Nokia this week released a mobile phone application that perhaps paves the way for other ‘Sentient Computing” applications. Sentient Computing uses location as the underlying framework to deliver user centric applications – the key here is that location information is implicit not explicit as in traditional LBS applications (there are no maps !!!).
Sentient Computing applications tend to work is personal space rather than the larger areas that LBS might work, so if your LBS application works over a number of city blocks the sentient app works within a building or a room.
Nokia’s application “sensor” is a “friend finder” which uses local bluetooth networks to allow users mobile’s to communicate to each other without direct user input, allowing your phone to send messages on your behalf to other phone users which meet criteria you set.
The requirements for data to power these applications is also clearly different to LBS, but no less important – early applications such as Sensor are restricted by not having geodata available to them – for example you might want to automatically turn off the application when you are at the office or on the train, but have it switch on when you are in a restaurant or club.
Sentient computing applications I believe will be far bigger a deal than LBS simply because of their ease of use, but their requirements for geodata means a whole new ball game.
Written and submitted from home, using my home 802.11 network.