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How to Improve Communication Between People and Smart Buildings

January 10, 2019

When it comes to buildings and their occupants, USC researchers see a failure to communicate, yet improved dialogue between the two can help smart buildings work better for a sustainable society.

In a new study, researchers found that subtle changes in design of virtual assistants results in behavioral changes that can help the environment. The researchers found people connect better with a computer-generated avatar that represents building management. They found that social banter between machine and people gets better results.

The findings underscore how personal connections and social interactions key to human relations also foster cooperation between people and machines.

The study, “Establishing Social Dialog between Buildings and Their Users,” appears in the Dec. 27 International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction. It’s the latest study by USC scientists focused on the human-machine dynamic and is a product of convergent disciplines at USC, including engineering, communications and behavioral sciences. The study authors are from the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and the USC Institute for Creative Technologies.

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