Whether you realise it or not, A.I and SMART home technology are quickly becoming part and parcel of our lives — as they are embedded into more and more objects we use on a daily basis — being integrated into everyday appliances including speaker systems, light bulbs, security cameras, power switches, door locks, smoke detectors, …the list goes on.
Most Singaporean households come with an air conditioning unit. Or two. Or more. It makes sense that the Ambi Climate, an A.I-powered AC controller would be a good fit for almost any home. The only real surprise here is that its first version was launched as late as May 2015.
Riding on its previous success, The Ambi Climate 2 (launched in May 2017) now comes with A.I machine learning capable of analysing both usage patterns (such as temperature and schedule) as well as environmental data (factors including humidity and weather conditions) to enhance comfort levels alongside energy savings.
Among its many features, The Ambi Climate 2’s accessibility is easily one of the best for comfort — after a sweltering day outside, the ability to switch on the AC while journeying back home — lets you come home to a room that’s already cooled down.
If you’re the owner of a Google Home or Alexa unit, you can even link them up and control the Ambi Climate 2 through a vocal command at home. A really understated perk, as you’re now able to change the AC’s temperature at night without having to turn on the lights to search for your remote control.
The Ambi Climate 2 also learns your personal preference for air-conditioning through use, with a range of (cutely named) feedback buttons such as “hot”, “too warm”, “a bit warm”, “comfy”, “a bit cold”, and “freezing”. Besides taking into account your feedback for the temperature, the machine also considers other environmental factors that could contribute to your assessment, such as the humidity level and time of day. As to whether these tweaks help to lower your energy usage and electricity bills, it will depend on your personal use.
During my “familiarisation period”, I found that the Ambi Climate 2 took a very “trial-and-error” approach as it adjusted to my personal preferences. During the first night, I woke up feeling too warm, possibly because it tried to factor in the cooler temperature outside and raised the temperature in my room. When using the Ambi Climate 2, users should take note that the machine requires several days to fully learn and understand preferences — expect the first few nights to be disruptive, especially if you’re a light sleeper easily roused from the room feeling too hot or cold.
Small Hassles in the Setup Process
When setting up the Ambi Climate 2 for the first time, you may find that it isn’t as intuitive as it should be. Apart from having minutes of setup waiting time for a QoL-enhancing product, its indicative lights are, well, not very indicative. It can be difficult to distinguish between when its orange light is “breathing” or “blinking slowly”.
It also took me more than one try to set it up, as the network could not be linked within my first two attempts, despite the app indicating that it was ready to be paired. I ended up having to repeat the process multiple times — the process seemed more time-consuming than it should have been — but it could be an issue unique to me only.
Best for Niche Target Audiences
Overall, I believe Ambi Climate 2.0 would work for a specific target audience, namely people who are particular about their environment and wish to have granular control of temperature and humidity levels within their area.
The improvement in comfort and convenience are not really much of a value-add to me. Ultimately, its lofty price tag of S$189 is not probably justified to most laypersons — I sleep and live well as is, and I’m not particular about coming home to a room that is always cooled and ready for me.
Yet, with the increasing prevalence of SMART home appliances, it is likely that the Ambi Climate(s) are a step into the future of how smart homes will operate. Future iterations with a more heartland-friendly price, and integration with other temperature-based appliances (such as fans, water heaters, or even fridges) may see it being worthwhile for most users here.