an experience should proceed. For example, if an employee is in a car, collaboration tools can be set to communicate a message via voice rather than video or text. Or an intelligent connected pill cap, such as those from Vitality, knows when the patient last opened the bottle. This help patients remember to take medications regularly by sending reminder calls and email reports as well as sending updates to the patient’s physician. Using sophisticated pattern recognition, Vitality uncovers the key motivational levers for each individual, and then tailors programs to activate these levers and break through whatever barriers exist. Data generated by GlowCaps can also be used to automatically refill prescriptions as pills deplete.
- An environmental condition. RTEs will be built by collecting new types of data, such as temperature, humidity, light, noise from sensors, and incorporating this data into existing processes. For example, a transportation company can use sensors to monitor the conditions in a truck that is transporting produce. If conditions within the truck change, the sensor can send an alert to the logistics officer and the grocer.
- Internet-accessible real-time data sources. Weather, traffic, flight information and parking spot availability are just a few examples of data that is accessible online today via APIs. Streetline, a sensor-enabled smart parking solution provider, offers a Web-based application that provides real-time and historical parking data to parking managers, enforcement supervisors, policy makers, and city and university leaders. This data can be integrated into other apps to create RTEs or used as a standalone parking app for consumers. For example, a local merchant could integrate this directly into their app to guide customers to available spots near the store and work with the garage owner to offer a parking discount.