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Context awareness -- the next step in mobile advertising

By David Neumann

As mobile devices become more sophisticated by incorporating emerging technologies, so must our creativity when using these technologies for mobile advertising.

Beyond the current mobile technologies of location targeting, mobile applications, SMS and mobile searching comes a growing technology generally referred to as context awareness. This technology has yet to be tapped by the advertising world for its creative potential.

Context awareness technology uses sensors (MEMS -- Micro- Electro- Mechanical Systems) to make assumptions about the user's physical environment. MEMS can be used to sense motion, pressure, temperature, light, and other environmental changes.

The new Apple iPhone's horizontal/vertical view feature is a great example of this new technology. If the user turns the device from a horizontal position to a vertical one, the sensors understand that the user would like to view the screen in a different position. The display then changes accordingly.

Detecting movement is an obvious benefit of this technology and advergaming can harness this potential.

Imagine combining the technical power of the Wii remote, GPS location-based services and Internet browsing, the advergaming possibilities are endless. But this technology could offer so much more.

One of the key benefits of mobile advertising is the ability to be in the moment and to connect with consumers wherever they are located.

Imagine that you not only have the ability to reach consumers wherever they are, but now you can also understand their surroundings.

Context awareness technology, based on the clues from a consumer's surroundings, can help you deliver your message to your target audience in a much more personalized and valuable way.

For example, is it daytime or night time? Is it hot or cold? Is the consumer moving or standing still? Advertisers are always looking for ways to understand their consumers better, and context awareness has the potential of doing that.

Long gone are the days when the only forms of advertising are print and television.

In today's advertising world, emerging technologies play an increasingly important role in how we deliver our message. Understanding these technologies and their advertising potential will be a key factor to our long-term success.

David Neumann is a freelance emerging technologies specialist with everyone-1, Toronto, Ontario. Reach him at