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This study introduces the concept of an intelligent wall as an autonomous part of a smart indoor environment for cognitive wireless networks. Here, an intelligent wall is a wall inside a building equipped with an active frequency-selective surface, simple low-cost sensors and a cognitive engine with machine-learning ability. Using simulations, it has been shown that the smart environment based on intelligent walls can react to the immediate demands of an indoor wireless system, control radio coverage and, consequently, influence the overall system performance. The concept of the intelligent walls is described and evaluated based on a simple implementation of an arrangement of two intelligent walls in a conference centre scenario. Artificial neural networks were employed in the cognitive engine. Elementary orthogonal frequency division multiple access static system simulations are used to analyse the influence of the smart environment on the system performance. Results are discussed in detail and typical characteristics of the aforementioned system are derived and summarised.