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How mobile solutions will “help humans” in the future

mikeshaw747 ‎04-04-2013 01:25 AM - edited ‎09-02-2013 07:44 AM

helping humans.jpg

(Picture : UK Department for International Development)


We have just published our “Mobility 20/20” chapter, the latest in a series of e-books in our crowd-sourced vision of the world in 2020.


Key theme : "Engaging Experiences that Help Humans"

One of the key themes of this chapter is the idea that, in 2020, mobile solutions will create “engaging experiences that help humans”.  “Engaging experiences” means that the user interface is something that humans enjoy using, something that brings them back time after time.


“Helping humans” is about doing more than simply providing information to them. Jeff Edlund, a Chief Technologist at HP, was interviewed for our Mobile 2020 chapter. In his interview, he said that mobile solutions of 2020 would be like “having a personal avatar”. I like that analogy.


How will technology "help humans"?

Let’s “double click” on this “helping humans” idea and see how this will be achieved.  I think it breaks down into three things …


1: Understanding the habits of the human

How does this human normally shop? How do they normally drive? How do they normally search for information?


2: Understanding the preferences of the human

This is derived from a combination of their previous habits, but also from what the human tells us.


If we take Jeff Edlund’s personal avatar idea, we can think of the preference engine as an amazing personal assistant. A personal assistant who knows how we like to shop, how much notification we like to receive of upcoming events, how we like to travel, and so on.


The “preference engine” will be something we will want to keep with us for life. Just like successful executives often take their personal assistants with them, we will want to take our preference engine with us when we change mobile device or mobile solution provider, because there is no way we would want to “re-program” the engine’s knowledge on our preferences.


3: Current State and Desires

Where is the human now? What is their mental state? What are they looking at? What are they pointing at? How fast are they going around the store (i.e. are they in a hurry, or are they browsing peacefully)? How are they driving now? Are the kids screaming in the back? Are they in the mood for a serious workout, or just some light exercise?


I believe we see more and more sensors on our mobile devices. These sensors will give the mobile solutions the current state and desires of the human.


Each person's mobile experience will therefore be unique

This habit, preference, current state and current desires information will then be used to create a unique mobile experience for the human – helping the human with an engaging experience.


This therefore means that the experience I get from my mobile solution will be different, possibly profoundly different, to the experience anyone else might get.


The key to "helping humans" is data analysis - lots of it

How will all this information about the human be created? Almost certainly not on the mobile phone.


I believe that the heart of the “helping humans” experience will be the storage and analysis of huge amounts of data


  • Sensor data from mobile devices
  • Sentiment data from social media interactions the human has
  • Data from the transactions the human takes part in, much of which is often thrown away today

Focus will move from the mobile operating system to the data the feeds the mobile device

Right now, everyone is focused on the mobile devices themselves. But in time, the functions within a mobile operating system will start to stabilize. And what people will realize is that it’s the quality of the storage and analysis of the data regarding us humans that starts to really add value. 


Author : Mike Shaw

About the Author


Mike has been with HP for 30 years. Half of that time was in R&D, mainly as an architect. The other 15 years has been spent in product management, product marketing, and now, solution marketing. .

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