Recently I have been seeing the word “ambient” used a lot to describe “context”; a good example is Alohar Mobile and its Mobile Ambient Analytics Platform. Alohar Mobile are also the makers of Placeme.

Is Ambient the new Context?

It is not. Context is more than just ambient information; ambient information is a subset of Context:

  • ambient: “of the surrounding area or environment”
  • context: “the set of circumstances or facts that surround a particular event, situation, etc.”

The following illustrates the elements of the mobile context:

The Mobile Context, May 2012

Read more about the mobile context — see the original The Mobile Context blog.

Ambient information is about sensory information while context is much more complex. Context is about the (set of) information related to a given user-event-in-time. It is the intersection or overlap of the different sets/elements above, at any given point in time, as it relates to a given event (search, browse, gift, purchase) for a given user.

Those who are able to truly capture, analyze and understand Context, are the ones who will be able to bring true meaning to (and reap the benefit$ from) Mobile.