Location-based mobile software applications are evolving, opening up a whole new realm of possibilities for smartphones and other devices. Ambient intelligence, also known as deep learning, is a relatively new term in the technology lexicon.
And yet, according to the latest market study by ABI Research, it will become the major evolution in technology-based consumer services and quality of life applications over the next 10 years.
Essentially, ambient intelligence is the ability of a system to appreciate its environment, be aware of the user -- and other people or objects -- within that environment and react. Moreover, the technology is capable of interpreting and responding to the user's needs, unprompted.
"In technology terms ambient intelligence is the unification of hot new areas such as neural networks, big data, IoT, connected home, wearables, device user interfaces, and health or fitness, into services that can automate processes and make recommendations to improve the user's quality of life," said Patrick Connolly, senior analyst at ABI Research.
A major aspect in enabling this is the arrival of new location-based technologies -- such as BLE beacons, LED VLC, sensor data fusion, LTE-direct, Wi-Fi 2.0 -- that already have numerous applications.
The applications of ambient intelligence are many, and ABI believes that on the consumer side the big driver is the battle for next generation search and evolved personal assistant applications that can predict the needs of their users and make changes or recommendations to facilitate these needs.
From a software application point of view, ABI Research forecasts over 8 billion ambient intelligence related application downloads in 2020 -- primarily focused on personal assistant, social, health or fitness, augmented reality, and local search or discovery applications.
This new opportunity is attracting the major forces in the technology sphere, including Google, Apple, IBM, Microsoft and Baidu.
All these large established vendors are acquiring and hiring talent en-masse, to build out their own ambient intelligence systems. New start-ups are also starting to emerge, such as MetaMind and Clarifai.