Ambient Computing Blog
March 13, 2020

What Is Ambient Computing?

Open Source
Development

Understanding Ambient Computing

What is Ambient Computing? Ambient computing is one of many software-driven emerging concepts that will come out of rapid innovation in the not-so-distant future and, as we have also predicted, this growth engine will continue to be care of community development models.  

In our recent blog article entitled the, Future of Software Development, we explored a little further some predictions made about the industry by our CTO Rod Cope. We asked the question, “Will Apps Be Recognizable as Apps?” and we concluded that “apps will soon not look as apps do now on your phone.”  

Prediction for Ambient Computing

We speculated that apps would instead feel more like our normal experiences, blending into our surroundings and providing a sort of digital backdrop to our daily lives.  Unsurprisingly we aren’t the first group of technologists to have had this thought as realized by a term that seems to have just materialized in the industry: “ambient computing.”  Instead of a digital backdrop, we have a digital ambience.

If we break it down from a programmatic perspective, we are really describing applications that require no specific active input from us. We don’t need to swipe a screen, type on a keyboard, etc. We simply go about life, and the technology reacts to us.  It’s a meta-realization of reactive UI design, really.  When we program in a “reactive” way, we expect our library or framework do perform the behind-the-scenes tasks necessary to adjust to a user’s current state. Ambient computing is just that, except, replace the user with our individual realities!

Experiences like this exist in a few forms already and have for some time.  Arguably, the automatic door sensor is ambient computing.  Somehow, we’ve all been convinced to put Alexas and Google Homes in our living rooms, and we just speak to, well, the ambience, and it answers back. Amazon has officially launched cashier-less retail stores based on ambient computing concepts.  

Rapid Development of AI and ML

Constructing these experiences has only been possible very recently, as the efforts represent a true nexus of technologies including video and motion capture, artificial intelligence and machine learning applications like object and facial recognition, predictive analysis, cashless payment, etc.  And how has all of this been possible so quickly? Underpinning the rapid development and innovation of software is absolutely software openness. Openness in specification for process-to-process communication and openness in code for rapid development. Organizations should highly consider ensuring their software stack is utilizing open source software throughout to stay ahead of innovation and development. 

Migrating to Open Source

Getting ahead of the future of software development requires open source software. Building your software stack and getting enterprise level-support can seem overwhelming. How do you ensure you choose the proper technology mix? What technologies integrate with one another? Try the OpenLogic stack builder. The team at OpenLogic created this tool to help organizations easily get started with a recommended software stack. Receive This open source stack builder tool allows you to navigate your software stack with free, expert guidance along the way. Receive a custom report and framework for your OSS technology. 

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