Intelligent apps are software applications which make use of real-time and historical data from various sources and user activities to create intelligent suggestions and predictions, delivered to the user in personalized and customized fashion. The future of mobile apps is the product of many worlds colliding: combining rich user experiences with big data analysis, the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence, and when app development meets artificially intelligent software… In fact, the most advanced artificial intelligence mobile software has already been developed by one of the largest players in the industry, namely Apple. This is the company which invented the personal computer and also paved the way for many other technologies, including the iPhone and iPad. Now it looks like they are gearing up to do the same with mobile software. Could it be the dawn of a new mobile era?
The key to smart technology and smart apps is getting it to the right audience, the right place, at the right time – fast. And this is precisely where we see Apple and its partner companies coming to the fore. They have recruited the leading enterprise IT companies to build the foundation for smart mobile apps and to develop specific business applications tailored to suit individual consumers, enterprises, and even larger groups of people. They are investing heavily in research and development of software and hardware that will power and drive smart apps, making significant contributions to the wider global smart mobile ecosystem.
In the not-so-distant past, individual consumers and businesses required purchasing and managing apps on their own, either by purchasing app licenses or signing expensive business deals. Today, this need has largely been replaced by the development of apps which run on the framework of the cellular communications network (i.e., GSM, CDMA, and WLL) and can access real-time information from the Internet. The real-time information is gathered from the various sensors located around an individual’s property, such as doors, windows, and security sensors. This data-driven, intelligent applications can be used by the owner of the property to control functions such as lighting and climate control remotely, as well as to track gas usage and gas meter use.
In addition to controlling the operation of property-based services, intelligent apps can also be used to monitor energy consumption. Rather than spending money on updating the property’s software, a company can invest in a real-time energy usage monitoring app. The app will collect data such as usage level details for HVAC, water, electric, and smoke appliances, as well as total energy consumption over time. With this detailed data, the company can design a more effective energy-conserving program, which could ultimately save the company money by allowing it to better control its operating costs.
In order to take full advantage of smart apps, organizations need to understand both how they work and what makes them run. Smart apps are designed to gather and interpret real-time user behavior. In essence, these apps enable users to interact with the organization in a more intelligent and engaging way. Based on past experience, these apps make decisions about resource allocation based on what the user’s behavior indicates. For instance, a restaurant that offers coupons can learn through past customer behavior which coupons to pass out, as well as which ones to keep and which ones to decline. In addition to analyzing customer behavior, predictive analytics and artificial intelligence technologies help organizations to better understand why specific actions by customers result in high or low satisfaction and customer loyalty.
However, organizations must realize that the use of smart tools like domo and domino may have a negative impact on privacy and freedom of expression. Some of the practices that may be labeled as unethical or even immoral are sometimes necessary in order to operate in a society where personal data is more widely available. In the past, businesses were hesitant to use sophisticated surveillance tools like CCTV cameras or smart devices to track their employees. However, advances in biometric authentication, smart phones with digital cameras and access to data from social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have made it easier for employers to monitor their employees. Also, companies may have to find ways of balancing these tools against privacy policies that restrict the collection of personally-identifiable information.
It’s important to realize that there is a difference between using smart apps that collect data in order to optimize performance and collecting personal data in order to satisfy one’s curiosity or to protect the organization against external threats. Some companies may use smart apps and data-driven processes to build their business, while others may use these tools to provide support services. Companies should work carefully to strike the right balance between the need to know more about a potential client or partner, and the need to be able to use personal information obtained in ways that do not violate the company’s principles or its ethical responsibilities.
In the end, organizations cannot rely solely on intelligent apps to fulfill their needs. There will always be a balance between tactical management of a complex set of processes and intelligence-driven decision making. It would also be a shame if companies abandoned the promise of personalized service and left customers to handle problems themselves. Organizations should, however, look to intelligent apps as a tool for helping them develop a better, more proactive customer relationship.