Earlier last month, residents in Singapore went through an environmental crisis, when the weather dipped below 22 degrees Celsius. To the majority living in the tropical country that regularly sees 35 degree weather, this was the winter that brought along with jackets, hoodies and several bouts of existential crisis.
But if there was one lesson to be learned during this incident, it was that temperature wasn’t the only thing to consider when it came to determining whether it was too hot or too cold. A strong breeze can make it feel colder than it actually is.
And this is something that a Hong Kong start-up realised everyone should be aware of, when it launched its Ambi Climate smart climate control device in 2015.
On the surface, it is a networked device that owners could operate with their smartphones. Fancy a cold room to return home to at the end of a busy day? Fire up the app and turn on the air-con with your phone. The phone/app sends a signal to the Ambi Climate, which in turns sends an infrared signal to your air conditioner, to turn it on.
Want to raise or lower the temperature? Just use the app. Of course, this means that the device must have direct line of sight to your air-con, for this to work. Oh, and of course, do remember to close your door and windows before you leave the home in the morning, otherwise you’ll come home to a working air-con trying to cool a room with opened windows and door.
But more than just a tool to bridge the user with a cooling unit, the Ambi Climate is also a data recorder. It stores a user’s preferred temperature settings, and is able to determine the comfort level of an individual.
Because of changes in the temperature across the year, there will be times when a regular setting doesn’t quite cut it, and that’s where the Ambi Climate comes in. Instead of setting the air conditioning at Comfort level, users can basically give feedback to the unit by adjusting their comfort level, so that after some time, the unit is able to gauge what the user’s personal preferences are like. This setting is actually much easier to manage, as instead of using numbers on a scale that has no meaning, users simply indicate if it’s too cold, too warm, or just right.
For this the work though, a user must first be proactive in determining his or her own comfort level.
Set up wise, the unit makes everything fairly simple. Fire up the device, download the app and follow the on-screen instructions. If there is any difficulty though, it’s with determining which model of air-conditioning you are using. Ambi Climate has provided quite a long list of brands here, and you should check out this link to see if your home system is compatible. One caveat though – only systems using remote controls with LCD screens are compatible with the system.
Alas for me, I could not find the model of the remote for my LG Inverter air con unit. But users can opt to manually do this and because the website also offers photos of an extensive list of remote controllers, I was able to find one that closely resembled mine and once paired, everything worked flawlessly.
But is the Ambi Climate for you? I understand that some folks use it to regulate air conditioning units in the offices of SMEs, and that works, though you will need one unit for each air conditioning unit. It’s great for monitoring the air conditioning units in the room of your children, and to manually control the system on your phone.
But the nature of the weather here is that unlike places that have four seasons, chances are high that most windows in homes are left opened for air circulation, as closed windows can create a stuffy environment.
And the last I checked, there isn’t a smart solution to remotely closing those windows or doors.
But if those factors do not matter to you, the Ambi Climate is a worthy investment in controlling the comfort level of your home, all year long.