Smartphones will soon be able to predict a consumer's next move and his or her next purchase, as well as interpret actions based on what it knows about the user's habits and daily routines, according to a report from IT research firm Gartner.
What smartphones can do through apps has improved and broadened thanks to the personal cloud, as this insight will be based on an individual's data gathered using cognizant computing.
"Smartphones are becoming smarter, and will be smarter than you by 2017," Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner, said in a statement. "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. The smartphone will gather contextual information from its calendar, its sensors, the user's location and personal data."
The report predicts that the first services to be performed automatically will generally help with menial tasks, or time-consuming and time-wasting ones, such as time-bound events such as booking a car for its yearly service, creating a weekly to-do list, sending birthday greetings or responding to mundane email messages.
"Mobile phones have turned into smartphones thanks to two things: technology and apps," Milanesi said. "Technology has added features such as cameras, locations and sensors, while apps have connected those to an array of functions that, for the most part, add and improve our day to day life from a social, knowledge, entertainment and productivity point of view."
By 2017, mobile phones will be smarter than people not because of an intrinsic intelligence, but because the cloud and the data stored in the cloud will provide them with the computational ability to make sense of the information they have so they appear smart, the report said.
However, the report noted regulatory and privacy issues, as well as the level of comfort users will have in sharing this information, will differ considerably across age groups and geographies.
"Phones will become our secret digital agent, but only if we are willing to provide the information they require," Milanesi said.
Gradually, as confidence in the outsourcing of more menial tasks to the smartphone increases, consumers are expected to become accustomed to allowing a greater array of apps and services to take control of other aspects of their lives, and thus we enter into the era of cognizant computing.