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What is Ambient Intelligence? Factors and Applications

  • Vrinda Mathur
  • Jun 17, 2022
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For most of the last decade, technology has provided us with reactive support. However, Ambient Intelligent services may assist you both reactively (through user-initiated requests) and proactively (with AI-initiated help). In other words, Ambient Intelligence does not ask the user what they require, but rather has the power to make judgments and take action based on user context.



What is Ambient Intelligence?


Ambient Intelligence (AmI) is a technology that combines Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, Pervasive-Ubiquitous Computing, Networks, and Human Computer Interaction (HCI).


The technology provides the ideal marriage of IoT and AI. IoT devices and sensors implanted in the user's surroundings (such as their home and office) will collect contextual data and utilize AI to forecast the user's requirements.


Ambient intelligence (AmI) is a new technology that intends to introduce pervasive computing, artificial intelligence (AI) sensors, and sensor networks into our daily life. This technology is human-centric because it is extremely sensitive to the presence of humans in its surroundings.


It is a sophisticated artificial intelligence system that recognizes and responds to human presence. Siri or Alexa are actual examples of ambient intelligence since they reply to you once they detect your voice.


Eli Zelkha and his colleagues pioneered the notion of ambient intelligence in the late 1990s. They first wanted to design technologies that would collaborate with people to make their lives simpler. The gadgets would collect and store data and intelligence in linked devices, such as those powered by IoT.


Ambient intelligence interfaces provide intriguing difficulties in terms of how to communicate AmI information to the user and how the user should interact with AmI applications. While many AmI apps employ implicit human–computer interaction and hence do not require explicit user input, the majority do demand some active user engagement.


As interesting as AmI systems are, they have also raised privacy issues. Many individuals, understandably, will be uncomfortable with intelligent spaces gathering data without their permission. 


AI still suffers from prejudice, and user information falling into the wrong hands might have catastrophic consequences. Navigating the ethical problems of Ambient Intelligence will be difficult.


Also Read | Computational Intelligence


Ambient Intelligence Factors 


Furthermore, ISTAG  recommended a comprehensive user-centric participatory approach to AmI development, stating that "AmI should be driven by humanistic issues, not technologically decided once" and should be "controllable by regular people."


The Information Society Technologies Advisory Group advises the European Commission on information and communication technology. It pioneered the notion of ambient intelligence. The members are appointed as people rather than to overtly represent the interests of a particular group, yet it might be claimed that the majority of its members are from significant corporations and academic institutes.


There are a number of factors of Ambient Intelligence that are also relevant to the majority of IoT applications.

Factors of Ambient Intelligence :1. Usability2. Technical Suitability3. Belief and Confidence4. Social and Economic Consequences

Factors of Ambient Intelligence


  1. Usability


First and foremost, contact with Ambient Intelligence should be unobtrusive, with no steep learning curve. Many firms have embraced user-friendly design ideas in their products, influenced by Apple's design philosophy. 


AmI will take it a step farther. AmI settings should not necessitate the use of a manual. When you enter into an AmI environment, it should just function.


  1. Technical Suitability


Furthermore, AmI must function reliably within the restrictions of cutting-edge technology. Accuracy, capacity, and fail-safe mechanisms for all hardware and software components must be taken into account. 


In early 2016, Microsoft Tay showed how artificial intelligence (AI) may abruptly go wild. We still have a long way to go before completely comprehending how sophisticated AI systems operate. 


  1. Belief and Confidence


Furthermore, AmI must acquire the confidence and trust of users before it can be broadly implemented. Former Baidu chief scientist Andrew Ng stated that AI is the new electricity. The IoT infrastructure that provides AmI services will be similar to the energy infrastructure. 


To acquire the trust of the general public, AmI must prioritize risk management, data security, and system dependability. As Ambient Intelligence gets more common and powerful, privacy is becoming increasingly important. 


The capacity to uniquely identify and monitor people is fundamental in AmI. To acquire consumers' confidence, we must explicitly establish privacy regulations in both public and private spaces.


  1. Social and Economic Consequences


AmI should be capable of improving the social relationships of all individuals in the environment. One example is the employment of AmI to improve healthcare access, geriatric care, and social support for the elderly.


Last but not least, the economic impact on stakeholders could not be overstated. On the one hand, it will undoubtedly boost societal production. On the other hand, it will permanently alter the work duties of many employees in the affected industries. 


Applications of Ambient Intelligence


In the next 10 years, all of the aforementioned technologies will be integrated in our homes, grocery shops, businesses, hospitals, and transportation systems, ushering in an Ambient Intelligence (AmI) revolution. The following are some of the most major applications of Ambient Intelligence are :- 


  1. Education


The growth of technology has resulted in significant changes in the Teacher-Student interaction, which no longer takes place face-to-face and may rely on communication technologies that are always inadequate substitutes for our rich communication processes. 


