Let the Internet of Things (IoT) work for your business by leveraging smart devices, sensors, and digital intelligence through ambient computing.
Technology is all about making everyday life easier for humankind. You must already experience convenience at work, home, or shopping when using smart devices like Amazon Echo, Google Nest, etc.
However, Silicon Valley is not going to stop there. IoT developers worldwide are trying to make these devices more accessible, easy to use, and invisible. Here comes ambient computing. A web of computing devices around you, interacting with you and delivering content, but you will not feel surrounded by machines.
If you are in the IT domain, you must know ambient intelligence either to develop solutions or to apply them in your business or life. Read on to learn context-aware computing quickly before your competitors do!
What Is Ambient Computing?
Ambient computing is an application of pervasive computing that introduces smartness to business and living environments. The computing devices around you at home, office or manufacturing facilities get smarter with this technology.
You do not need to manage various devices from different app and hardware interfaces. The smart devices will interact with you proactively since they will become more adaptive, sensitive, and autonomous.
In other words, ambient computing is the ultimate level of personalization of computing for human needs.
Its alternative industry names are as below:
Ambient intelligence (AmI)
At its core, some smart sensors and actuators can understand users’ preferences and presence. The sensors will notify a set of smart devices to perform tasks like adjusting the room temperature automatically when you enter the home.
In a business setup, as soon as a supply truck arrives at the warehouse and starts unloading, the ERP system will start updating the inventory automatically.
You simply walk around the home or office environment and do what you do best. The smart devices will ensure you have access to required apps, content, computing devices, cloud storage, and more. It removes friction between the computer and its users.
How Does Ambient Computing Work?
Ambient Computing is a smart combination of software, databases, high-speed internet network, smart devices, and human or machine users. It works all the time around us through near-field communication and far-field communication between sensors, actuators, and task-executing machines.
Invisible computing is the highest level of computing where motion, wave, radar, thermal, biometric, speed, etc., sensors are always collecting the user data. Then, they are analyzing the collected data through edge analytics and execute tasks that you would like these smart devices to perform.
For example, when you enter a smart meeting room, the AI meeting app automatically authenticates you into the meeting app by scanning your retina or face. The AI also starts delivering related content according to the meeting agenda, and so on.
Here are the components of Ambient intelligence that perform all the invisible tasks:
#1. Machine Learning (ML)
AmI systems need robust ML algorithms so that smart devices can learn from user behavior, preferences, selections, and more. With ML, you do not need to program the system or connected devices.
#2. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI algorithms give AmI systems the power they need to analyze data, read documents, detect images, understand patterns, and more.
#3. Edge Computing
Edge computing and analytics move the processing capabilities closer to the devices that collect data and perform tasks from a central cloud server.
#4. Natural Language Processing (NLP)
NLP helps an ambient computing system to listen to users’ languages, understand their needs, and give a response by lighting a bulb or delivering content.
#5. Wireless Mesh Network
Mesh networks ensure that all the smart devices, sensors, and users are getting continuous internet access within various rooms of an office or home. 5G mobile communication can replace mesh networks in public places.
Features of Ambient Computing
The primary feature of Ambient Computing is seamless computing around your workplace, home, and public places without the headache of manual inputs. You can talk, touch, and wave, and smart devices will know what to do. Some other notable features are as below:
Ambient Computing systems integrate every digital device, network, and application. For example, your customer support agents can get every information they need within the chat and call app without using the knowledge base or CRM.
Ubiquitous computing is all about the minimal presence of computer gadgets, routers, and wires. For example, a home thermostat or Ai meeting devices at the workplace perform their tasks silently. If you do not look for them, probably, you will not find them.
Ambient Computing is about embedding intelligence, data connectivity, conditional programming, and machine learning in one small app or gadget. An Amazon Echo can control various smart devices and apps within your home through embedded functionalities.
Context-aware computing depends on continuous data accessibility from multiple cloud servers. The connected IoT devices are always sharing data amongst themselves.
You can simply touch, make gestures, or speak to control your ambient computing system. Keyboards, mice, screens, etc., will become obsolete.
Minimal User Interface (UI)
Ambient intelligence comes with zero UI. Various sensors can notice your presence and gesture commands.
An Ambient Computing system is so intelligent that it can change its behavior depending on the environment and context. For example, an AI meeting app can take notes as soon as the meeting begins.
The IoT devices and apps of Ambient Computing can automatically adapt in response to various situation changes.
The AI/ML feature of ubiquitous computing learns from your responses. If you prefer 70℉ room temperature after November, a smart thermostat will automatically do that. No need to manually change the HVAC temperature.
Context-aware computing offers personalized content and suggestions. It can understand if you have guests in the house, and accordingly, it will start displaying public content on a smart TV.
Examples of Ambient Computing
Automated Business Meetings
Apps from Cisco Webex can detect ultrasound waves from meeting room hardware using your mobile phone, tablet, or laptop speakers. Hence, when a meeting starts, everyone can sync their devices with the meeting room screen for presentation purposes.
