Artificial Intelligence and Pervasive Computing

How Artificial Intelligence uses Pervasive Computing with Hearables and Wearables

Pervasive computing, also called ubiquitous computing, is the growing trend of embedding computational capability (generally in the form of microprocessors) into everyday objects to make them effectively communicate and perform useful tasks in a way that minimizes the end user’s need to interact with computers as computers. Pervasive computing devices are network-connected and constantly available in an internet of things (IoT) ecosystem.

An IoT ecosystem consists of web-enabled smart devices that use embedded processors, sensors, and communication hardware to collect, send and act on data they acquire from their environments. The internet of things (IoT) offers several benefits to organizations. IoT encourages companies to rethink the ways they approach their businesses, industries and markets and gives them the tools to improve their business strategies.

Hearables

Think of a hearable as earphones or headphones. Most runners and cyclists use earphones for music. But, today, you can use these to gather your personal training information. The AI that is connected to your running or cycling data is feeding you real-time coaching information via a hearable.

Hearables or smart headphones are technically advanced, electronic in-ear-devices designed for multiple purposes ranging from the wireless transmission to communication objectives, medical monitoring, and fitness tracking. Hearables are, therefore, a manifestation of the concept of ubiquitous computing.

Ubiquitous computing (or “ubicomp”) is a concept in software engineering and computer science where computing is made to appear anytime and everywhere. In contrast to desktop computing, ubiquitous computing can occur using any device, in any location, and in any format.

Wearables

If you wear an Apple Watch or a sports watch, then you may be taking advantage of some of the features that use AI. As a runner, I rely on my Polar watch to give me feedback on the miles that I have run and my pace. It also gives me geographical information and other types of data, such as my heart rate, that can be downloaded for viewing after the activity. These wearables can track your progress and inspire you to sit less, move more, and exercise every day. Now, you can add AI programs such as VI Trainer that will give you real-time feedback on your performance during the activity. Think of this as a personal trainer on your watch. It is analyzing all the data and your performance and encourage you to step it up, or in some cases backing off because it’s just not your day. It’s pervasive computing that is using AI to analyze the real-time data and providing you optimal feedback through a Hearable.

From the VI Trainer website: The app logs data, including information about your fitness goals and stats like heart rate and step rate, from a two-hour workout and then creates a personalized training experience. Vi figures out what your optimal effort looks like, helps you reach a good step rate, and can also provide recommended Spotify playlists based on your taste. You can also get it to sync with other health apps on your phone, like Apple Health or Google Fit.

Wearables also include clothing that can monitor your perspiration, your heart rate, and other data, which allows for ubiquitous computing in sports and the medical community to gather real-time information on your health. This approach is especially important to monitor the health of the elderly and those that are in care facilities and workers in hazardous industries.  

Improvements in the Workplace with AI

Increasingly, organizations in a variety of industries are using the internet of things and pervasive computing devices with AI to operate more efficiently, better understand customers and workers to deliver enhanced customer service, improve decision-making, reduce risks and increase the value of the business.

Thanks to advancing technologies, wearables can do far more than count heartbeats per minute and the number of steps an individual takes in a day. The newest incarnations include AI that uses real-time data and sends an alert when it detects an emergency. Think of this as an automatic panic button. It’s that kind of wearable technology that can be used in hazardous industries such as construction, biomedicine, manufacturing, and transportation, where dangers from falls, heavy objects, liquids, chemicals and air-borne viruses pose a significant threat to human health.

Experts from ConstructConnect, a leading provider of construction information in North America, predict wristbands and wearables embedded into apparel and personal protective equipment such as gloves, boots, hardhats, and safety vests could prevent thousands of injuries and illnesses suffered on construction sites each year. But that’s not all. With the proliferation of intelligent and ubiquitous computing IoT-enabled watches, eyewear, bracelets, headgear, and footwear, among other things, a new era of improved safety for workers across all industries is on the horizon.

Below are just a few of the many devices identified in an article titled: Wearables at Work that show great potential to reduce costly accidents and save precious human life:

Biometric wearables

Sensors embedded into clothing and accessories that monitor internal and external factors and can acquire information in real-time to determine risks and send early warning signals. By tracking heart rate, body temperature, and other vital signs, these devices can also monitor workers’ movements, repetitive motions and posture, as well as send alerts in the event of slips, falls, over-exhaustion, or overheating.

Global positioning systems (GPS) and location trackers

In addition to accurately locating employees’ positions and generating their trajectory, GPS and location trackers can set secure safe zones and send warnings when breached, thus keeping workers a safe distance from dangerous areas, as well as hazardous chemicals and substances. For the logistics industry, especially the transporting of dangerous products, these monitors can accurately track staff and goods to ensure timely arrivals and troubleshoot in the event of delays.

Ruggedized smartphones

For industries where electrical, gas, or chemical hazards, remote working conditions, or extreme heat and cold present significant challenges, ruggedized smartphones provide an extra level of protection, with touchscreens and keyboards designed to function in extraordinary circumstances and respond to input through gloved hands. Outfitted with sensors and push-to-talk features, they allow seamless communication, monitoring, and risk detection, with military-grade durability.

Reshaping the Workplace

As artificial intelligence and pervasive computing with wearable technology continue to advance, human nature and the quest for simplicity, security, convenience, and speed continue to drive us forward towards a safer and more productive world.

No longer viewed as superfluous gadgets for fitness buffs and health fanatics, enterprise wearables and hearables with AI technologies have the potential to reshape the workplace in every field, including construction, raw material sourcing, manufacturing, and transportation.

Today’s enterprise wearables are offering workers the obvious benefits of improving productivity and reducing risks, but more importantly, they can empower workers with self-awareness. Armed with a sense of well-being and the motivation to make changes in their behavior, they’ll have the confidence to take charge of their health and surroundings on the job and off.

About Richard Guy

Rich has over 25 years of experience selling technology and optimization solutions. He has served a wide range of industries in manufacturing, distribution, utilities, and finance. He is a thought leader in effective application of optimization technology to achieve increased business profitability.

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