The Next Big Thing
Posts about next generation technologies and their effect on business.

Context recognition as a service

gossip.pngI was in a discussion the other day as part of the ISSIP Service Futures meeting where we were discussing context-based computing and its impact on services. One of the concepts that fell out of that discussion was the need for ‘context flow’. This might be a new type (or at least a new use) of middleware to share a common understanding of the context of the user or the application portfolio.


Why should all the applications have their own context recognition capabilities? Couldn’t they rely on a common engine for at least a basic understanding of what is going on?? Answering questions like:

  • Where is the user? And why?
  • Is this a busy day?
  • Are they traveling?

Applications could subscribe to this contextual advisor function and change their behavior – treating the user in custom ways to fit the situation they are currently in. I can see all kinds of gamification and augmented reality implications.


There could be a standard range of contextual states that the entire environment could take advantage of. Maybe this already exists, but I’ve not seen it.

Kimmo Karhu | ‎03-17-2014 02:19 PM

Hei Charlie,


This definitely makes sense. We are partly working on this kind of solution in our contextlogger3 project. Our idea is to use Google's activity recognition (stationary/cycling/walking/vehicle) that is available in Android devices and intelligently use this and data collected from various sensors in the device to derive different kind of everyday contexts. This data could be further developed and blended with contextual data from apps such as Moves and Foursquare (through their APIs).


I fully agree with your idea of common middleware/engine for context recognition. One of the ideas that we have been pondering is that Android's content provider mechanisms could be used to share and publish the recognized contexts to the other apps running in the device. Content provider architecture is a generic Android mechanism (kind of "local restful api") to share information and resources in the device. For example, it is used for programmatically accessing the contacts in the device, so why not the contexts as well.


I put here some links if you are interested:

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