phonetableThis past week is momentous each year for many reasons: Thanksgiving, travel woes, Black Friday sales, and Cyber Monday sales. However, some big name stores such as Nordstrom, TJ Maxx, and Barnes and Noble cancelled the Thanksgiving shopping tradition and closed on what used to be one of the biggest shopping days of the year; others such as REI took it a step further and were not only closed on Thursday, but also Friday.

You might be asking why this something I have found worthy of blogging about; after all, on the surface, it has nothing to do with technology.

These closures are important because they reflect a changing culture and, one could argue, that we’re trying to get back to some core values such as the importance of family. Culture shapes what is purchased and what is used, as well as what is created, as innovation must morph to match desires.

Again, what’s the technology aspect?

It’s huge.

The change of shopping habits in favor of spending more time with family for both store employees and customers has to reflect a growing opinion, and represent a message retail stores want to convey as part of their image. Shopping on Thanksgiving used to come first, sometimes at 5am, and family time would be scheduled around it. However, this shows a change of prioritization.

This is going to dictate technology evolution, especially context-aware mobile. In a speech I gave last month at GoMobile, I discussed how the key to successful and highly adopted mobile comes in the ability for it to be seamless. Enough people this year said it wasn’t fair for work or shopping to INTERRUPT their holidays so some stores said, “We hear you!” and didn’t open that day. We’re going to see this spread into how people use technology.

The mobile technology that works seamlessly in the background is going to succeed because it doesn’t make the user stop what they’re doing. The users that can continue to live their life and have their device work for them without their constant consent are going to be most satisfied and keep using that technology. Truly SMART devices can’t just be fast and connected, but they need to be context-aware.

The Internet of Things continues to grow in size each day and has a flavor of context-aware to it, but don’t forget quality is better than quantity. We may have 20 billion devices in the IoT, but we only use the ones we like.