Gartner Heralds The Maturing Of Cognisant Computing

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Chunky wristwatches never caught on but subtle cognisant devices could link us into a personal connected cloud

Consumers are increasingly relying on personal cloud-enabled devices, marking a new age of “cognisant computing”, according to Gartner. The research firm said the trend would drive forward innovation in sensor-enabled devices, such as wristwatches, key fobs, thermostats and shoes, which in turn would create a boom in services and applications.

In its Market Insight report Consumer Apps and Services Will Become More Aware and Less Visible, Gartner admitted that cognisant computing was not a new concept but the natural evolution of a world driven by collections of applications and services that extend across multiple platforms and exist outside the realm of connected screens, such as phones, tablets, PCs or televisions.

Connected systems

Michael Gartenberg, research director at Gartner, said, “Cognisant computing evolves the connected device and personal cloud service into an activity of seamless and frictionless integration connected to sensor-driven ‘invisible’ devices that are optimised for a particular set of functions. This data and information can then be tied to other services across larger ecosystems, platforms and operating systems.”

The report points out that smart watches and other cognisant technologies have, for the most part, failed to gain any traction with the consumer due to an emphasis on technology over form, high costs with little perceived value, and the need for them to exist as standalone products and services that did not, and could not, tie into a personal network, larger ecosystem or platform.

According to the report’s co-author, research director Jessica Ekholm, this growth in cognisant computing would provide opportunities for growth in personal cloud services and applications.

“In practice, consumers will forget the devices are being carried, worn or used until they need to interact with them for control, or to obtain feedback in terms of data or information,” she said.

Gartenberg asserts that personal cloud services and ecosystems are now the centre of the digital consumer experience. The cognisant devices from which they are formed will combine with increasingly ubiquitous connections to offer new opportunities to drive new device adoption, grow personal cloud services and act as a tipping point for consumer platform adoption.

“As new digital devices decrease in size, tie into existing applications – such as home automation and personal fitness – and increase in perceived user functionality as well as overall form, we will see an increase of multiple devices throughout the home and person that will trend into the invisible space,” he said.

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