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What Is Ambient Computing, and How Will It Affect Our Lives?

ambient computing

Ambient computing is one of Silicon Valley’s most recent technological buzzwords. It refers to technologies that enable people to use computers without even realizing it. We’ll go over it in greater detail and discuss how it will affect our daily lives.

You Can’t See the Computer (Ambient Computing).

Over the last few years, technology companies have worked hard to integrate computing platforms more deeply into our daily lives. One of their goals is to blend computers into our surroundings so well that we don’t even notice we’re using them.

These technologies, known as “ambient computing,” perform computations for you without requiring a direct command. Because ambient means “in your environment,” these devices are designed to be so integrated into your surroundings that you aren’t even aware of them. This is in stark contrast to smartphones and smartwatches, which we must actively check before using.

The majority of computing systems rely on active human input. For example, if you want to look up a movie schedule on your phone, you enter the title of the film and the location of the theater into the Google search box. If you want to make your home a little cooler, you can use a remote or mobile app to manually set your air conditioner to the desired temperature.

Ambient computing seeks to reduce friction between you and the computer. Rather than actively configuring or interacting with devices, you would interact with your surroundings, and the devices would respond to your actions. An ambient smart thermostat, for example, judges the room and your interactions with it to adjust the temperature as needed.

Ambient computing achieves this goal by utilizing a variety of technologies such as motion tracking, speech recognition, gestures, wearables, and artificial intelligence

Ambient Computing Today

An Amazon Echo on a table.

The most common example of ambient computing devices is the smart speakers and personal voice assistants that millions of people have in their homes. We don’t interact with Alexa or Google Assistant as much as we do with our other devices.

Asking a smart assistant to turn on the lights, read the news, or play a song is a common occurrence for many people. You speak to your surroundings rather than into something. This is why most smart speakers are understated and unobtrusive—they aren’t meant to be noticed.

Light sensors that detect movement are also common in many homes. The living room lights turn on as soon as someone enters the house.

You’ve probably heard of the term “Internet of Things” (IoT). It refers to the network that allows objects to communicate with one another. For example, if you have smart appliances, you can turn them on and customize their settings using a connected smartphone or voice assistant. A smart refrigerator would be able to tell you what temperature each compartment is at, as well as the best place to store a particular food.

To blend seamlessly, different devices must communicate with one another, which IoT enables. Your smartphone is linked to your lights, and the light sensor is linked to your alarm clock, and so on. These devices, when combined with AI, can learn to pattern themselves based on your actions.

The Future of Ambient Computing

ambient computing

We’re probably on our way to a future with even more ambient computing. Many devices can already tell what time you get out of bed. Smart devices may be able to open your curtains and wake you up with natural light instead of an alarm in the future.

When you walk into the living room, a room sensor may detect your presence and your speakers may begin reading you the day’s news. These are examples of ambient computing, which is already present in a variety of smart devices that integrate computing into your surroundings.

Many hardware companies are incorporating ambient computing into their marketing and design strategies. Samsung, a smart technology industry leader, refers to its smarthome operating system as “Project Ambience.”

Google has also expressed an interest in entering the ambient computing space. The company’s hardware line is likely to be expanded to include more devices that complement its current array of integrated services.


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