What is my context?

Personal Context. It can be used to enhance software interaction with you. Time has been the big one so far. You tend to know when you are fairly cheaply. Time can be used in software fairly reliably – problems are mostly encountered when you personally travel or you communicate with someone in a different time zone.

What else could work as context about you?

  • Email address – identification and contact mechanism. It is distinct, regularly used as a login name, but suffers a little because it changes.
  • Biology (fingerprints, dna, eye scan, heart rate, blood pressure) – identification, state of health, what you are doing (eg brain waves indicating sleep/dreaming).
  • Written signature – identification.
  • GPS – answers the “where am I” question. Could this be the next big thing in Personal Context?

Software that knows where it is. How do I move from here to there? Navigation systems do it and have already been implemented all over the place. Sports watches already use GPS information to provide speed and distance for the runner/cyclist/sailor.

I have a personal interest in building a better to-do list (perhaps by creating some software). How about combining your pda/mobile phone, with GPS, with location and time aware to-do software? Now I can have software that automatically:

  • only shows tasks relevant to work when I am in the office
  • reminds me to buy bread when I walk near the grocery store
  • reminds me to buy a birthday present when it is a week to a friends birthday and I am near a shopping centre
  • reminds me of something that I want to tell a friend when I visit them

What about the actual mobile phone software – I want calls from work to only vibrate the phone when I am at home, but to ring when friends call.

GPS, with its growing and cheaper hardware base, looks very interesting in combination with software that can make use of my personal context.

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