Ambient Intelligence (AmI) is a new paradigm in Information Technology that has potential for great impact in the future. The vision of AmI is that the people will be surrounded by intelligent objects that can sense the context and respond according to the desire of the people. AmI is a multidisciplinary topic, since it combines the features of many of the areas in Computer Science.
Ambient Intelligence (AmI) is growing fast as a multi-disciplinary topic of interest which can allow many areas of research to have a significant beneficial influence into our society. The basic idea behind AmI is that by enriching an environment with technology (mainly sensors and devices interconnected through a network), a system can be built to take decisions to benefit the users of that environment based on real-time information gathered and historical data accumulated.
Networks, Sensors, Human Computer Interfaces (HCI), Pervasive Ubiquitous Computing and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are all relevant and interrelated but none of them conceptually covers the full scope of AmI. Ambient Intelligence puts together all these resources to provide flexible and intelligent services to users acting in their environments.
Ambient Intelligence builds on three recent key technologies:
1. Ubiquitous Computing: Computing means integration of microprocessors into everyday objects like furniture, clothing, white goods, toys, even paint.
2. Ubiquitous Communication: enables these objects to communicate with each other and the user by means of ad-hoc and wireless networking.
3. Intelligent User Interfaces: enables the inhabitants of the AmI environment to control and interact with the environment in a natural (voice, gestures) and personalised way (preferences, context).
Smart Home: A Prominent example of an environment enriched with AmI
In terms of the smart home, ambient intelligent devices quietly pay attention to the actions of end users in certain environments—learning what people do, how they respond, and their interests—to make intuitive and data-based guesses regarding what users want and which action to perform. For E.g. a room can have a sensor to decide when its occupant is in or out and on that basis keep lights on or off. It sense it with the movements of person(s) in the room.
Other Applications of AmI
• Health-related applications. Hospitals can increase the efficiency of their services by monitoring patients’ health and progress by performing automatic analysis of activities in their rooms. They can also increase safety and reduce cross-infection by, for example, only allowing authorized personnel and patients to gain access to specific areas and devices.
• Public transportation sector. Efficient flow of traffic can benefit from extra technology including Global Position Satellite (GPS)-based spatial location estimation to make transport more fluent and hence more efficient and safe.
• Education services. Universities and higher education institutions use smart card technology to permit access to computing and library facilities, car parks, dining halls and lecture rooms. The same technology may be used to monitor attendance, and track students’ progression on their modules.
• Emergency services. Safety-related services like ambulance and fire brigades can improve their reaction time to an incident by accurate GPS based location and by expediting the route by automating traffic signals in their favour. The prison and police service can quickly locate a place where a hazard is occurring and prepare better access to it for security personnel.
• Production-oriented places. Production-centered factories can self-organize according to the production/ demand ratio of the goods produced. This will demand careful correlation between the collection of data through sensors within the different sections of the production line and the pool of demands via a diagnostic system which can advice the people in charge of the system at a decision-making level.
• Public Surveillance The widespread deployment of CCTV cameras provides monitoring of potentially dangerous public places. City centers, underground stations and public transport can all benefit for increased surveillance. Until recently this was a completely passive process, often used to gather evidence of wrong-doing, but limited in terms of crime prevention. As video becomes automatically analysed and interpreted by computer this will extend AmI to the high street.