“From the drawer beside the sink Joe Chip got a stainless steel knife; with it he began systematically to unscrew the bolt assembly of his apt’s money-gulping door.
“I’ll sue you,” the door said as the first screw fell out. Joe Chip said, “I’ve never been sued by a door. But I guess I can live through it.” ― Philip K. Dick, Ubik
The first thing that jumps to our mind when we think of Ambient Computing is smart homes but smart homes are just a part of a radical new wave of connected intelligence. Crunchbase reports: In 2017, venture capital funding into U.S.-based Internet of Things (IoT) startups alone reached its highest annual mark as investors poured $1.46 billion into startups. That’s up 42 percent from $1.03 billion in 2016, and 216 percent more than the $461.7 million raised in 2013. Again, the IoT is just a fraction of the total ambient computing environment. Machine Learning systems and cloud computing add to the growing infrastructure of intelligent environments. Thus, hardware, software, machine learning, cloud systems, communication protocols all form part of an ever expanding universe.This article outlines the building blocks of Ambient Computing and provides a glimpse into a future full of connected intelligence.
The Home That Bill Gates Envisioned
My first brush with ambient computing was in 1995. I was reading Bill Gates’ book “The Road Ahead”. Of course, the richest man in the world had to have a smart home. In the book, Gates went on to describe how ambient intelligence is going to be so ubiquitous as to be completely invisible and pervasive just like the air around us. That vision has become a reality two decades later with the advent and proliferation of the Internet of Things (IoT). As per Wikipedia: “In computing, Ambient Intelligence (AmI) refers to electronic environments that are sensitive and responsive to the presence of people”.
In his book, Bill Gates described a visitor wearing a device similar to a lapel pin which would…