You’ve heard of Artificial Intelligence (AI), but Ambient Intelligence (AmI) might be new to you. What is it and do you want it? Well, if you have a smart home, you’re probably already living with and depending on AmI. 

What Exactly IS Ambient Intelligence?

When it comes to deciphering ambient intelligence, the clue is in the phrase. Ambient generally refers to something that’s all-encompassing. Think of ambient music. It’s unobtrusive, meant to accompany activities without breaking in. That’s the goal with ambient intelligence. It’s a technology that allows people to use it without even realizing they’re doing it. 

The other meaning of “ambient” refers to an environment. Ambient intelligence is integrated into your environment in such a way that it can nearly eliminate any friction between you and the device. Consider your devices that don’t quite achieve AmI, your smartphone or smart watch: you have to wake it up from sleep mode in order to even check the time or weather, let alone read a text or email. Devices that work on ambient intelligence are woven seamlessly into the background fabric of your everyday life, not demanding any input from you to perform.

But Really, What Is Ambient Intelligence?

Ok, so we know the concept of AmI, but how does that translate into real-world applications? Smart thermostats, like Nest are a great example. They learn on the job. They store your preferences, learn your exact temperature preferences throughout the day, and make decisions about climate control in anticipation of your needs. 

Another example is a device that uses sensors to provide input rather than humans. Halio’s smart glass does just this. Sensors detect changes in temperature and light and use that information to darken or lighten the tint of the windows to create a comfortable and energy-efficient interior. Ambient intelligence quietly works in the background for us, without requiring our direct commands, making our technology more effortless and efficient.

Ambient Intelligence in a Smart Home System

What makes this type of technology truly ambient or all-encompassing is when it applies to a whole-home system. Smart home systems create an ecosystem of devices that communicate with each other, many of which operate with minimal or no human input. These systems go further, anticipating needs and problems to resolve them. 

For example, Alexa can identify when something in the home–whether it’s lights, a door, or even a smart appliance–isn’t in its correct mode, based on your preference. As of this year, Alexa can be enabled to correct these things when it detects them without any human input. Unlocked doors and coffee pots left on are no longer things you have to worry about; ambient intelligence can take those things off your plate.

The Next Phase of Ambient Intelligence

We’re on the cusp of ambient intelligence becoming ubiquitous. Rather than adjusting our air conditioning or locking a door, ambient intelligence could be used to not just infer preferences but make suggestions. Soon our ambient intelligence-powered homes could be even more proactive, reminding us to take medication or alerting us to wet clothes left in washing machines. 

The inclusion of facial recognition could even further personalize our experience. Imagine a home that recognizes you when you come home, automatically sets your lights to your preferred setting and plays something based on your liked songs. Your home automation system knows you watch tv after dinner and cues up the next episode of that show you’ve been bingeing. It can also remind you of an early morning and suggest you go to bed by dimming the lights and turning off the tv. It sounds like a scene from a futuristic movie, or even The Jetsons, but it’s a much more viable reality than we may think.

Ambient Intelligence is bringing the future to us today, and our homes are the arena where it’s playing out. It’s already helping you to better navigate your day; the possibilities of this technology as it advances are endless.

Responsive Living, the term coined by Acoustic Architects founders, Aaron Flint and Spencer Hauldren, is the concept of seamlessly enhancing the client’s unique lifestyle using smart home technology. Responsive Living allows you to interact with your space via touch input, voice command, and predictive automation, placing you in full control of your home.

If you would like to learn more about integrating new systems into your smart home system, feel free to connect with us. We will be happy to schedule a demo with you.

For more information, visit

Like what you read? Spread the word and share on LinkedIn.