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Ambient intelligence Space example: The Smart Home  Title:
 Key concepts of AmI


AmI: science fiction or unfolding reality?

In this section the various descriptions of AmI are discussed. The concept refers to something that is more than just science fiction, but it is still unclear to what extent it represents an unfolding reality. Descriptions in the relevant literature underline this point: 

  1. ISTAG: Scenarios for ambient intelligence in 2010 describes AmI as a vision where ‘(…) people will be surrounded by intelligent and intuitive interfaces embedded in everyday objects around us and an environment recognising and responding to the presence of individuals in an invisible way. (…) It puts the emphasis on user- friendliness, user- empowerment and support for human interactions. AmI stems from a convergence of three key technologies: Ubiquitous Computing, Ubiquitous Communication, and intelligent user- friendly interfaces. It implies a seamless environment of computing, advanced networking technology and specific interfaces. (…) This intelligent environment is aware of the specific characteristics of human presence and personalities, takes care of needs and is capable of responding intelligently to spoken or gestured indications of desire, and even can engage in intelligent dialogue’.


  1. RIVA et al.: Being There: Concepts, effects and measurement of user presence in synthetic environments, state that ‘Ambient Intelligence (AmI) refers to a new paradigm in information technology, in which people are empowered through a digital environment that is aware of their presence and context, and is sensitive, adaptive, and responsive to their needs, habits, gestures and emotions (…) All the environment around us, homes and offices, cars and cities, will collectively develop a pervasive network of intelligent devices that will cooperatively gather, process and transport information (…) AmI is the direct extension of today’s concept of ubiquitous computing, i.e. the integration of microprocessors into everyday objects. However, AmI will also be much more than this, as the AmI system should adapt to the user’s needs and behaviour.”


  1. Van Loenen, Philips’ project manager of the Ambience Project (finished in 2003), says Ami “builds on advanced networking technologies, which allow robust, ad-hoc networks to be formed by a broad range of mobile devices and other objects (…) By adding adaptive user-system interaction methods, based on new insights in the way people like to interact with computing devices (social user interfaces), digital environments can be created which improve the quality of life of people by acting on their behalf.”


  1. Bohn et al.: Social, Economic, and Ethical Implications of Ambient Intelligence and Ubiquitous Computing: ‘Visions of ambient intelligence and ubiquitous computing involve integrating tiny microelectronic processors and sensors into everyday objects in order to make them ‘smart’. Smart things can explore their environment, communicate with other smart things, and interact with humans, therefore helping users to cope with their tasks in new, intuitive ways’.


Obviously, the phenomenon of AmI does not yet exist as such in today’s life. It is impossible to predict if and in particular how this evolution towards AmI will take place. But we can see many emerging technologies, supported by standardisation, social acceptance and legal frameworks, which could facilitate AmI. We refer amongst others to wireless online environments, internet access on the basis of flat fee subscriptions, electronic identity cards, biometrics, electronic commerce, LBS (location based services), GPS (global positioning systems), RFID (radio frequency identity tags), increasing storage capacity and processor speed, research in the field of nanotechnology and in the area of brain-computer interfacing.

The decrease of the cost of these technologies as well as the emergence of customers that are willing to pay for the services that can be provided seems to increase the likelihood that at least some kind of AmI practices will surface. Besides these supporting technologies, techniques of user modelling and profiling are already widely spread, providing customers with enhanced, personalised and customised services (e.g. Amazon, customisation in financial offers). There seems to be a smooth connection between targeted advertising, customised servicing and ambient intelligence. 


Ambient intelligence Space example: The Smart Home  fidis-wp7-del7.3.ami_profiling_02.sxw  Key concepts of AmI
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