Anticipatory computing – the path to the near future

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Technological advancement dedicated to the best user experience is the dream that many software development and tech research companies pursue. This dream raises huge challenges and many questions, but probably the most frequently recurrent question is “How can a computer or device anticipate the users’ needs without driving them crazy?”

Anticipatory computing could, for example, help you when you’re attending a scheduled meeting by setting your phone on silent, or it could enable your smartphone to launch your preferred taxi app when you walk out of a pub.

The concept of anticipatory computing is not new, but it will surely become the core component for most systems, because your smartphone wouldn’t be able to automatically do things for you, based on your behavior, without having to go through numerous pages of apps to find needed applications, tap, swipe, take multiple steps within the app, to finally access the relevant information.

Today we can expect the unexpected because the data is available from everywhere. All the sensors being built into your smartphone allows the device to know the music you are listening to, any upcoming events you want to attend, places where you have been, online shopping habits or what kind of movies you like. There is more than enough information for smart devices to predict our needs.

Let’s assume that you’re entering a conference with an important client and need to avoid distractions, but at the same time you have to respond to an email. In that case each action may be more or less probable based on current context. Each smart device user touches his home screen between 100 and 150 time a day, so the perfect place to be able to deliver relevant information is the home screen, in that way predicting what users want to do next without being interrupted by a push notification.

The way we access information is going to be forever changed as the next type of systems will be built with anticipatory computing at the heart of their design. The way we are going to search for information will be completely transformed: for example, just imagine finding what you need to know without having to type.

To sum up, we can say that the smart devices’ industry’s main objective is to connect users with the right information every time they interact with their phones and at the same time to deliver devices and software that are easy to use, simple and straightforward.

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