Ambi Labs Discuss Ambi Climate, Kickstarter And The Internet Of Things

The home of the future is beginning to sound like an exciting prospect. From facial recognition security to smart fridges there has been no shortage of technologies developed over the last twelve months intended to simplify the everyday demands of home life. One of the most exciting innovations we have seen this year, however, is the new air conditioner upgrade created by Ambi Labs called Ambi Climate.

The device, a small and sleek white box, allows you to synchronise your smartphone with any compatible infrared air conditioner (unlike Nest which only works with central systems). Thus, it lets you control your home’s output of air from wherever you are in the world. For instance, those living in areas with erratic weather who do not wish to come back to a house that is either too warm or too cold will be able to adjust the A/C manually before they return home. They can do this manually via the aforementioned smartphone app (perfect for people who have pets at home that they wish to keep comfortable) or let its geo-location service do it for you when you come in proximity of your address.

As Martin Kessler, the CMO of the Hong Kong based start-up, told us: “Air conditioners haven’t actually changed a lot. When you think about it, they are still relatively stupid. They have never reached the right comfort level; when you come back home and it feels hot and stuffy, you don’t really want to go home to a home like that. So, the thing that Ambi Climate also allows you to do is to turn on the air conditioner right before you arrive so you can have a cool home when you are there.”

Furthermore, Ambi Climate has the ability to make sure you are using the right amount of air conditioning. It can not only memorise your preferences and routines but also factor in things like outside temperatures and sunlight (which its competitor Tado cannot do) to maintain a comfortable climate at home. This is achieved through the Ambi Cloud system that saves data about indoor and outdoor climates – so you don’t even need a smartphone for this to work! The team at Ambi Labs hope that this will help make temperature control far easier in the homes of the future and help its users conserve energy in the process.

Martin Kessler continued: “A bunch of people leave their air conditioner on for the entire day and that’s really bad for energy consumption and the environment. Ambi Climate helps to prevent those kinds of issues.”

Ambi Climate is currently raising money on Kickstarter to bring the product to the masses, build a web interface, integrate itself with If This Then That’s service and open an API for third party services. With two weeks left of their Kickstarter campaign, Ambi Labs has already managed to raise close to $100,000, guaranteeing it will become a reality in the near future. However, it wasn’t all success for Ambi Climate; the product has seen its fair share of challenges to get to this point.

Ambi Climate was initially intended to be exclusively for households in East Asia. Therefore, Ambi Labs first decided to launch the product on the Singapore crowd-funding platform Crowdivate. As Martin Kessler told us, the campaign did not go well.

“We thought this might be the new platform to rally Asian users and make it really happen. At that time, we didn’t believe Kickstarter would become very big in Asia, same for IndieGoGo. So we went with them, and it went terrible. I think we didn’t even raise $15,000. It ended up around $12,000.”

He continued: “It was devastating to us. We thought, like, ‘Oh my God, we have this big thing on our hands. How do we go on from there? How do we recover from that?’ That is really when we looked outside. We had a few people coming to us and they were asking ‘Why are you on Crowdivate? Why don’t you go on Kickstarter?’. The more and more we spoke to people, the more and more we realised that Kickstarter was very much a popular platform around here.”

Ambi Labs revised their campaign plan, learning from the mistakes of their failure, and turned to Kickstarter in one last hope for receiving backing. It very quickly became a success; to date there are 662 backers from places including Malaysia, India, China, Canada and America.

Products like Ambi Climate are going to inevitably play a crucial role in the Internet Of Things and therefore begs big questions about the many ways our homes will embrace technology in the years to come. The device provides us a glimpse into how we will potentially have the power to let appliances and tech communicate, thereby streamlining the way we perform basic household tasks like maintaining security, preparing food, cleaning up and, of course, air conditioning.

Ambi Labs’ Martin Kessler said: “When you look at the household right now there are so many devices that are kind of dumb and haven’t changed in the last 50 to 100 years so I think there is still plenty of space for improvement. I think we are just at the beginning of the modern age of the Internet Of Things.”

But how will Ambi Climate develop as this technology advances and the smart home becomes a tangible concept? Mr. Kessler believes that Ambi Labs’ device won’t stop here and will continue to find new ways to make this area of home life simple and manageable.

“The vision of the company is to improve household appliances so [adapting as new tech arrives] is something that is realistic,” he said. “We will definitely try to further improve air conditioning.”

To find out more have a look at Ambi Climate’s official website.