If you've played around with Tridion 2013 SP1 you might have seen something new on the installer:
What is context? Well, to put it bluntly, Context is Everything, especially in the context of Customer Experience Management.
"To create a perfect experience - we must understand why you are here - we achieve this by understanding who you are and the current context…"After a few iterations, we decided to focus on the following 4 aspects of Context:
- Device used
- Time spans
- Geo Location
- Visitor characteristics (explicit or implicit profile)
Time spans are easy to control and calculate too... though what those time spans are really depends on the nature of your business. In some business areas, time spans can be as wide as a whole season, while in others the actual time of day could be the most important time span.
Geo-Location is not black magic either, and we offer both ways to do it via Server-Side IP geo-location, or integrating client-side HTML5 geo-location into your Ambient Data set.
Fourth, and definitely the biggest aspect, is management of the user profile. And this is where the "Context Expressions" you see in the new installer come into play. As you might know, SDL acquired Alterian early in 2012, and one of the many parts we acquired was this product called "CMA" (Customer Management and Analytics) which can analyze massive amounts of data you gathered about your customers, irrelevant of their source - POS, website, newsletters - and allow you to create segments from that data.
With the Context Expressions extension we allow you to save the segment definition into Tridion as an Expression (could be something as simple as "customer.state='NY'", or more complex like "customer.country='NL' and device.mobile=true and customer.ownsproduct=true), and you can link this expression to any component presentation - the content will only display if the expression is true. The mixing and matching of these context variables allow editors to create content that maps specifically to a specific context, and gives you lots of power in targeting... or contextualizing your site's content and presentation.
Obviously, given that the Context Engine runs on top of the Ambient Data Framework, all this information is also available to other tools, like Fredhopper/SmartTarget.
More info about the SDL Tridion Context Engine: