Feeds

Intel contextual awareness: 'We know what your wife is up to'

Knows when its best to call, text, or just leave her alone

The Power of One Infographic

IDF 2012 Intel Labs is working on a technology that uses what it calls "contextual awareness" to advise you of the best method to use when contacting others.

"I want to call my wife or text my wife during the workday," Intel research engineer Philip Muse told The Reg during a pre-show technology showcase on Monday at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, "but I don't know what she's doing. She's out and about, she's busy, she's doing something – I never know whether I should call her or text her."

Enter contextual awareness. "With this technology, I will now have a picture of what she's doing, and I can make that decision."

The technoloogy takes advantage of what Muse called hard sensors and soft sensors – hard sensors being such built-in capabilities as your mobile device's accelerometer or GPS, and soft sensors being based on event in your calendar, your interaction with applications, or other software-based information.

These sensors share your user state among all your devices – smartphone, PC, whatever – to provide the contextual awareness system with a idea of what you're up to at any given moment. Knowing that, it can advise your friends, family and colleagues the best way to contact you or interact with you – phone calls and texting were the forms of interaction that Muse and Intel Emerging Platforms engineer Sai Prasada demoed at the event.

A phone equipped with contextual awareness technology, for example, will display an icon showing whether the person with whom you want to get in touch is at their desk, walking around, or playing music – it can even listen in to that person's surroundings, should that permission be given. "I know now what's going on at the other end of the phone," Muse said, "before I even place the call or send a text."

Intel Labs' 'contextual awareness' technology running on an Android phone

Intel Labs' contextual awareness technology suggests that right now it'd be best to send Mr. Reina a text message

Contextual awareness as perceived by a desktop or laptop PC focuses, understandably, less on mobility and changing location and more on the software being used on that device and the target person's activity – a "don't bother me" hand icon, for example, will tell you that the person doesn't want to be contacted because they are, say, in a meeting.

Prasada noted that the contextual awareness technology will suggest the best way to contact someone – by text message, for example, if they're in a meeting – although it does allow you to override its suggestions. It also allows you to send that text message to their laptop rather than their phone – which, he noted, might be in their pocket during a meeting, and presumably they might not want the boss to know that they're receiving a message.

Another example: say you want to contact someone who's driving in their car, and you're in a meeting so you can't call them on the phone. You can instead text them, and the contextual awareness technology will sense that the reciptient is in their car, make the connection, and translate the text message to speech over their hands-free car phone using a text-to-speech capability. Similarly, the recipient can speak their response, which will then be translated into text and sent back to you as a text message.

All of these various and sundry activities and notifications can be overriden, and preferences can be set by each user, as well. Presumably, your wife can simply turn the entire system off if she simply doesn't want you to know what she's up to.

Although, of course, when she comes home she might have some 'splaining to do.

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
Oh girl, you jus' didn't: Level 3 slaps Verizon in Netflix throttle blowup
Just hook us up to more 10Gbps ports, backbone biz yells in tit-for-tat spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.