The virtual context of a user is created by the layer of telecommunications technologies and services that connects situational data captured by the mobile device with data, analytics and applications in the cloud. Telemetry from device sensors, location/object beacons, user-generated media and physical motion is uploaded into networks whilst interactive maps, augmented reality visualisations, streaming media and other contextually relevant information is downloaded from networks for display on a user’s mobile device.
Virtual context is a dynamic environment in which a user’s personal cloud of devices, data, preferences, applications and social connections constantly updates and adjusts its behaviour based on its interactions with the physical world plus information and applications accessed from networks.
Making such an experience robust and seamless to the user requires significant network bandwidth. However, raw capacity alone is not sufficient to enable diverse mass-market contextual services. Networks must become flexible enough to not only provide various levels of quality of service, but also handle security and other back-end services such as billing for end users and third-party service providers. For that to occur, communications networks must become more than just large data pipes. They must enable the digital equivalent of smart logistics for telecom and non-telecom service providers for whom the network is the front door to the customer.
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