Kickstarter’s Ambi Climate Raises the Bar for Smart AC Apps
A recent crowdfunding campaign is promising a solution to anyone who thinks they spend too much on air conditioning, and it’s as simple as installing a device on your existing air conditioner and buying an app.
The device is called Ambi Climate, and though it’s not the first technology created to link smartphones and air conditioning units, it may be the most sophisticated yet. Some cities, like New York, offer devices that connect to smartphones for free through power companies as a way to save energy and reduce blackouts. However, most of these devices simply allow users to schedule air output manually, and the power company often has access to the controls as well.
Other smartphone apps to control AC only work when certain requirements are met: HVAC systems need a wireless internet connection, or certain phone brands need extra hardware. Many of these apps have dismal reviews on the Google Play store that cite slow runtimes, brand restrictions and overly complex operating instructions.
Ambi Climate, however, connects to any existing air conditioning units (split, freestanding, window or central) that already use infrared remote controls.
The Android and iOS app’s near-universality is one of its most attractive features, but it also runs highly sophisticated algorithms that read the climate conditions in your home or workplace and adjust systems accordingly.
While users do have the option to control temperature conditions manually (from anywhere), the app also tracks data to automatically create the ideal climate. Data about a user’s location and wake-up times may be tracked to reduce systems when a resident is sleeping or out of the house, for example.
The device’s Ambi Mode even analyzes the condition of your home climate throughout the day, contrasting it with your AC unit’s performance and local weather conditions to create the best possible environment. The sensors built into Ambi Climate can also tell where you are in a room and collect data from there, making its readings more accurate than the readings from your AC.
“We are seeing much better control of HVAC systems compared to years past,” says Bo Thomas, President of Thomas HVAC. “You can still purchase basic thermostats from the big box stores and control the temperature but today we use controls that measure not only indoor temperature, but also outdoor temperature, humidity, and time of day or week. We also recommend using controls that are matched to your HVAC system. For instance Trane’s control have algorithms specific for your particular system, and these controls can be monitored and adjusted by any number of smart phones, tablets, and web browsers.”
The company claims that Ambi Climates ability to track analytics can even save customers up to 30% on the bill. It’s a deal many early adopters are already cashing in on, and the Kickstarter campaign has already reached its $25,000 goal. The devices are expected to ship out in June 2015.