Ambient Intelligence, or AmI, dates back to 1998—just a few years after the Internet saw its first widespread commercial adoption—when the concept first emerged as a collection of intelligent electronic environments, responsive and sensitive and to our desires, requirements, and needs. It entails ubiquitous sensors embedded into every nook and cranny of our world, heavily populated by gadgets and systems that are capable of powerful capabilities nano- bio- information and communication technology (NBIC).
AmI got its real start at Royal Philips of The Netherlands. A consortium of individuals, including Eli Zelkha and Brian Epstein of Palo Alto Ventures (who, with Simon Birrell, coined the name ‘Ambient Intelligence’), described it as “a world where homes will have a distributed intelligent network of devices that provide us with information, communication and entertainment.”
In 1999, Philips joined the Oxygen Alliance, an international consortium of industrial partners within the context of the MIT Oxygen project, aimed at developing technology for the computer of the 21st century. In 2000, plans were made to construct a feasibility and usability facility dedicated to Ambient Intelligence. This HomeLab officially opened in April 2002.
AmI has evolved into a vision of how people interact with technology —everywhere. It is a seamless environment of computing, advanced networking technology such as Internet dust and intelligent interfaces. It is aware of the specific characteristics of human presence and personalities, takes care of needs, and is capable of intelligently responding to spoken or gestured indications of desire. It even can engage in intelligent dialogue (although this will take a while to develop to a level that is realistic).