By Greg Lush
Would you describe yourself as a digital survivor? You know, the world has forced you to utilize digital tools such as email and file storage in the cloud. Often you wonder about how things could be better; however, you cannot seem to put your finger on the best approach. Instead, day after day you wrestle with a seemingly bottomless email inbox and a daunting business portal where you are expected to logically store digital collateral.
Long gone are those days when IT set up my computer and pointed me to a shared server drive. Between my brilliantly organized email folders, and the tree of folders on the shared drive, I was good…. Or was I? While I could locate items quickly, most of the time, requests from co-workers continued to rise as the information age seemed to bottleneck on each of us, those “in the know” comfortable on our individual data islands. Is it possible that the hope of personal and corporate “modern computing” have simply choked us in digital exhaust? Information traveling towards us at the speed of light without any context leaving us frustrated and defeated. We must think differently about how we leverage information in the future, if we have any chance of jumping off the hamster wheel. Think about a typical day for a moment, the routines that you go through from when you wake up in the morning to when you finish your day. It is likely that many parts of your digital life are already thinking in a contextual manner. For many of you a strong association between context and applications will exist. What is the traffic like; check the traffic application. How is the weather; pull up the weather. Now, let’s consider an email which may have just arrived in your inbox. This email is from Joe Smith with Smart Computing inquiring about how the job is going at 123 Main Street. Immediately you respond to Joe with whatever information you have rattling around between your ears. Now, you have the best intentions in mind; however, since you have not embraced contextual computing, your perspective is extremely limited. Come to find out that the rest of your team are proficient practitioners of contextual computing and have a collaborative group showing all pertinent information about Joe and the Smart Computing organization. One of the service providers at Joe’s site has inadvertently flooded two floors of the building. Joe’s question “how is the job going?” was asking about the flood; your assumption was the context of his question was about the new equipment installation. If your objective is to prove how disconnected you are with your customers and their concerns, then you NAILED it! Unfortunately, this scenario happens all the time. You may not see it directly, yet the ramifications will eventually be felt as the customers trust wains and your hopes of bring order to this entropy seem to get further away. All it takes is an approach which helps you see that organizing your content in context can be as straightforward as one foot in front of the other. As we dive into this next series of blogs, we’ll explore mechanisms which you may employ today to help you master the next phase of your digital evolution; contextual computing. You are in the cat-birds seat with a strong reputation your community will happily travel with you on this next step of the hierarchy of digital adoption.