IE 11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

Is Your Smartphone Smarter Than You?

Cognizant computing gathers clues from contextual data and takes action accordingly, such as waking a user up early in the event of heavy traffic en route to their first calendared meeting.

According to Gartner, your smartphone will soon be smarter than you. This consensus was reached last week at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2013 in Barcelona, where analysts came together to discuss the future of smart devices.

Smartphones will soon have enough predictive power to forecast the next purchase a consumer will make, as well as analyze user actions using available data. The growing intelligence of consumer smartphones is fueled by cognizant computing -- what Gartner calls the next big step in personal cloud computing.

The Four Phases of Cognizant Computing

Sync Me: Store copies of my digital assets and keep it in sync across all end points and contexts.

See Me: Know where I am (and have been) on the Internet and in the real world. Understand my mood and context to better align services.

Know Me: Understand what I want and need and proactively present it to me.

Be Me: Act on my behalf based on learned or explicit rules.

Source: Gartner

Using contextual data from a user's phone, the device will draw conclusions and take action in the user's interest. “If there is heavy traffic, it will wake you up early for a meeting with your boss, or simply send an apology if it is a meeting with your colleague,” said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner, adding that the contextual information the phone will draw from includes the calendar, sensors, user location and other personal data.

The first services to be performed automatically, according to Gartner, will be menial or mundane tasks, especially those that are also time-consuming, like sending birthday greetings or making a weekly to-do list. Eventually, experts believe that consumers will become more comfortable allowing their smartphone to handle such tasks, and will begin to allow a greater array of apps to take control of certain aspects of their lives.
Noelle Knell is the executive editor for e.Republic, responsible for setting the overall direction for e.Republic’s editorial platforms, including Government Technology, Governing, Industry Insider, Emergency Management and the Center for Digital Education. She has been with e.Republic since 2011, and has decades of writing, editing and leadership experience. A California native, Noelle has worked in both state and local government, and is a graduate of the University of California, Davis, with majors in political science and American history.