Context-Aware Apps: How to Super Charge Your Customer Engagement

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Understand Context-Awareness

Step One: Understand context-awareness.

A context-aware mobile application is an app that uses context – any information that can be used to characterize the situation of a person or object – to provide information and services relevant to the task. "Context" is any relevant data or information that may influence user engagement with the application and their subsequent behavior. An application is "context-aware" whenever context  – whether implicit (sensor data, user profile or historic behavior) or explicit (entered/chosen preference) – is used to improve the user's experience, resulting in increased engagement and a change in behavior.

Developing an application that is used frequently by a specific audience requires a rigorous design and development process. This includes defining the app's goals and objectives, determining its features and functionality, designing a user experience that is both engaging and delightful and building the underlying architecture and analytics that will support the functions of the app — even before writing the first line of code.

Mobile devices are arguably the best way to deliver messages at the right time and place given their always-on nature. So, when building a mobile app with the goal of being useful and engaging, making it a context-aware app is ideal.

Context-aware applications, or CAAs, are the next generation of intelligent mobile applications. When allowed by their users, these apps use contextual data: from historical information about the user's demographics and behavior profiles to data about the current surroundings obtained through the smartphone's microphones, accelerometers, gyroscope, cameras and other sensors. Combining these inputs with the current time and location via GPS, CAAs paint a picture about the user's immediate context, and use the information to deliver tailored experiences in the form of timely, relevant and appropriate information, notifications and/or functionality. As compared to other apps, CAAs sustain a user's attention and are more effective at influencing or changing behavior.

But where do you start? In this slideshow, Gary Rozal, Ph.D., vice president, Analytics at Mobiquity, has identified five steps for developing the next evolution of mobile apps.


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