Contextual experiences: When your world comes to life

You are working from home, concentrating hard on that critical deliverable. You’ve disabled screen alerts to get into the zone and somehow, time goes somewhere into your subconscious, and without warning you are late for an important meeting! You know you’ve been there. We’ve all been there!

Beyond basic alerting systems — such as a smart lamp on your desk that flashes red 5 minutes before meetings should start — people are looking at ways to identify ways to maintain the flow and improve productivity at an individual and enterprise level.

Services like Zapier and If This Then That allow users to generate integration between personal and enterprise systems. I can configure systems to warm my home when I get within a certain distance of it, get alerted to an important message on my car dashboard, automate the flow of data between knowledge systems — all from a few clicks in a Web or mobile app. The user is at the center of  defining these workflows and can open integration between systems as he or she sees fit.

Enterprises can also join this revolution by enabling APIs to securely open data from enterprise systems to workflow systems like IFTTT or Zapier. At the same time, new enterprise workflow systems are emerging that allow integration between business intelligence tools, databases and productivity tools (one example is Microsoft Flow). The enterprise remains in control through the API and can define appropriate security policies and cyber protection before opening APIs.


The combination of data from public, personal and enterprise levels brings new value to individuals. Analytics and machine learning will allow information to be promoted to the user, enabling a more productive user experience. This is already happening with corporate productivity tools like Office 365 with Delve Analytics.

The data within the productivity system can map our network, activities and schedule. Applying intelligence and analytics, content is promoted; designing collateral is streamlined; and content is created automatically. Thus, knowledge workers can increasingly focus on the value of their work, spending less time self-prioritising, finding and collating basic content.

Combining user-enabled workflows and promoted content in an intelligent, contextual experience is now a possibility with the devices we use. There isn’t a sudden switch, but a gradual improvement in features and capability. Between now and 2020 these experiences will evolve and touch every enterprise and their workers.


Stu Downes is a Distinguished Engineer in DXC’s Workplace & Mobility offering group. Stu’s role working with product management, industry analysts, key clients and partners gives him a unique view of market trends and client needs. Stu has held a number of roles delivering, designing and leading solutions and products that make people more productive and businesses more effective. He is now shaping workplace products that enable the hyper-productive digital workplace.




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  1. Peter K Rininsland says:

    great post. Thx. What I’m not getting is why companies like Synology are not providing something like IFTTT on their platforms. Since leaving your access data for some systems with IFTTT is not something everybody would be willing. It would perfectly fit to the Business model of NAS Providers to offer something where access data can be kept private.


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