Published: 10 March 1999
Analyst(s): Jackie Fenn, Audrey Apfel, Lou Latham, Tom Austin, Jay E. Pultz, W. Roy Schulte
Management Summary Change is endemic to the IT environment. IT planners barely have time to come to terms with one "new paradigm" before the next one arrives. Each brings new opportunities, but also new challenges as well. This Strategic Analysis Report examines upcoming changes that will transform the IT industry and related business practices. Section 1 identifies some specific technology and organizational developments between 1998 and 2008, including: o High-resolution, flat-screen displays o Speech dialogues o Automatic platform adjustment and follow-me profiles o Wireless LANs and wide-area networks (WANs) o "Instant-on" home devices o Home interactive information services These changes will lead to two new eras of computing after network computing: the era of contextual computing, where devices and interfaces are specialized according to the context of the user's activities; and the era of spontaneous computing, where wireless transmissions allow real-time mobile interaction with people and data. o The era of contextual computing: The era of contextual computing will begin around 2002 and will be characterized by a proliferation of devices in the home, office, car and on the person, with different functions and interfaces optimized for their physical and logical context (e.g., home, car, office, meeting). The benefit of contextual computing will be that users find continuity between tasks and activities as they move between locations and contexts. Just as the Internet has brought unprecedented access to information via the home or corporate desktop, contextual computing will extend the reach of the digital world to a much broader range of access points. New home interactivity will provide more consumers with access to interactive services and fully realize the potential of the Internet to provide targeted information directly to the point where the user needs it. The major challenge for contextual computing will be the range and...
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