Eli Zelkha

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Eli Zelkha
Zelkha Ambient Intelligence.tif
Zelkha at a panel discussion on Ambient Intelligence
Elias Zelkha

(1950-05-04)May 4, 1950
Tehran, Iran
DiedJanuary 8, 2017(2017-01-08) (aged 66)
Alma materColgate University, Stanford University
Occupation(s)Entrepreneur, venture capitalist, professor
Known forAmbient Intelligence

Elias "Eli" Zelkha (May 4, 1950 – January 8, 2017) was an American entrepreneur, venture capitalist and professor. He was the inventor of ambient intelligence.[1][2][3][4][5][6]

He died on January 8, 2017, in Woodside, California, at the age of 66.[7]


Early life, education and career[edit]

Born in 1950 in Tehran, Iran to a Jewish family - Zelkha immigrated to the U.S in 1967. He graduated from Colgate University with a degree in International Relations and from The Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

He was a founder or co-founder of five companies. Kandahar Designs; Palo Alto Ventures; Livewall; Euro-Profile/i-Profile;[8] Vemm Brazil.[9][10]

He was at Tandem Computers where he led strategy and new ventures, including a partnership with Steven Spielberg's Starbright Foundation.[11]

Ambient intelligence[edit]

In 1998, Eli led the team of Simon Birrell, Clark Dodsworth, Doug Randall and Brian Epstein that invented and developed the ambient intelligence concept and who, with Simon Birrell, coined the term.[12][2][13] [14] It was presented by Roel Pieper of Philips at The Digital Living Room Conference on June 22, 1998.[15][16] [17]


Since its invention in 1998, Ambient Intelligence has become part of the core strategies of many of the world's leading technology companies, including Microsoft, Google, Amazon and IBM.[20][21] [22]

Seminars and teaching[edit]

At the Middlebury Institute of International Studies he taught entrepreneurship, venture capital and strategy.[23]

The Art of Failure[24] and Corporate and International Venture Capital.[25] He was also a lecturer on Scenario Planning And Uncertainty at the Stanford University School of Engineering.[26]


  1. ^ Arribas-Ayllon, Michael. "Ambient Intelligence: an innovation narrative". Lancs.ac.uk.
  2. ^ a b Olson, Nasrine; Nolin, Jan Michael; Nelhans, Gustaf (14 September 2015). "Semantic web, ubiquitous computing, or internet of things? A macro-analysis of scholarly publications". Journal of Documentation. 71 (5): 884–916. doi:10.1108/JD-03-2013-0033.
  3. ^ Nolin, Jan; Olson, Nasrine (2016). "The Internet of Things and convenience". Internet Research. 26 (2): 360–376. doi:10.1108/IntR-03-2014-0082.
  4. ^ Abate, Andrea F.; Marsico, Maria De; Riccio, Daniel; Tortora, Genny (11 November 2010). "MUBAI: multiagent biometrics for ambient intelligence". J Ambient Intell Human Comput. 2 (2): 81–89. doi:10.1007/s12652-010-0030-2. S2CID 16497909.
  5. ^ "Ambient Intelligence Knowledge Center: SemiEngineering.com".
  6. ^ Judith, Symonds (30 September 2009). Ubiquitous and Pervasive Computing: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications. IGI Global. ISBN 9781605669618 – via Google Books.
  7. ^ "Elias Zelkha, Menlo Park | California USA Obituaries". California.obituaries.funeral.com. Retrieved 2017-02-01.
  8. ^ "Virgo Capital purchases stake in research firm". 14 September 2007.
  9. ^ "QuinStreet Announces Acquisition of VEMM LLC in Brazil (NASDAQ:QNST)". Investor.quinstreet.com. 2015-04-16. Archived from the original on 2017-04-12. Retrieved 2017-02-01.
  10. ^ Aycock, Jason (16 April 2015). "QuinStreet acquires Brazilian lead-gen firm Vemm".
  11. ^ Legal Battles (1996-09-01). "The Good Deed". Wired. Retrieved 2017-02-01.
  12. ^ Wright, David; Gutwirth, Serge; Friedewald, Michael; Vildjiounaite, Elena; Punie, Yves (8 January 2008). Safeguards in a World of Ambient Intelligence. Springer. ISBN 9781402066627 – via Google Books.
  13. ^ "What is Ambient Intelligence?". YouTube. 1994-03-25. Retrieved 2017-02-01.
  14. ^ https://itea3.org/project/.../09026-LIFEWEAR-WP-4-D411STATEOFTHEART[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ ZDNet Editors. "'Digital Living Room' Webcast schedule". ZDNet. Retrieved 2017-02-01. {{cite web}}: |author= has generic name (help)
  16. ^ Aarts, Emile H. L.; Encarnação, José Luis (13 December 2006). True Visions: The Emergence of Ambient Intelligence. Springer. ISBN 9783540289746 – via Google Books.
  17. ^ Aarts, Emile H. L.; Encarnação, José Luis (13 December 2006). True Visions: The Emergence of Ambient Intelligence. Springer. ISBN 9783540289746 – via Google Books.
  18. ^ "Ambient Intelligence Laboratory – Test bed for Innovations". Ami-lab.org. Retrieved 2017-02-01.
  19. ^ "A I R Lab -- Ambient Intelligence Research Lab Stanford University". Archived from the original on 2017-12-25. Retrieved 2019-12-07.
  20. ^ Posted April 15, 2014 March 3, 2015 (2014-04-15). "Microsoft delivers data platform for the era of ambient intelligence | News Center". News.microsoft.com. Retrieved 2017-02-01.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  21. ^ Grossman, Gary (2016-05-07). "The next stop on the road to revolution is ambient intelligence". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2017-02-01.
  22. ^ Helft, Miguel. "Inside Sundar Pichai's Plan To Put AI Everywhere". Forbes.
  23. ^ "MBAG 8694A: Intl&Corp Venture Capital - Course Hub".
  24. ^ "The Art of Failure Intro by Eli Zelkha". YouTube. 2011-02-21. Retrieved 2017-02-01.
  25. ^ "Corporate and International Venture Capital - Eli Zelkha - YouTube". YouTube.
  26. ^ "Professor Eli Zelkha "Scenario Based Planning" - Stanford University, School of Engineering". YouTube. 2013-12-17. Retrieved 2017-02-01.