Allowing a mobile device to recognize environmental elements can truly make an application dynamic. Because consumers live and breathe by their mobile devices, having environment-awareness available in mobile devices keeps users on their toes and engaged in their environment. This concept is called geofencing, also known as context awareness.
Awareness of their physical environment for mobile applications brings more depth and attractiveness to an application’s user experience or UX. It engages the user by sending individually tailored data to their phone based on their geographical location. This plays a critical role in executing in-app mobile marketing and mobile app retargeting campaigns.
“Context awareness is a property used in mobile devices to identify where the user is using an application and how that might affect what the user is doing,” – Matt Carver at Bigspaceship.
“In a context-aware environment, wireless devices such as environmental sensors, radio frequency identification tags, and smartphones send location, presence and other status information across the network. Specialized software captures, stores and analyzes the data, sending it back over the network to provide context to the end device as needed,” – Computer World. Having a mobile device react to its environment and offer advertising suggestions in terms of retail therapy or even a coffee shop facilitates the needs of each user.
Goals of context awareness
“The ultimate goal of a context-aware system is for the system to arrive at a representation of the surrounding world that is close to the perception of the user,” – Interaction Design Foundation.
The layering of data allows the use of time of day and GPS coordinates to create a customized, ever-changing source of space and time relevant content for the consumer. They might provide breakfast suggestions in the morning, clothing suggestions relevant to elevation and weather, and locations for cocktails in the evening.
Geofencing is the ability for a mobile device to pinpoint the context of the user’s geographical location. “Context-aware applications look at the who’s, where’s, when’s and what’s (that is, what the user is doing) of entities and use this information to determine why the situation is occurring,” – GA Tech.
Challenges of context awareness
Mobile devices allow consumers to always be connected to the world around them. These connections can have difficulties. Computer World sheds light on challenges involving context awareness. One challenge of context awareness is privacy issues. Because context awareness uses data from the mobile device as well as environmental data, data breaches can occur. Being able to balance the security risks against the rewards is something that will be answered in time.
Geofencing is an interesting feature for mobile devices and applications. This functionality advances the capabilities of the smartphone for the specific user’s advantage. By having a more dynamic experience with your mobile device, it is no wonder that consumers fill every moment of the day looking at their phone. Advertisers and marketers will continue to take advantage of this desire for customized content and hyper focus audience targeting.