Understanding Ambient Computing: A Complete Guide





The world’s moving at a fast pace towards advancement in computing technologies like IoT, augmented reality, virtual reality, and their applications for real-life problems. We are going to check out one such technology called Ambient Computing. It is one of Silicon Valley’s latest tech buzzwords that refers to the technologies that would allow people to use a computer without realizing they are using it. 

In this article, we will cover everything about Ambient Computing and its potential to change the day to day lives of people and enhance every experience of life.

What is Ambient Computing?

Ambient computing can be described as the technology of embracing the sensing and action taking the quality of an environment or ecosystem, such that it responds according to the current business or situation instead of the usual standard procedures, controlled scripted working, and predefined workflows.

The ultimate goal of Ambient computing is to create a world that adds different components or parts of devices working together along with human life, like their counterparts that can understand and react to the environment around them.

The capabilities required to be possessed by this technology are:

  • Integration of workflow and information among different devices across wide ranges of brands on a global scale.
  • The physical attributes that would be required to monitor the environment surrounding the device such as – orientation, temperature, humidity, vibration, air quality, noise, etc.
  • The functional attributes that would connect and create an intelligent rooted device on a higher level. This should be such that the work attributes and workload process are described to the device.
  • Finally, attributed services that would have the ability to remotely access, control, and change the physical properties and actions on the device.

All these combined to form an intelligent system that would help to a futuristic technology that’s proven to be a ground-breaking solution for the way we lead and control devices or smart things in our lives.

How is it Different From Other Technologies?

Most of the technologies and computing systems that we rely on today are those that receive active input from us.

For example: 

To search for a song or its lyrics on your phone, you have to type the name of the movie or the song title on a search engine like Google search box. Another example is that, if you want to change the temperature of your room or home, you can manually set it in your air conditioner to the desired degrees of temperature with a remote or through the mobile application.

The Ambient company differs from these smart technologies as it aims to eliminate this friction among humans and computers and allow spontaneous, direct interaction.

Unique Features of Ambient Computing

  • This technology referred to as “ambient computing”, performs computations for the user without a direct command.
  • As the word ambient means – “your space or environment,” these devices are intended to be so integrated with your surroundings that you are no longer conscious of them being especially computerized.
  • This technology is significantly different from the devices like smartphones and smartwatches that we have got used to and actively check to use.
  • It uses technologies like – motion tracking, speech recognition, gesture recognition, wearables, and artificial intelligence (AI) to achieve this goal.

Today’s World With Ambient Computing

If all these features and this advanced technology sound futuristic or alienated then here are the few scenarios where we find and the usage of Ambient computing around us.

Google Assistant or Alexa

Alexa is the virtual assistant that represents Google Assistant services. It has now become a part of the lives of most people who simply ask for the smart speaker to read the current news, play music or dim the lights, without realizing that they are interacting and talking out with a computerized device.

You might have noticed that these smart speakers are usually plain or dull coloured. This is to achieve the experience in which the user interacts without noticing that it is a device.


Many homes are now being converted into smart homes, which helps in controlling the home environment in just a tap or while being at a different location. Sensors are used to control features like light brightness control, motion detection, etc.

IoT (Internet of Things)

The IoT or Internet of Things refers to the technology that connects two or more smart devices such that they can be used to create automatic outputs or perform tasks based on the requirement.

For example, the Philips Hue light bulbs can be connected to the network and controlled using smartphones. Google Nest, SmartThings, etc can be used to control almost every smart appliance or device remotely at your place.

Future of Ambient Computing Technology

There are lots of possibilities and opportunities for various brands to opt for this technology as it has the ability or potential to change our lives. Companies like Google, Samsung, etc have begun and will increase the variety of their hardware products based on this technology in near future.

It has applications in the field of: 

  • Remote and personalized health and care services could be provided. This would be very helpful especially in cases like the COVID-19 pandemic where people needed doctors but being remote was important.
  • Logistics, inventory, and assets management.
  • Remote troubleshooting of machines, ensure worker safety and predict to get preventive maintenance done whenever required.
  • Better automation based on connected machinery.

This technology holds the possibility to create a completely man-free environment that can be easily maintained, controlled and can be used to work even in adverse situations where humans cannot.

Hence, in this article, we have covered all the aspects of Ambient computing, why it is important, and all of its unique features. Hope this was useful in understanding a key technology and this advanced automation concept.

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