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A I R Lab

Ambient Intelligence Research lab


Open House
Ambient Intelligence:
The Dawn of Monetizing Era
Friday June 3, 2011
Stanford University

Executive Summary

In today's rapidly developing market landscape where user-centric sensing, expert systems, and cloud computing merge, academic researchers and industry-based developers can better than ever fuse their efforts towards defining novel applications which can reach the marketplace in expedited ways. This one day open house / workshop aims to act as a forum for exploring such joint application development opportunities. The event will focus on Ambient Intelligence technologies with the highest potential to enable powerful use cases and monetization in the next one to three years. The themes explored in this year's workshop will include mobile web applications, retail floor analytics, and smart management of commercial and office buildings. Viewpoints from academia, industry (including startups) and investing communities will be represented in the discussions.

The agenda of the workshop is available here.

Scope

The monetization question has been lingering for years in the minds of researchers and developers working in the fields of computer vision, sensor networks, and cloud computing. Despite the plethora of ideas, methods, and technologies that have accumulated in the tool chests of developers in these disciplines across the academia and industry, the search for a compelling value proposition has remained open-ended for many years. The vertical applications proposed as discrete solutions in different domains have not succeeded in instilling momentum in the market towards investing in these novel areas. The landscape has remained unfriendly and has sidelined many of the early developers venturing the market.

There are, however, early indications that this trend may be reversing and a new era of product and service development based on the Ambient Intelligence technologies may be dawning. This trend reversal seems to be underpinned, on the one hand, by the maturity in the corresponding technological components driven by the growth of consumer markets such as smart phones, and on the other hand, by the omnipresence of cloud-based applications from geo-location services to social media and user profile-based services. Strong penetration of smart phones, with their open platform, powerful CPU and always-on connection has enabled delivery of some early Ambient Intelligence applications directly to the end-user. These applications are often based on a sensing modality offered by the smart phone, and they employ cloud computing and online database access in various ways.

The second factor reinforcing the new trend is the participation of a large community of developers who are constantly pushing the envelope on utilizing available technologies by creating new ideas and methods that often succeed to reach a significant portion of the rather large and active early adopters.

There is yet a third factor supporting the newly forming development landscape, and that is the realization by the developers that real applications will indeed require a multi-disciplinary design approach which seamlessly integrates the advance underlying technologies and caters a set of simple but useful applications to the ordinary user. Applications developed with this mindset utilize a combination of techniques from sensing to cloud processing, user profiling, and reasoning algorithms to produce useful applications for the user which react to the user's context in smart ways, and yet offer a friendly interface to the user based on the device they regularly employ. User acceptance issues such as ease of use and a friendly interface are considered as key elements of the design effort, in itself a trend-setting factor often ignored in past developments of new technology.

Ambient Intelligence has evolved as a multi-disciplinary area of development based on the principle of integrating various sensing, computing, and communication technologies in a seamless, unobtrusive, and user-friendly fashion to cater adaptive applications and services to the user based on their preference profile and available contextual information. Access to very large datasets of user profiles and semantic web data as well as the prevalence of cloud computing options complement the real-time data acquired from the user's physical world. The technologies employed by developers to demonstrate concepts at research level have matured to the extent that many of these applications operate in real-time even in lab environments. The merger of the physical and digital worlds through the user's personal interface device enables a multitude of applications from different vendors to co-exist and serve the user's diverse needs in planning, comfort, connectedness, well-being, leisure, and general productivity.

Not surprisingly, deployment in the marketplace has started with low bit-rate sensing modalities (location, mobility) but has quickly been moving up in complexity, with several startups validating the value of richer sensing modalities such as audio and vision. The current validation effort is arguably marking the beginning of an era in which components of diverse but available technology are integrated to create compelling value propositions in the market.

Synopsis

The workshop will include presentations and discussions on the latest trends and emerging enabling technologies, with a strong application bias in the following three promising areas:

The event is held in an interactive and informal fashion to encourage discussion and cultivate interdisciplinary collaboration. It consists of a series of panel discussions with participation from academia, industry (including startups), and investors involved with development of Ambient Intelligence applications and services.

The workshop also serves as an open house for the Stanford's A I R (Ambient Intelligence Research) Lab, and an overview of the current projects and recent results will be presented.

The agenda of the workshop is available here.

Contact

For resource planning reasons attending this event is by RSVP. Please see contact information below.

Email aghajan AT stanford DOT edu

Visit Ambient Intelligence Research Lab and Wireless Sensor Networks Lab for an overview of our lab's research topics.

A I R Lab
David Packard Building Room 370
Stanford University