According to a recent release from market research firm Gartner where it listed the Top 10 disruptive technologies it believes will reshape between 2008-2012:

  1. Multicore and hybrid processors
  2. Virtualisation and fabric computing
  3. Social networks and social software
  4. Cloud computing and cloud/Web platforms
  5. Web mashups
  6. User Interface
  7. Ubiquitous computing
  8. Contextual computing
  9. Augmented reality
  10. Semantics

Venkatarangan-pictureWhen I see a list like this with overused and often repeated items like Multicore and Social Networking (though both of them are important technologies in the next 5 years), I get a feeling they overshadow the others. If you ask me for one technology that is under-hyped from this list but most important it will be “Contextual Computing“.

I don’t know Gartner’s definition of this term, but when I think of “Contextual Computing” and its possibilities it is mind boggling – sky is definitely the limit with this. Contextual Computing is applicable in both enterprise and in consumer facing applications. Particularly in the consumer space it is all about catering to the basic human emotion of wanting to be listened and get a feeling of being cared for.  Present day examples of this can be seen (roughly) in the Microsoft Office 2007 Ribbon user interface or more clearly in Amazon‘s recommendations feature. Even these two are just scratching the surface. All of today’s software (Internet/Enterprise) applications are mostly designed for doing a single task at a time with the user interface and workflow almost linear, but in real world we are never linear, our thoughts are always in parallel running various tasks each triggered by the context at that time. This is were I feel “Contextual Computing” can make a great impact. For realizing the true potential of this the software development tools and all the other 9 technologies listed above have to evolve greatly. When computer scientists understand how to implement this, only then we will harness the benefits of the digital world to the fullest.

What are your thoughts on this , post your comments here.

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