The notion of context tech uses analytics to gain an understanding of who, what, where, when and how.
With the prevalence of content, Internet connectivity and ubiquitous computing allow a new level of intelligence for context-aware systems, according to researchers at Gartner. For example, a typical network login might require a user name and password. That's information without context. With context from that user's calendar, the system knows location -- the user is supposed to be in Beijing, for example. To log into the network, the user enters their name and password, but they are attempting to access the network from Seattle. The login raises a security flag. Maybe the user's flight home was cancelled, which changes the context and allows a successful login. Or perhaps the user information was stolen, and a security breach fails thanks to context tech.
The growth of context-aware systems requires new application designs that are also fluid between computing platforms.
"The foundation [of these systems] is still social media and cloud computing, and the means to use these more quickly and effectively," said Jose Ramos Neto Lima, director of operations for Thomson Reuters.
The type of data or services delivered to a user might differ depending on whether they're in a car or using a smartphone or on their desktop. On the back end, data center systems must handle these multiple possible versions of data and services with an eye on security, stability and performance for every contextual offering.