By Faisal Kawoosa
The mode of communication changed altogether with the arrival of mobile phones in our lives. It got wider and more meaningful once the world was exposed to smartphones.
However, changing technology parameters and fundamentals are calling for yet another disruption in the communication space -- this time with Intelligent Phones.
Smart is not necessarily intelligent but intelligent is always smart. By this definition, today's smartphones are not necessarily intelligent devices.
Here is why:
A smartphone lets us do myriad of things in ways that bring efficiency, effectiveness and productivity in our lives -- such as workplace communication.
With smartphones, we have been able to not only manage e-mails promptly but also connect seamlessly with people and friends on real-time platforms like WhatsApp that are more informal but quick and effective means to make critical decisions in a highly-competitive world.
Now, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is set to play an integral role in making the smartphones of the future.
Algorithm-based intelligence has already begun to percolate in premium smartphones. As adoption and usage evolve, AI will soon become a rudimentary thing in smartphones.
However, the present approach is about finding areas where AI has usage as stand-alone technology and for convenience, integrating it with smartphones makes it user-friendly. This, however, is not going to make the smartphone intelligent; it will only make them super or extra-smart -- capable of doing more things.
An Intelligent Phone, however, is one which will have "thinking" capabilities and decide the next course based on the user's preferences and priorities.
For instance, we now have several advanced capabilities in smartphones -- but there are manual interventions that we, as users, have to apply, like enabling and disabling network capabilities. Why shouldn't the smartphone be intelligent enough to decide which network capability to enable or disable based on usage?
Right now, if Wi-Fi is enabled, the cellular data goes into hibernation. Why can't the phone decide which one to use based on several criteria like cost of data, application being used, type of data being accessed and so on?
If a user gets into a car, the smartphone should be intelligent enough to decipher through AI and connect to the audio system via Bluetooth. Similarly, the airplane mode should be enabled while someone is airborne.
All these may sound too basic as capabilities. These will not only bring comfort for the user but also have implications on battery consumption as well as in ensuring that there are no "loopholes" enabled which may not be in use in the device.
Smartphones have focused primarily on the applications and features they can support. It has not evolved to communicate better with the user as per his or her preferences and priorities.
One hindrance was the evolutionary phase of AI; but since AI has now become a reality, the device should add intelligence and move beyond applications and functionality. As the smartphone industry looks for innovation in a market that is near its saturation point, the Intelligent Phone could be a saviour for the industry. It could rejuvenate consumer interest and, hence, the market itself.
(Faisal Kawoosa is the General Manager-Research & Consulting with CyberMedia Research [CMR]. His core areas of research include Telecommunications and ESDM. The views expressed here are personal. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)