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 AmI through Emerging Technologies


Emerging Technologies for AmI


The technical issues relating to the actual implementation and thus realisation of Ambient Intelligence (AmI) environments are immense, and in most cases tangible solutions to technical related problems are still yet to be found. However, although concrete solutions are yet to be realised, the theoretical problems which must be overcome are largely documented. Being able to profile a user within the AmI space is key to its success and as such the technological infrastructure which can allow this process is essential.

In a general sense, the technical issues of profiling in AmI fall into two broad categories: data collection, and data processing. FIDIS deliverable D7.2 examined the data mining techniques which could be adopted for the purpose of creating a profile from previously collected data. This chapter highlights technical infrastructure issues which relate to the problem of data collection for profiling in AmI, i.e. the technical infrastructure that needs to be present to allow the profiling activity to take place. Such issues revolve significantly around interoperability achieved through standardisation of hardware and software elements of the AmI. Whilst this does not encapsulate all related problems, the aim here is to simply place technical aspects in context with profiling and so broader technical issues of the AmI infrastructure are out of the scope of this document. Such broader issues may become the subject of subsequent FIDIS deliverables, however, further information on the subject of interoperability can be found in FIDIS deliverable D4.1.

The essence of AmI

AmI itself will not be the outcome of any single technology or application; rather it is an ‘emergent’ property. Essentially, AmI is more than just the sum of its parts. Ubiquitous Computing is the next wave of technology, a paradigm shift from our current relationship with technology, whereby many thousands of wireless computing devices are distributed in the environment in everyday objects around us. Clearly this technology integration into the environment is a key aspect of AmI. Ubiquitous Communication will allow robust, ad-hoc networks to be formed by this broad range of mobile and static devices, forming a ubiquitous system of large-scale distributed networks of interconnected computing devices. By adding intelligent user interfaces and integrating sensing devices, it should be possible to identify and model user activities, preferences and behaviours, and create individualised profiles. These key aspects are all required to achieve the ideal AmI Environment.

As mentioned previously, the aim of the AmI environment is to provide a context aware system, using unobtrusive computing devices that will improve the quality of people’s lives by acknowledging their needs, requirements and preferences and thus acting in some way on their behalf. To achieve this, the ‘intelligent’ environment, or rather an intelligent agent within the environment needs to build up a profile of each individual, and be able to subsequently link the profile with the correct individual. In essence, the environment itself has become the interface to the distributed, seamless and invisible AmI. In a world where computing is truly ubiquitous, the environment will actually monitor the direct interaction of people with objects, and profiles will seamlessly follow the individual to whom it is linked.

AmI Infrastructure

The concept of AmI provides a wide-ranging vision of how the Information Society will develop. Certainly, the emphasis of AmI is on greater user-friendliness, more efficient services support, user- empowerment, and support for human interactions. To fulfil this scenario, the following major technological research clusters have been proposed, which are deemed a necessary requirement for the AmI vision:


  1. AmI compatible enabling hardware: including fully optical networks, nano-micro electronics, power and display technologies

  2. AmI open platforms: for interoperating networks based upon a corporate effort to define a ‘service control platform’

  3. Intuitive technologies: involving efforts to create natural human interfaces

  4. AmI developments in support of personal and community development: including socio-technical design factors, support for human to human interaction and the analysis of societal and political development

  5. Meta-Content services developments: to improve information handling, knowledge management and community memory, involving techniques such as smart tagging systems, semantic web technologies, and search technologies

  6. Security and trust technologies: in support of privacy, safety, and dependability.


The AmI infrastructure is built on the notion that ad-hoc, complex, heterogeneous networks can function and communicate in a seamless and interoperable way. Only in this way can the broad range of services envisaged be offered to the individual. Essentially, the AmI is expected to embrace the heterogeneity arising from the different network technologies such that it appears homogeneous to the user. The vision is to allow for co-operation between networks on demand and without the need for offline negotiation between network operators.

The importance of this was underlined by the ISTAG, who identified three key breakpoints for AmI development. Notably, the first of these is: 


“… under the requirement that AmI calls for a very flexible and seamless interoperation of many different devices on many different networks, it is a key requirement that there is a set of common platforms or de facto standards to permit this interoperation to take place.”


The group felt that this would either be achieved through a deliberate effort to develop such open platforms or would arise from proprietary pacts between industrial suppliers. 



This Deliverable  FIDIS_D12.2_v1.0.sxw  AmI through Emerging Technologies
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