Winner of Hong Kong Satellite, Ambi Climate shows how better control of your air-con system results in energy and cost savings, and improved comfort
Famously described by Singaporean ex-politician Lee Kuan Yew as one of mankind’s great inventions, the air conditioner is an essential appliance in Singapore and other tropical Asian countries. In fact, according to Singapore’s National Environment Agency (NEA), the air conditioner takes up the lion’s share of electricity consumption.
With air conditioning being so energy-intensive, it stands to reason that optimising air-con usage will result in proportionately large energy and cost savings. To this effect, Hong Kong-based startup Ambi Labs has come up with an intelligent air-con remote controller Ambi Climate, with the aim of improving indoor climate comfort and energy efficiency of air conditioners.
According to Ambi Climate, up to 70 per cent of households in some countries have their air-con temperatures set at a fixed level throughout the year. Obviously, since the weather is never the same, this results in lost efficiency on warm days, and wasted energy on cool days. In addition, too low a temperature could result in increased incidence of sore throat and dry skin, and a temperature set too high may foster the growth of harmful airborne bacteria.
Enter Ambi Climate. A small device that communicates to the air conditioner through infrared waves, Ambi Climate allows users to control air-con temperatures conveniently through an app on their phones. In addition, the Ambi Climate device collects data on air-con usage, user preferences, as well as regional weather forecasts. This enables Ambi Climate to ‘learn’ the preferred climate of their users, setting and tuning the air conditioner to achieve optimal, comfortable temperatures.
In addition, Ambi Climate also sports Wi-Fi connectivity, letting it receive the latest weather updates, as well as enabling users to control their air conditioners remotely. For instance, one could turn on the air-con just as leaving from work, and step into a cool, comfortable environment straightaway upon arriving home. Owners who are away from their homes for extended periods of time can also programme Ambi Climate to turn the air-con on and off regularly, preventing the growth of mould due to humidity.
Currently, Ambi Climate has a 3D-printed prototype up, though the controller app is still under development. Even with this, though, it is evidently popular enough with Hong Kongers to bag both, the Satellite win as well as the People’s Choice Award in the recently-concluded 2014 Echelon Hong Kong Satellite.
Of the win, Julian Lee, CEO and Founder, Ambi Labs said, “We’re very honoured to have won this year’s Satellite, especially because there were so many talented startups involved. We’ve been very focused on building out Ambi Climate’s features and are excited about the next stages of testing and development. We hope that sense of hard work and determination was communicated through our pitch!”
Lee added that the 2014 Echelon Hong Kong Satellite was a good, “Winning was a great boost for the team, to see our ideas and work being validated by not only a panel of judges, but an audience of people who seem to resonate with what Ambi Climate can offer. For the main Echelon event, we are looking forward to sharing Ambi Climate with a wider audience and aim to explore some business development opportunities in Singapore. We look forward to seeing how Echelon can help us connect the dots in the bigger picture!”
Echelon 2014 is a two-day Startup, Technology and Business event where Asia’s most innovative startups, early-stage investors and tech industry leaders as well as tech media, gather to celebrate and build Asia’s growing tech industry, as well as make valuable relationships.