CES to Offer New Take on the Future of Ambient Experiences

For 20 years the quest and definition of Ambient Intelligence (AmI) has been the purview of think tanks and device manufacturers. Defined in the 1990’s by Eli Zelkha and a team at Palo Alto Ventures, the pursuit of pervasive presence for humans and responsive connection with the computed environment has been the goal of multinationals and government entities. Most recently, the concept of creating environments that are responsive to the presence of individuals is making its way into the consumer electronics and personal computing space, which we expect will make a compelling splash next month at CES in Las Vegas.

Slowly creeping into the consumer world, connected devices powered by IoT have shown potential, but often suffered from user interface issues or security compromises. In the last two years however, the invasion of smart speakers should be viewed as a state change, the proverbial canary in the coalmine.


While gamers and mobile players have become one with the idea of their presence affecting their virtual state and revealing their mental view of the world, only recently has a larger more general audience found value in this new approach. An increasing number of consumers are now interested in extending their control and influence by using their presence to affect the nature of their experience. This is a profound change in our collective view of how we imagine our daily interactions with external systems.

Two key areas will be initially important for media players. Straight forward aggregation and recommendation will see a new intimate level of interaction and influence users to resist change in a even more persistent way. However, the potential to imbed ambient intelligence within the entertainment experience should be the focus and ultimately the greater opportunity for the future of media companies.

Inclusion of the mental state and expectations of media consumers will morph into a new state of player, user, and viewer as the next necessary progression of the entertainment experience. It will influence or determine the success of media production and promotion.

Where and how the most successful integration of ambient intelligence and media experiences will emerge is an unknown at the moment, but based on the response to smart speakers and mobile AR games the adoption will be quick and wide ranging across age and demographics.

We’ll be searching at CES for signs of these new areas and have no doubt that companies will be trying to extend the impact and connection of IoT potential, especially as Amazon, Google and Apple activate the ambient expectations across all of society.

We at ETC want to understand all the dimensions of impact and potential as we track the attempts to extend sensors and the ability of computed images to involve and entertain our guests. What will initially appear as a slow burn will be viewed in hindsight as a watershed event when generational acceptance meets new personal power — and traditional interfaces disappear and thought becomes (inter)action.

For more information on CES 2018 (#CES2018), visit the event’s official website or its Facebook page. If you plan on attending, you can save $200 when registering by December 18. The ETCentric community should also be interested in C Space at CES, which examines “disruptive trends and how they are going to change the future of brand marketing and entertainment.”

The ETCentric team will have the latest in new products and trends with live reporting from CES in January.

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