How Arm Is Taking a Leading Role in the Rise of Ambient Computing


The technology industry is often defined by ground-breaking products or devices that we all consciously interact with on a daily basis. However, how people use technologies in the future is likely to involve ambient computing, a world where there is no need for conscious interaction as billions of devices will work invisibly in the background and only come to the fore when necessary. This will be fueled by the exponential growth of artificial intelligence (AI) across all technologies.

Ambient computing is highly responsive and personalized to the needs, preferences, and environments of the end user. Delivering ambient experiences requires unprecedented co-ordination between services, data, and AI-based technologies, particularly in the Internet of Things (IoT) and consumer tech markets that consist of billions of sensors and devices worldwide. AI is important to ambient computing because it helps to collate and interpret the data, and later automatically implement the most relevant experience based on the person and the environment they are in.

Sensors and smartphones are critical technologies for ambient computing, now and in the future. They will provide the contextual awareness that is needed to facilitate ambient experiences, gathering information about various public or private environments and then making this information relevant to people based on their own unique preferences. While today’s ambient experiences seem reasonably advanced, they are not yet truly autonomous. This, alongside the expansion of compute, intelligence, and personalization within different contexts and environments, will ultimately propel future ambient experiences to a whole new level. Here are five key use cases that Arm believes will define future ambient experiences.

Amplifying senses

Ambient computing has the potential to amplify senses by providing unique experiences that will allow us to to see, hear, smell and touch at levels never before realized. Essentially, this will give us a digital sixth sense that will be revolutionary in two key ways. It will enable people to hear sounds never heard properly before, such as a car emerging from a blind corner on the road; and will have life-changing implications for those who are hard of seeing or hearing, with ambient computing amplifying their ability to see and hear.

Transforming the driving experience

Inside the vehicle, ambient computing will help to make the driving experience entirely personalized around the needs and preferences of the driver and passengers. This could be automatically detecting temperature preferences or preferred driving routes, for example. 

Ambient buildings 

In future buildings, the user experience will be completely automatic, providing more relevant insights to the user and those around them. For example, in the age of hybrid working, future workplaces will automatically book desks or rooms for workers as soon as they walk into the building based on their role and schedule. Automated cleaning schedules can then be delivered automatically based on real-time information showing parts of buildings that are occupied or not in use.

Healthcare improvements 

Future hospitals or care homes will be able to detect physical or physiological movement, such as breathing, heart rates, and even falls among patients by using sensors installed throughout buildings. This will identify any healthcare issues early, removing the need for constant doctor, nurse, or care worker supervision, and potentially save lives. Voice-enabled AI will also automatically document conversations between physicians, patients, and families, removing the need to rely on paperwork or memory, therefore saving time and improving accuracy. 

Highly personalized public spaces

For those with accessibility or neurodiversity challenges, ambient computing can adapt to public environments to improve their experiences. For example, public environments can be altered for those with autism, making them less jarring by diminishing  the impact of noise and people in crowded spaces, or even pointing them towards areas with less people.

Big technology challenges

As with any future technology step-change, there are significant challenges that need to be addressed. In the case of ambient computing, this largely revolves around the need for more compatibility, compute power, connectivity, and security.

With ambient computing providing high levels of contextual awareness, there is a need for more compatible technologies that work across various public spaces and buildings. These will gather information and then make environments relevant to the user and their preferences. To support the compute data gathering process, higher performing sensors and smartphones that can support various AI workloads will be required. For these devices, ambient experiences not only need reliable, secure hardware capable of managing large amounts of data, but also fluid software so that developers can continue to add more features and innovations.

Sensors, smartphones, and wider supporting technologies will need to be part of highly connected systems. This connectivity will facilitate highly personalized ambient experiences through greater communication and information sharing. Meanwhile, the collection of valuable personal data to create personalized ambient experiences means advanced privacy and security features across all technologies. Despite many security-based technologies being available today, there will need to be a more widespread adoption of these alongside additional measures and protections to appropriately handle sensitive information.

A seamless technology evolution 

The vast array of technologies that will be used across this ambient computing world needs to be matched by a common, pervasive computing platform. The broad range of AI-powered technologies across every single market and product category, from the smallest sensor to high-performance supercomputers, means that Arm’s ubiquitous compute platform will provide the foundational technology to deliver ambient experiences now and in the future.

Ambient computing promises a step-change in how people interact and use technology in their daily lives. It means moving away from a world where people touch and use their devices and towards seamless experiences influenced by their preferences and environments, that simply happen. While ambient experiences are already occurring today, making it a firm reality will require more technology, computing, AI, connectivity, and security. Arm has the technologies, tools, software, and compute capabilities to power the next invisible, seamless technology evolution that is ambient computing.

Find out how Arm is building the future of computing. 

This post was created by NASDAQ: ARM with Insider Studios.


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