phonetodoHi, my name is Cleve and I regularly expect too much of my phone.

When I’m traveling and my wife wants my itinerary, I many times have started to send it to her. But as soon as I unlock my phone and open my email to forward the details, I see a message marked URGENT and my priorities change. A few fires later, my wife’s request is long gone from my to-do list even though it never actually got checked off.

Never underestimate the power of distraction.

Well, family, friends, and co-workers, there is good news ahead! My phone is on its way to becoming more intelligent.

Continuing their Sharks vs. Jets West Side Story dance number, Google and Apple both made large announcements recently centered on features designed to make mobile devices context-aware – precision, seamlessness, and convenience.

  • Android’s introduction of Google Nearby is aimed at letting other people, places and things know when you’re around. Making your phone act like a beacon that shouts “HERE I AM” will not only let you know who, what and where is around you but will let your friends know it as well. With automatic features such as turning on your microphone, it may be able to share with your nearby friend that you’re at the Neon Trees concert at the Pier while they’re stuck at home eating delivery pizza. How precise.
  • Apple’s iOS 8 introduced many new features but a couple directly address context-aware capabilities: Continuity and Homekit.
    • With Continuity, something you’re working on with one device can be instantly updated on another device when you pick it up. On the run? The doc you had up on your Mac is immediately available on your iPad. How seamless.
    • We knew something like Homekit was sure to come with the copious amount of Internet of Things talk being thrown around. In a nutshell, Homekit is the one place stop for all the devices in your home that you can run off an app. How convenient.

Here at AirPatrol HQ we’re working on technologies that complement those companies’ innovations by going a step further and adding some cognitive smarts to the device so my phone knows what I need to do when I’m somewhere and does it for me (or doesn’t do it — I definitely don’t want my phone blabbing to all the close by folks in my contact list that I’m at the Neon Trees concert down the street). With the growing number and sophistication of proximity tools and location-based services, I think the dream will soon be a reality. Then I’ll be free to get distracted and my phone will still take care of my Honey-do list.