Ambi Climate is a small, sleek internet of things (IoT) device that makes your existing infrared remote-controlled air conditioner smart. It aims to make your aircon usage more efficient and hence lower your energy bill.
Ambi Climate uses predictive climate control by monitoring the temperature and environment both inside and outside maximizing energy use. In fact, thermal comfort isn’t about temperature alone. That is why Ambi Climate takes into a consideration sunlight, temperature, humidity and other elements to maintain a more comfortable, energy efficient interior environment. The device also learns from your own preferences and daily routine, and will tailor your indoor climate around you and your family
Ambi Climate was launched in Kickstarter on 7th October 2014 and after raising US$114,892 out of their initial goal of only US$25,000 from 749 backer, it was officially funded on 14th November 2014.
For Kickstarter backers, the Ambi Climate started shipping for them from 28th August 2015.
For the rest of us who didn’t backed it on Kickstarter, we can pre-order the Ambi Climate for US$144 (S$203) from Ambi Climate’s website and you will get it in September/October 2015. Standard shipping is free and expedited shipping will cost you US$20 (S$29).
Before getting the Ambi Climate, make sure your air conditioner remote is supported by them by checking it against their Ambi Climate’s Remotes Compatibility Page. Despite supporting lots of major air conditioner manufacturers, they are still tons of remote control variations for each individual manufacturer. So if your air conditioner remote is not in the list, you can always let them know it by submitting a request to them.
As a developer, I am naturally interested in their API to see if I can integrate it with other services. A very good integration is with Amazon Echo, so I can ask Alexa to turn on or off my air conditioner.
The API was actually a stretch goal of US$100,000 and they met it. So we can expect IFTTT integration and open API eventually. The reason I said eventually because the last I checked with them, it is not in the near future, so I am guessing it will be early next year.
- WiFi: 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11n (2.4GHz)
- Dimensions: 10.5 x 5.2 x 8.8 cm
- Weight: 150g
- Power: 5V DC, 1.0A via micro USB power cable
- Transmission: 5 infrared transmitters (for AC connection)
- Bluetooth: 4.0 Low Energy, for iBeacon/micro-location
- LEDs: Three front-faced LEDs, for Wifi Connectivity, Ambi Motion Sensor, and Ambi Cloud Connection
The Ambi Climate has to be placed within the line of sight of your air conditioner for it to work (duh). The range is between 2m to 4m.
I placed my Ambi Climate on my table which is facing the air conditioner which is about 2m away.
Next setting up the Ambi Climate is pretty straightforward and it is the same as how you setup all IoT devices. You connect to the Wi-Fi network of the IoT device and have the IoT device connects to your wireless network.
Note that similar to Google Chromecast, Ambi Climate, doesn’t support 5GHz wireless networks, so it will only work on 2.4GHz wireless networks.
The app has some slight learning curve, so be sure to read the User Guide and pay attention to the User Tutorial that will appear when you have finished the setup.
Using The App
There are 4 main buttons on the app. Top left and right followed by bottom left and right. For the top left button, it gives you the main menu. For the top right button, it gives you your climate settings.
For the bottom left button, it tells you your climate history and on the bottom right, it allows you to change your mode (I call it the power button).
The power button allows you to set 5 different modes to your Ambi Climate. They are Comfort Mode, Temperature Mode, Away Mode, Manual Mode and Off.
Comfort Mode – Ambi Climate needs to learn what is comfortable to you and from your feedback it uses this understanding to automatically adjust your air conditioner. You can let the app know how comfortable you are by tapping the button that corresponds with your current comfort level.
Temperature Mode allows you to set target temperature that you would like your room to be at. Ambi Climate will then select the best settings to maintain this temperature.
Away Mode basically allows you to set a threshold temperature of your room when you are not around and Ambi Climate will only switch on the air conditioner when it is needed to archive the threshold. This mode is not really applicable for homes in Singapore because when we leave the house, we normally turn off the air conditioner.
The Manual Mode basically lets you control your air conditioner like you would use your physical air conditioner remote.
Off Mode basically switches off your air conditioner.
I have been trying the Comfort Mode for two weeks now and I think it has gotten the hang of my comfort level.
For the first week, I have to indicate my comfort level with regards to the temperature of the room. Sometimes the temperature hits 27°C like 5am and I am awoken because it is too warm, I will open up the Ambi Climate app and indicate it.
In general, my personal rule is any temperature above 30°C as “hot”, between 26°C to 29.9 as “too warm” and between 24°C to 25.9°C as “a bit warm”.
I looked at the climate history and notice Ambi will blast the air conditioner at 17°C when I first switched it on and once the room is cooled to about 24°C, it will toggle the air conditioner temperature between 24°C and 26°C. Before Ambi Climate, I will just set my air conditioner temperature fixed at 24°C.
I am glad that it has learnt my comfort level and I no longer have to indicate anything. My room temperature now hovers around 24°C and I trust that Ambi Climate knows what is the best way to archive my comfort temperature and at the same time reduce energy consumption.
I find the comfortable mode of the Ambi Climate has better control of the room temperature than me setting the fixed temperature using my air conditioner remote. But I think this reason alone can’t justify the cost of the Ambi which retails for US$144 (S$203) excluding shipping.
*UPDATE 23rd November 2015* Ambi Climate is now being sold in Singapore officially by Axtro Sports (JMD Pacific Pte Ltd). It will be available online at axtrosports.com and also be available at selected retail stores starting from early December 2015. The recommended retail price (RRP) is S$279.
I am excited about the Open API of the Ambi Climate, and that will really improve my life because I can integrate it with Amazon Echo and get it to switch on or off my air conditioner just by using my voice.