Planning the Future of Planning
The First Computer Animation

Welcome To The Contextual Age

 [post title loving stolen from Mark Earls's excellent book Welcome to the Creative Age

A while back I got the opportunity to speak at NXNEi in Toronto.

[It was awesome, I heartily recommend it, like SXSW, except..before it got big I guess.]

They filmed this little clip for Strategy Magazine in Canada. My talk had been about proximty, because things that are near you are more important to you, in lots of ways. 

My thought above was that context is super important, both psychologically and technologically, and that finding useful, interesting ways to understand and leverage it is an opportunity and a responsibility for brands.

Psychologically, it's becoming increasingly clear that contextual elements beneath our conscious awareness have dramatic effects on purchasing decisions. We spend a lot timing thinking about people and what makes them tick, but who you are is only part of it, where and when and what are important to.

Who you are provides aspects of contexts, what you have done before, what you seem to like. Then circumstances activates that context with another layer - most people do most things because they are convenient. Impulse drives far more of our behaviour than our conscious mind leads us to believe. 

Technologically, we are leaving a data exhaust that can interact with itself and the world, and that eventually it might be able to predict purchases before we consciously know about deciding to buy them

As is often the case I'm waxing futurological, I'm not exactly sure what I'm talking about will look like until I see it.

Then, my mate Chris sent me this, and I saw it.

Or at least some future echoes of it.

It's called Gimbal.

Qualcomm announced it yesterday. It's a new context awareness platform for iOS and Android. A mobile SDK designed for the contextual age.

Scoble covers it here with undisguised glee

This video explains how they see it - connecting all the ways your phone understands you together, giving it some weak intelligence, and letting it interact with the world around it to infer context, and how that might be useful. 

Welcome to the Contextual Age.