Price (RRP): $around $200
If you have an air conditioner that uses an infra-red remote-control chances are that AMBI can reduce your energy use through AI – sometimes dramatically.
AMBI claim it is the world’s first AI remote-control for almost any AC unit.
Out of the box, AMBI has remote codes for more than 1200 current make/models. If you have an older AC, AMBI’s learning mode is almost foolproof. We tried it on a range of branded (Panasonic and Dakin) and no-name split systems, and it learnt quickly – provided you have the old remote with an LCD readout and a MODE button.
AMBI Climate 2 started life as a Kickstarter project, and 1,016 backers pledged HK$1,215,905 to bring the project to fruition. The Kickstarter page still lists a heap of useful background information.
Review: AMBI Climate 2 AI remote control
Well does AMBI work?
We can only comment on AMBIs functions as we lack historical data on the running costs of the Panasonic AC unit used for the test. AMBI claim you can save up to 30% in running costs and we will endeavour to prove that claim – albeit it may take a year of use!
Canstar Blue has a great article how much AC costs to run and states “Even small changes to the cooling temperature can make a considerable difference to the cost of using an air conditioner”. A typical 5kW AC will cost about 40 cents an hour to cool to 21° and 37 cents to 22° – a 10% saving.
The concept is that AMBI room measures room temperature, humidity, sunlight (or light levels), time of day and weather by being location-aware and connecting to the AMBI AI cloud.
As it can remotely control the AC, it can increase/decrease the fan, temperature, swing, humidity in micro-increments to achieve a stable room temperature. Most ACs simply measure return air temperature and flood out air at the set fan speed at 15-20° cooler. That is like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.
Given what we have seen over the test period it can save money by building a preferred climate profile and via micro-changes should save money. Perhaps more importantly by setting a geofence – once you move out of the room, it can switch the unit off until you return.
- The Android or iOS Ambi Climate app and log in to the AMBI cloud. You can share the app with others.
- Place the unit with a line-of-sight to the AC (in other words it works where the AC remote works)
- Plug in the micro-USB 5V/1A charger (supplied) – any USB charger will work as well
- Use the app to pair it to the home Wi-Fi 2.4Ghz
- Set location using the GPS map (it was spot on)
- Name the property
- Name the room
- Select your AC, or it can learn from your remote
- That is it!
The AMBI cloud collects data like an email address, location, password and either a brand/model or generic AC unit. As it uses a smartphone and geofencing, it could potentially track your movements – in the same way, Android, iOS and your telco can.
It can’t collect power usage or room movement (a motion sensor may be handy).
I guess you simply have to trust that a) the data is anonymised and b) it really is of little commercial use.
Voice control – yes.
It works with Alexa, Google Home and is IFTTT compatible. Developers can access an open API to make it part of a smart home.
I added it to Google Home, and it worked. “OK Google, turn on AMBI boardroom”. AMBI then takes over. IFTTT (If this then that) is interesting as you could link it to a smart garage door opening (or closing), motion sensors, electric blinds etc.
You can also use the app or a voice assistant to turn on-or-off the AC remotely.
That is a winning feature.
GadgetGuy’s take – AI and AC equal cost savings
While we cannot prove savings over test period we can say that it was more comfortable in the boardroom, geofencing worked and voice control as nice to have. The statistics were interesting.
The unit seems well made, the AI cloud does its job, and we look forward to using AMBI (the review unit stays with us).
Amazon has it for US$158.99 including an Alexa Echo Dot plus delivery to Australia.
MightyApe (An Australian online shop) has it for A$199 plus $5.90 Australia Post.