Personalization has been a buzz word primarily among web technologists. Creating personalized user experience for different individuals has been the underlying idea of personalization. Identityis the most frequently used personalization parameter. Typically a webpage displays adverts depending upon the predictions of recommendation engines. These systems work on user’s browsing or buying history, search history, and match his personal settings for predictions. The ever-changing user preferences do not necessarily fit into this pattern and hence would be deemed as incomplete without determining the user’s current context.
Let us consider an example of a message, which is pertaining to a discount offer of your favorite retail brand. This message delivered to your mobile phone during an important meeting at peak office hours is highly unlikely to incite you to actual purchase. Whereas the same message being delivered on the weekend when you are in the close proximity of an outlet, would have a greater impact and higher probability of leading to an actual purchase. So the messaging engine would be more effective if the user’s current context is known so that the final decision could be taken accordingly to yield more lucrative results for the advertisers.
Developing a context aware environment is the crux as far as the transition from personalized to a hyper personalized world is concerned.
The two major trends, which are contributing factors for building a hyper personalized environment, are as follows:
- Openness: User’s willingness to share personal information with the applications, for the personalized user experience the applications would be able to deliver.
- Ubiquity: Improved hardware capabilities of everyday use devices have helped the ability of associated applications pre-determine the user’s current context easily.
These trends have been accelerated by advent of online social networking platforms and rapid adoption of hardware innovation in the mobile front.
Mark Zukerberg claims that online openness is set to be the next social norm. This is strengthened by the following facts:
- More than 50% users of mobile phones are willing to share their current locations to get more relevant location-based advertisements and offers.
- As per Nokia Siemens Networks Privacy Survey, 40% of respondents agreed to exchange personal data for targeted services.
The above statistics clearly reveal that the customers are willing to take the risk of sharing personal information provided that they see an improved user experience. Security features in social networking sites are increasingly reducing the trade-off between privacy and convenience.Standardization in information sharing (The development of activity streams format, a format for syndicating social activities around the web) is being adopted by the mainstream players and is one of the steps taken by them to address privacy concerns. As the latest reports suggest, user concerns over Privacy are yet to be completely addressed by the device manufacturers and platform providers. One of such latest reports indicates that the users are concerned over location data being transmitted to Apple and Google from their mobile phones. It has caused uproar not only among the users of the mobile devices, but also among the Telecom regulatory authorities.
As predicted two decades ago by Mark Weiser, computers and sensors are getting truly embedded into real life objects for providing better Human Machine interaction. Be it a Wi-Fi connected Smart Refrigerator or a biometric vending machine, daily-use simple objects are getting packed with more sensors and other devices. Intel’s development of personal computing hardware components would be able to sense user’s identity and emotions and might be able to provide a breakthrough for implementing Context Aware Environment.
As all the future interactions are predicted to be contextual else irrelevant, it is time for the product management professionals to include context awareness as a part of their product road map and hence create a hyper personalized experience to the end users.