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Conversational Bricks and The Future of Architecture: Will < Stores > Survive as the Epicenter for <Retail > Activity in Society?

Brian Subirana, Nava Haghighi, Richard Cantwell, and Sanjay Sarma
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Auto-ID Laboratory, Cambridge, USA
Abstract—The most advanced IoT technologies enable giving physical objects human-like personalities and allowing humans to “converse” with them in any environment. In this paper, we explore the disruptive potential of adding conversational capabilities to any construction material such as bricks and in particular, explore retail and conversational commerce with the aim of designing physical spaces that can compete with e-commerce. We define conversational architecture as the design of buildings enabling human engagement with objects, physical environments, and virtual entities using conversational speech. In a time where digital content and virtual spaces are becoming more relevant through personalization and anticipation of needs, conversational commerce technologies can create a seamless experience between the digital and the physical, making both experiences more rich, while helping bring the relevance of digital experience to physical. In this paper, we will discuss open areas of research in conversational architecture through examining the enabling technologies and open problems that need to be addressed. We contend Conversational Architecture is a building technology that may ensure long-term sustainability of collective architecture and hope to accelerate research and policy discussions in this new and emerging field. 
 
Index Terms—Internet of Things, Conversational Architecture, Conversational Commerce, Customer Experience, Building Technology, Conversational Bricks, Talking Bricks, Architecture, Retail

Cite: Brian Subirana, Nava Haghighi, Richard Cantwell, and Sanjay Sarma, "Conversational Bricks and The Future of Architecture: Will Survive as the Epicenter for Activity in Society?" International Journal of Structural and Civil Engineering Research, Vol. 7, No. 3, pp. 238-245, August 2018. doi: 10.18178/ijscer.7.3.238-245
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