Finally a smart home device that delivers
Most of them are garbage. They’re cheap, they’re unreliable and let’s be honest here they don’t really do anything we can’t already achieve by getting off our lazy asses. They’re “cool” — or we think they are — but really the moment you start talking to your house like you’re Tony Stark the faster your date starts walking towards the door and you realise you’re really just Zuckerberg. “Alexa, set lights to sad”.
Things are changing though and finally we’re starting to see useful applications of smart home technology that can better our lives as well as make them more convenient, and the Ambi Climate 2 smart AC controller is most definitely one of those.
Originally a Kickstarter project back in 2014 the first Ambi Climate was designed to automatically adjust your air conditioner’s settings to create what it determined to be the perfect environment. To do this it made use of a series of sensors inside the device to measure things like the room temperature, humidity & light as well as pulling in outdoor weather data and pumping them through a proprietary algorithm. The algorithm would then calculate the correct mode and fan setting on the connected air conditioner to maintain that optimal environment.
For the most part it did as advertised, but many felt the algorithm’s choices were slightly off and the resultant temperature, whilst perfect for some, was slightly hotter, cooler or just NQR for others.
Ambi Climate 2 goes a long way to solving that by introducing a new cloud based machine learning tool that allows the end user to customise the algorithm and develop their own custom climate profile.
A simple to use companion app serves as the feedback tool to customise your profile. When running in “comfort” mode the app’s screen simply asks the question “Comfortable?” and allows the user to select options ranging from “Freezing” to “Hot” and all the “Little to…” options in between.
After selecting any option other than “Comfortable” the system will adjust the A/C automatically based on your feedback as well as feed the information back into its AI model to further refine your custom profile.
Anything that can help me get a good night’s sleep in Australia’s 40+ summer nights is an immediate buy — smart home device or not.
It sounds a little over the top I know but I couldn’t be more impressed by it if I tried and I’ll tell you why. I hate sleeping with the A/C on, which if you’re living in Australia through a summer, you’ll know is a very hard thing to avoid having to do. I wake up groggy, I never sleep well and I’m constantly fighting with being either too hot, too cold, or just agitated at the thought of yet another 40 degree day about to hit.
All of that went away when I started using Ambi Climate 2 to control my A/C unit. After a few days of running the A/C in comfort mode I was able to provide it with enough feedback for it to develop a model that was good enough for me to get a quality night’s sleep. It wasn’t just because of the profile it had created either. Depending on the A/C unit it’s controlling and the functions it has available Ambi Climate will make use of all of the A/C’s modes and fan speeds instead of just relying on running “cool” with the fan on auto aiming for a manually set temperature.
Throughout the night Ambi Climate was adjusting my A/C unit constantly switching it from “cool” to “fan” and even turning the whole thing off and on with gradual steps that my body apparently didn’t notice, instead focusing on sleeping in a beautifully controlled, customised environment tailored specifically to me.
You don’t have to make use of the “Comfort” mode if that’s not your thing, in which case the Ambi Climate functions as a normal remote for your AC that has the added bonus of working anywhere your phone is. The same phone can also be used as a beacon for geo-location services activating or deactivating your AC when you cross pre-set boundaries not unlike most smart home devices these days.
Same goes for voice integration. The majors are supported (Google, Amazon) meaning you can bark orders into the void and have your A/C spark into life somewhat reliably at no fault the of Ambi Climate.
Getting up and running is as simple as plugging the Ambi Climate into a wall socket. Once powered up you go through the normal smart home hoops of having its companion app connect to the device’s adhoc WiFi network, supplying it your WiFi network name and password and then waiting for it to restart.
Device connected you now go through the process of selecting your AC unit, which isn’t hard but unlike other smart home AC controllers that determine the model for you via the remote being pressed, this felt a little old-school.
Once you’ve connected it up you’re ready to go, but before you walk away have a think about where you put the Ambi Climate in your room. One of its sensors that plays a major role in your profile is a light. In my profile luminosity accounts for 39% of the determined setting it sends to my A/C so be sure to place your device in a place that reflects the sunlight available to your room and not behind a couch or sheltered on bookshelf. Thankfully the IR blaster in the Ambi Climate is much more powerful than similar devices and allows for a wider range of placement options because of it.
Needless to say, I love the Ambi Climate. As far as smart home devices go it’s by far one of the most impressive I’ve used to date. It fulfils its promise in developing a custom climate profile that I feel represents my personal comfort in the room that it controls. Achieving that alone earns it my recommendation but that, coupled with a stable suite of smart home features like scheduling, geo-fencing and voice control, makes it a must buy for those investing in smart home tech.