Kevin Ko

Kevin joined the Radius team as leader of the Asian studios after successful careers at Microsoft and Flextronics, and has studied, lived, and worked both in the USA (Go Badgers!) and Asia.

Enhancing AC Units with Digital Smart Home Innovation

Smart home technologies are all about interconnecting devices to automatically work together, with as little intervention as possible. Ambi Labs, an IoT startup, unveiled its Ambi Climate device in October 2014 as a gateway between smartphones and the (dumb) air conditioner units at home. But it isn’t just about replacing the remote control; what makes Ambi Climate unique is its machine learning capabilities which over time learn a person’s or family’s preferences by way of various sensors, while also saving energy according to user feedback. Now, almost 2.5 years later, the company partnered with our Hong Kong studio to unveil the Ambi Climate 2. Learn more about this journey here.

Compared to the original Ambi Climate device, this new version sports a similar yet more minimalistic black-and-white design, which is topped off with a shinier finish plus a touch of wood at the bottom. The three LED indicators are now combined into one in the form of Ambi Labs’ logo: it blinks yellow rapidly when booting up, pulses yellow when ready for setup, glows teal when connected, and blinks when responding to a command. After some learning, the Ambi Climate 2 will be able to automatically adjust the air conditioner for the user, as opposed to the user having to find the remote control or tap the application every time.

Our work with Ambi Labs was very educational. We learned how people all over the world have different temperature thresholds that they consider as comfortable. For instance, users in New York have a wider range of preferred temperatures, compared to users in Singapore who peak at around 77 degrees Fahrenheit (about 25 degrees Celsius). On the “freezing” end of the spectrum, people in New York tend to peak at 67 degrees Fahrenheit (about 19 degrees Celsius), while those in Singapore reported to find a broad range of temperatures to be “freezing.”

On top of Comfort Mode, Ambi Climate 2 also offers a Temperature Mode, an Away Mode (it only turns on the air conditioner to suit your settings), and a Manual Mode, as well as timer and scheduling features.

For more information about our work with Ambi Labs and the Ambi Climate 2, please visit us here.

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