How to Make Your Dumb AC Smart - OZY | A Modern Media Company

How to Make Your Dumb AC Smart

How to Make Your Dumb AC Smart

By Vignesh Ramachandran


Because with summertime in full swing across the northern hemisphere, you’re going to need every ounce of cool air you can get.

By Vignesh Ramachandran

The thermostat has become sexy — at least since the Nest and Honeywell’s new Lyric transformed a mundane fixture on our walls into sleek gadgets that George Jetson would approve of.

But what about those of us who rent and can’t rip out the dumb thermostat that came with our rental and replace it with a smart one? Consider in the United States, for example, that about one in three Americans are not living in their own property and are accountable to landlords.

Instead of consciously burning through your security deposit, check out the new Sensibo device; it makes any remote-controlled air conditioner smart. No wires, no screws — just attach the little device with a bit of mounting tape. Your AC will work with a companion app — that works on both iPhone and Android smartphones, as well as (get this) the Pebble smartwatch — that lets you pick temperatures and settings from anywhere. 

Sensibo’s ‘brain’ tracks the weather outside your home, detects which room you’re in, and figures out when you are on your way home.

Whether you have a standing, window, split or central AC unit, Sensibo uses infrared commands to control the whole system. A main smart hub connects to your home Internet router and Sensibo Pods live on the air-conditioning units. You can connect up any brand you wish.

Sure, smartphone and smart TV — those make sense. But why a smart thermostat? The biggest reason for devices like Nest and Sensibo are that their smarter programming can help reduce your energy consumption — thus saving you money and likely better for Mother Earth. Instead of a traditional thermostat, Sensibo’s “brain” allows it to track weather outside your home, detect which room you’re in using iBeacon technology and even figure out when you are on your way home via a geofence. That means the AC is on and off when it needs to be, saving power when cool air would probably be wasted.

The Israel-based team behind Sensibo is raising funds on Indiegogo to take the product into production. With about a week left to go, the campaign is still hot, already surpassing its $70,000 goal at about $144,000. Supporters can get a Sensibo kit for one AC unit for $99, which is a bit lower than the $159 retail price.

So while giving your AC an IQ boost might sound pretty snazzy, get ready for many more smart home improvements. The market for devices to connect the home is really taking off. Just recently, Nest Labs touted its developer program, so techies can figure out ways for different types of connected devices to work together. For example, if the Nest Protect smart smoke detector were sounding an alarm, it might work with LIFX smart lightbulbs to flash red lights in your house as added warning. Or consider when your Jawbone wearable fitness tracker detects that you’re awake: Your Nest thermostat could automatically kick the air into gear.

Now if only there were an app to control the weather outside.

Sign up for the weekly newsletter!

Related Stories