Definition

intelligent system

Part of the Computing fundamentals glossary:

An intelligent system is a machine with an embedded, Internet-connected computer that has the capacity to gather and analyze data and communicate with other systems.  

Requirements for an intelligent system include security, connectivity, the ability to adapt according to current data and the capacity for remote monitoring and management.

Essentially, an intelligent system is anything that contains a functional, although not usually general-purpose, computer with Internet connectivity.  An embedded system may be powerful and capable of complex processing and data analysis, but it is usually specialized for tasks relevant to the host machine.

Intelligent systems exist all around us in point-of-sale (POS) terminals, digital televisions, traffic lights, smart meters, automobiles, digital signage and airplane controls, among a great number of other possibilities. As this ongoing trend continues, many foresee a scenario known as the Internet of Things (IoT), in which objects, animals and people can all be provided with unique identifiers and the ability to automatically transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. 

See a demonstration of how an intelligent system can work in a retail environment:

This was last updated in October 2013
Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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