People have relied on "primitive" forms of automation for decades. Setting an alarm clock, programming a coffee maker – these once game-changing devices have now become rote, a simple component to the daily grind.

And that's actually the best part about automated technology. It can be used to lighten the load for its users by assuming small tasks. Eventually, however, innovation will push this concept far beyond its limits, to a point where computers aren't taking commands and executing orders, but providing valuable information we didn't even know we needed.

According to a recent Gartner study, context-rich systems will be one of the most powerful forces in information technology in the coming years, especially for commercial interests looking to get the most out of their marketing and cybersecurity, though many might not know the first thing about it. Here's a basic overview of context-rich systems and what they're capable of now and tomorrow.

"Context-rich systems apply extrasensory perception to a given platform."

What exactly are context-rich systems?
Though there's much too much to unlock about this far-reaching concept, context-rich systems are essentially a new framework that allows data to be more self-aware.

Think of it like the human body. How many senses do you have? Five, right? Touch, taste, smell, hearing and sight. However, if you were struck by a sudden case of vertigo or had the uncanny feeling you were being watched, which of those senses would be the culprit? The truth is, the number of senses humans possess is actually a hotly contested figure.

But how does this tie into context-rich systems? Because, in a way, this innovation applies extrasensory perception to a given platform – be it a website or an email – beyond what it's commonly endowed with, which can provide the end user with new dimensions of data to analyze.

Context-rich systems open up new avenues for data transfer.Context-rich systems open up new avenues for data transfer.

How has it been used and what is its future?
Presently, context-rich systems have been mostly used for security reasons, adding a supplementary layer of protection to computer networks. For example, a context-rich system can determine geolocational aspects through IP addresses or even analysis involving the time of day to determine the likelihood of a threat. This way, those relying on the network's functionality can more adequately prevent cyberattacks or fraudulent behavior.

But that's just the tip of the iceberg. In time, IT departments can program context-rich systems to assess and transfer all sorts of data between different nodes. Ultimately, this concept could be the saving grace for the Internet of Things by promoting seamless communication between different nodes, passing along data without any substantial "babysitting" on the part of the owner or operator. Moreover, according to Bluespark, context-rich systems can also respond to stimuli and react accordingly in the moment. For instance, if a context-rich traveling website noticed a reader flew to a foreign country, it could automatically push relevant content like "must-see landmarks" lists where the reader is likely to notice them.

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