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March 05, 2024

How to take advantage of ambient computing

From smart homes to wearable devices, ambient computing harnesses the power of computing to blend into our daily lives, seamlessly enhancing our experiences. It involves creating an interconnected web of devices and services. These work harmoniously to anticipate and fulfill our needs, all without requiring explicit commands. Learn what ambient intelligence technologies can mean for your work and your surroundings.

What is ambient computing?

Imagine walking into a room where the lighting adjusts to your preference, the temperature adapts to keep you comfortable, all while your favorite music plays. Ambient computing aims to integrate technology into our lives seamlessly, enhancing comfort without requiring interaction with a keyboard or screen.

One of the most fascinating aspects of ambient computing is its ability to operate in the background, almost unnoticed. Through sensors, machine learning, and AI algorithms, this invisible hand of technology becomes perceptive so it can learn from our habits to provide tailored experiences, simplify tasks, and enhance efficiency without demanding our attention.

A cozy living room with warm ambient lighting

Credit: Image created with AI

Harnessing invisible technology for the home

Smart homes exemplify the power of ambient computing. Today’s homes can feature intelligent and interconnected devices like smart thermostats, refrigerators, washers, and dryers, voice-activated digital assistants, and Bluetooth®-connected lightbulbs that can change color or intensity depending on one’s mood.

When our homes become intuitive environments, they better adapt to our habits and optimize energy usage, security, even our trips to the grocery, or helping us wake up restfully.

For example, imagine waking up to a gentle, warming glow that’s optimized to mimic natural sunlight. Your curtains open automatically, and the shower is turned to your optimal water temperature. Your Bluetooth-enabled coffee maker can begin brewing the perfect cup with your pre-programmed settings. And your laptop or 2-in-1 device can welcome you with the latest news feed or morning programming that’s tailored to your interests.

Smart home devices naturally lend themselves to keeping your environment at the ideal temperature. With ambient computing, you can program a smart thermostat to run efficiently when there’s nobody in the home, ensuring that heating and air conditioning systems aren’t wasting energy. However, as you return home, your smart thermostat can turn on and adjust the temperature with enough time for you to arrive. That way, you can walk through the door to a perfectly comfortable home.

Ambient computing anywhere

Wearable devices have emerged as ambient computing-powered personal companions. From fitness trackers that monitor health to smartwatches that seamlessly sync with our digital tools and accounts, these gadgets are one of the best examples yet of how technology can integrate into our daily routines. For instance, fitness trackers can suggest the optimal route for marathon training or use cardio and calorie-burning data to recommend training routines.

Ambient computing means learning from your preferences

Along with artificial intelligence, ambient computing marks a pivotal shift in how we interact with technology. It's the culmination of both artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT), where smart devices are not only connected to and programmed via apps, but they can also gather information about your preferences and learn accordingly.

How laptops and 2-in-1 devices fit into the ambient computing ecosystem

Laptops are a natural fit for an ambient home. Not only can you carry them from room to room, activating various smart devices, but they can serve as hubs for other ambient devices. Through various applications, they can be used to set up, manage, and monitor smart home devices like thermostats, lights, security cameras, and more.

Portable devices also come with built-in support for wireless connectivity and synchronization with other devices. This allows them to seamlessly integrate into a network of devices to share data and commands back and forth, contributing to the “ambient” aspect where technology works quietly in the background.

Lastly, these devices can anticipate needs based on time, location, or even user behavior. In doing so, they enhance the capabilities of other devices in the ambient ecosystem. They can provide processing power or internet access to other devices, extend the range of sensors or cameras, or serve as a display for devices without their own screens. If you need to install or adjust a smart device, your laptop’s apps are a familiar interface for complex input or setup.

As the realm of ambient intelligence continues to evolve, it promises a future where invisible technology seamlessly integrates into our world, making it more responsive, intuitive, and enjoyable.

Curious about how to start taking advantage of ambient computing? Learn how Surface laptops and 2-in-1 devices, enhanced with artificial intelligence, can contribute to a serenely ambient environment and make life simpler by adapting to your personal patterns.

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