Summer in Hong Kong means junk trips, barbecues… and soaring air-con bills.
That’s why for the last month or so I’ve been checking out the Ambi Climate, a smart air-con controller from Hong Kong-based startup Ambi Labs. This unassuming little box plugs straight into the wall and your internet connection; an iOS or Android app enables you to control your AC straight from your phone. But it’s not just limited to ensuring that you can walk into an ice planet when you get home from a sweaty commute. Instead, the Ambi Climate is all about keeping it smart. Sensors read both the temperature and humidity in the room, adjusting the air-con to deliver your preferred temperature—which saves you money by avoiding pointless cooling or heating. It takes about a week of regular feedback through the app for the device to learn what you like—and since then I haven’t touched the remote. The app is eerily detailed, with complex histograms of preferred temperature and humidity vs. real temperature and so on. The main thing I’ve learned? I like my flat cooler than I thought I did. $1,388 sounds like a fair amount of cash for a fancy air-con remote—but with the energy saving I’m pretty sure you’ll make it back in a couple of months.