As part of its key predictions for IT organizations and users in 2010 and beyond, Gartner Research has predicted that mobile Web access will surpass traditional PC access by 2013. Furthermore, while the number of PCs accessing the Web is predicted to be 1.78 billion units in 2013, the combined installed base of smartphones and browser-equipped enhanced phones is expected to exceed 1.82 billion units- surpassing PC access by almost 100 million units.
Gartner also predicts a heavy emphasis on context in terms of mobile consumer services and relationships in the same way search engines have provided the traditional Web. Whereas search provides the “key” to organizing information and services for the Web, context will provide the “key” to delivering hyperpersonalized experiences across not only smartphones, but across any session or experience an end user will have with any piece of information technology, the report suggests.
Context will center on observing various user patterns such as location, presence and social interactions- a sharp contrast from how the traditional Web works in large part today. Where search was based on a “pull” of information from the Web, context-enriched services will “pre-populate” or push information to users instead.
Context-based services are really nothing new- location-based services (LBS) have been around quite some time, for example, but will grow to include a wide variety of services in the very near future. As the shift in how we as consumers access the Web, the entire ecosystem will slowly shift as well, requiring broad changes and ushering in a new wave of innovation and methodology along the way.
A prime example of which is the fact that mobile users are typically prepared to make fewer clicks on a website than PC users, requiring website and content owners to optimize for smaller device screens and reformat content regardless of the fact that mobile devices and browsers are increasingly providing a so-called “full-web” experience.