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Smart Thoughts

Let your space think for you – so you don’t have to

Great design has always possessed a certain level of thought and consideration. Thought is intrinsic to design – this has always been the case and shall continue to be. However, now there is an invisible aspect to space design that is exciting and state of the art; and is arguably set to become the norm in years to come. As futuristic as it sounds, the addition of the Internet and technology to a space, helping it communicate between the devices on its network and the inhabitants of the space, is going to fundamentally change life as we know it. Making the future closer and more possible than could have been imagined.

Although the technology has long been available, intelligent space design is only now coming to the fore.

Why?

The advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the smartphone, as well as its ubiquity, are some of the biggest driving forces to have sped up the implementation of intelligent spaces. Nowadays everyone has a smartphone – its technology has taken the world by storm. This smart device along with beacons containing smart sensors have enabled intelligent spaces to become a reality rather than a sci-fi desire.

But the most fundamental reason is the wide-spread use and availability of hi-speed WiFi. This coupled with the development of capable smart sensors and Bluetooth have made for ground-breaking developments in our world; allowing shared spaces to become even more thoughtful, helpful and fundamental to building a community.

Intelligent design in public spaces

The applications are endless for this technology and it is completely plausible that it will be used in parks, universities, museums, hospitals, hotels and offices. IoT is making it possible to connect all these devices over a network using high-speed internet. Leading to a customised experience, boosting sales and enabling a sharing and social virtual landscape.

Augmented experience

When city planning was done in the past, parks would often be included in the design. Along with this maybe a few running tracks or statues along with their plaques.

That’s about it.

Now we are seeing the emergence of the cyber park. Where people can have access to WiFi hotspots as well as other facilities; a major change to the urban landscape in recent history. It will help to empower citizens through their interaction in the physical and virtual landscape, through new experiences, creating a new openness that wasn’t previously possible.

Sensor technologies allow the recognition of smartphones and smart watches and then can relay interesting pieces of information, this could be helpful or informative, or the activation of artworks or art installation projects as they sense people approaching. The park becomes a connectable space in which the physical landscape is augmented by the virtual, enhancing the social capabilities and overall function.

Applications

Already been used by some parks and museums, you can soon walk into a space and have suggestions on routes and tours to take. For example, if you are interested in The Space Age, a specific route could be suggested when walking into the Smithsonian, through your phone or watch. Or, if you have a proclivity for 18th century history, the British History Museum would be able to suggest the best route for you.

In a hospital, you will never get lost again walking from department to department. Instead you will be guided and offered assistance wherever possible. Hospitals will even be able to recognize you as you walk-in based on your online registered profile; saving valuable time on check in and registration times. This could be further applied to hotels, which will be able to sense you when you walk in, inputting your details into the system, effectively checking you in. Saving precious time, possibly even logging your preferences so they are able to suggest activities or restaurants based previous positive reviews or experiences. All without you having to ask.

Don’t feel left out if you are a sports fan. Very soon, you’ll be able to go to a sports stadium and find your seat in an instant. You will never have to waste twenty minutes of your time, wandering around trying to find your seat or the nearest drinks vendor, again. Instead, you’ll be prompted to use a geo-tagged map which has all the info and specifications you need.

Conclusion

The future is essentially on our doorstep. And, while it is still experimental in nature and in application, as we have yet to see how the general public will navigate the use of smart spaces, the technology is available now. It is up to us and our creativity to see how it will implemented to customise our urban landscapes and our interactions for the better.

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