Smart Office Facilities
Businesses are reducing their carbon footprint by relying on AmI systems to control HVACs, internal lighting, meeting room devices, kitchen appliances, water heaters, and more.
An efficient AmI can sense the occupancy level of office rooms and the entire building to adjust facilities to minimize energy bills.
AI Workplace Assistant
Smart AI-based work assistant apps can help you with note-taking, meeting transcription, agenda writing, work schedule, and more. Some advanced assistants can even plan an entire project by analyzing and learning from old projects and templates.
Smart customer care chat apps can reduce the overhead expense on live agents significantly. One chatbot can cater to many customers to resolve tickets, accept tickets, upsell products, and more.
Automated Service Scheduling
Smart sensors in production facilities can detect wear and tear in equipment and moving parts. Depending on the fluctuation in performance, such sensors can send commands to a centralized app for maintenance scheduling.
Smart Utility Controls
Ambient Computing can efficiently control electricity, gas, and water supplies throughout a city without human intervention. It can learn from usage statistics and accordingly shift resources from one place to another to balance the load.
Ambient Computing: Current State
At present, context-aware computing researchers and developers are working on more affordable, energy-efficient, and smart gadgets to support smart homes and offices.
At the core, smart speakers, AI assistants, smart but small appliances, and smart cars are the key elements that interact with their human users.
At experimental levels, the healthcare industry is also transforming its services and R&D departments with ambient intelligence systems.
Ambient Computing Trends
Today’s AmI systems are more into smart homes, cars, and workplaces. For example, Amazon Echo Show or Google Nest Hub can control various home-based smart devices. These IoT gadgets could be thermostats, smart lights, smart door locks, smart security cameras, smart outdoor lighting, smart blinds, smart kitchen appliances, and so on.
In the workplace, Alexa for business, Cisco Webex, etc., mainly control workplace facilities and business meetings.
iOS hand-off enables you to start using business apps like email clients, CRMs, project management, running payroll, etc., in one of your workplace devices. When you change seats or attend a business meeting, you can use iOS hand-off to present your apps on ultrawide monitors wirelessly.
However, ubiquitous computing is yet to enter the domains like manufacturing, supply chain, banking, finance, trading, etc., where it can generate more value.
Ambient Computing: Learning Resources
So far, you have gone through the basics and intermediate concepts of ambient intelligence. To be able to develop AmI solutions, you need to explore more technical knowledge.
You can find what you need to become an expert in AmI by referring to these online courses and books:
#1. Ambient Computing: Udemy
Ambient Computing by Udemy is an affordable and updated online course to learn ambient intelligence. The coursework includes self-paced content that you can learn anywhere and anytime online.
If you know the basics of cloud computing, IoT, and computing, you are eligible to sign up. The coursework will cover the basics, applications, user experience, market dynamics, AmI design and architecture, and more.
If you are a developer, network engineer, business professional, or business decision-maker, then you must check out the Udemy course.
#2. Guide to Ambient Intelligence in the IoT Environment
Guide to Ambient Intelligence explains the AmI element of the IoT. It also discusses the relevant frameworks, principles, and technologies. Not to mention, you will also learn the challenges and advantages of ubiquitous computing.
In most of the sections, you will find discussions on pervasive computing, device connectivity, and context modeling. Context modeling includes many technical topics for IoT development, like security, communication, scalability, interoperability, and adaptability.
If you are looking for the most updated trends, case studies, and research on Ambient Intelligence, you must try this book either on Kindle or the hardcover version.
#3. Recent Advances in Ambient Intelligence
Want to learn context-aware computing and ambient intelligence professionally? You can check out the Recent Advances in Ambient Intelligence on Amazon. The book is available in three versions: digital, paperback, and hardcover.
The book touches on concepts relevant to ambient computing, like database design, video summarization, machine consciousness, semantic reasoning, tracking and localization, machine-to-machine communication, and more.
Ambient Intelligence and the Internet Of Things
Ambient Intelligence and IoT is a comprehensive book for learning AmI from granular to advanced levels.
You must read this book to learn the fundamental structure of innovative IoT technologies and AmI concepts. Besides theoretical knowledge, you will also learn practical applications and AmI projects that are relevant today.
You can access the eBook version on Kindle. However, if you love hardcover books, you can get the original version.
So, now you know what ambient computing is. You also know its features, working method, use cases, and the present trend.
Context-aware computing helps you to put IoT to the best possible use to grow business revenue or comfort level in your home life. It promises to make intelligent computing interactive, responsive, and clutter-free. You do not have to jump through hoops between many apps, devices, wires, and subscription dates to remember.
Want to develop solutions based on this concept? Try out the resources mentioned in this article to learn the nuts and bolts of ambient intelligence and be a first mover in this niche.