AmI appears to be one feasible approach to coping with some of the neglected difficulties that emerge from this rapid (and often uncontrollable) technological progress. One of these issues is the existing internet communication technologies' lack of contextual information, which is often perceived as cold and impersonal. 


Teachers and students who used to talk face-to-face now communicate through forums and text-based discussions, which makes communication significantly worse.


  1. Robotics


Robots have long been an element of the Artificial Intelligence fantasy. Traditionally, in the near future, each individual would supposedly have a robotic companion, most likely in humanoid form, acting as a multi-faceted personal helper that would attend to all of our requirements. Research and technological advancement appear to be moving in a different path. 


The most plausible future is one in which an ecology of agents, often our traditional appliances and hardware, communicate and coordinate to serve us via some form of enabling middleware. Robots that behave similarly to us, sharing our environment and moving fluidly through it while offering services, can be imagined.


  1. Health


The healthcare industry is presently one of the most technologically advanced. As a result, it is not surprising that many different projects may be found in this category. There are two major developments to note: the provision of healthcare services at home and the support of healthcare in the hospital. 


The primary goal in all instances is to reduce healthcare expenses while making it more accessible, tailored, and available. Most initiatives in the home scenario are aimed towards assisting the elderly, or providing them with greater freedom and quality of life. 


In the healthcare institution, one can plan projects to deal with extremely specific sorts of scenarios (for example, Alzheimer patients) as well as more general ones, such as the employment of discrete hidden Markov models for categorizing the activities of healthcare practitioners. 


  1. Transportation


Given that we spend a significant portion of our life traveling back and forth, transportation is another field in which the adoption of Ambient Intelligence might result in several benefits. 


Buses, and vehicles may be outfitted with technology that can offer essential knowledge about how the system is working and identification of possible changes by more effectively using the system, which can result in an improvement in people's experiences.


GPS-based spatial positioning of public transportation vehicles and services;  vehicle identification and image processing to improve transportation efficiency and safety, or to discover circumstances of interest in congested areas , among many more.


Also Read | Conversational Intelligence: Concept, Importance and Tools


  1. Services for Emergencies


Emergency services and their organization form a complicated and important environment in which Ambient Intelligence applications might be found. The key goals here are to provide mission-critical knowledge in real time and to coordinate the many players. 


Another goal is to discuss the prospects of AmI in emergency services, including their possible role in the quick construction of virtual response teams, as well as the assistance for communication and coordination of such teams' members, even when they span different nations.


  1. Workplace


Ambient Intelligence has the potential to significantly minimize the occurrence of accidents in workplaces such as construction sites. Many mishaps are caused by a failure to follow safety requirements. 


Human monitors cannot be present throughout the day. AmI, on the other hand, has a constant bird's-eye perspective of the surroundings and the personnel. It can provide rapid notifications to the management or worker if a safety regulation is broken.


  1. Online to Offline Commerce


For several years, retailers have used wireless technology such as iBeacon to reach out to smartphone customers while they are shopping in physical locations. 


On the other side, as part of their Online to Offline (O2O) initiatives, E-Commerce behemoths like Amazon and Alibaba begin to investigate the notion of unmanned supermarkets (Amazon Go and Tao Cafe, for example).


These stores make extensive use of AmI technology. They intend to provide a personalized 24/7 shopping experience in physical locations that is comparable to internet purchasing.


Also Read | Latest E-commerce Platforms




Ambient Intelligence has not expanded as quickly as anticipated. The organic interfaces, always-present and proactive assistants, and a seamless experience remain a pipe dream. Several obstacles have been identified that may explain, at least in part, this delay. These include technological (primarily at the integration level), cultural, and safety and privacy issues.


Surprisingly, this does not preclude the emergence of new ideas and fields of application. Indeed, we continue to observe an increase in the variety of situations where AmI would provide incredible benefits. 


As illustrated in this study, these domains include delicate ones like healthcare, transportation, or emergency services, as well as more "conventional" ones like education or home aides.


Almost 20 years after the AmI vision was introduced, many of the parts are now theoretically feasible to achieve. It has the potential to disrupt numerous business paradigms. However, AmI still needs to acquire the public's trust and confidence. It will necessitate a strong focus on accuracy, security, dependability, and privacy protection.


Nonetheless, consumers are beginning to see the benefits of AmI provided by apps such as ambient-aware smart home assistants. The use model will gradually alter many elements of our existence.


The ambient future is taking shape, and many of its early-generation goods and services provide considerable advantages. But, as with AI and other technologies that are infiltrating our personal and professional lives, one crucial message for humans is clear: we will all need to grow better at, and more comfortable with, weighing advantages and dangers.

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