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Cold comfort: smart air conditioners take control of climate indoors

Hisense offers a smart line of air conditioners and dehumidifiers, while LG, Carrier and Samsung have new releases to provide the best indoor climate

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 March, 2018, 10:01am
UPDATED : Monday, 05 March, 2018, 10:01am

With winter coming to an end, hot steamy days and nights are just around the corner.

During spring in Hong Kong, relative humidity is at its highest and, while this is a sign of the long months to come, comfort is not the only thing at stake. A damp indoor environment is a breeding ground for mould and fungus which not only damage clothes, shoes and furnishings but are cited as a trigger for numerous health problems, including sinusitis, bronchitis and other respiratory conditions, and allergies.

So before the heat hits, it is wise to take control over one’s indoor climate – and just in time, Hisense has upped the convenience factor by launching a new line of smart home air conditioners and dehumidifiers.

“We are always thinking about how we can best address the needs of our consumers and make their interactions with appliances more convenient, comfortable and enjoyable,” says Mark Viken, Hisense USA vice-president of marketing, in announcing the HiSmart series with Amazon Alexa.

Ideal for renters who don’t want to leave behind expensive fittings when they move is the HiSmart portable air conditioner. It is controlled through a smartphone app from any location, or by asking Alexa on any voice-enabled device, such as Amazon Echo, Echo Dot and Echo Show. The unit provides cooling, fan and dehumidifier functions and, according to the company, operates at “library-quiet” noise levels.

Similarly, the HiSmart dehumidifier can be controlled through a Wi-fi-connected smartphone or via Alexa. Users can also receive alerts and programme humidity set points for better energy efficiency through the HiSmart app. With 1,000 sq ft of coverage, the unit should be well up to the task for the average Hong Kong flat.

Also debuting in 2018, LG has released its Dualcool air conditioner which householders can control with a single phrase from the entrance of their home, or from another room. In addition to its high energy efficiency and lower noise levels, this appliance employs LG’s DeepThinQ AI technology to direct more air flow in the direction of individuals in the room using spatial recognition.

While recognising the presence of people in the room, an intelligent sensor also adjusts the strength of the air flow depending on their proximity to the unit. By analysing the daily behavioural patterns of the residents, LG’s smart air conditioner learns what parts of the house require cooling at specific times of the day to maintain optimal temperatures and save energy.

Carrier, the brand which claims its founding father, Willis Carrier, invented modern air conditioning more than a century ago, is also moving with the connected times. Its 2018 air conditioner model is the most efficient yet, and with Wi-fi as a standard feature, users can communicate directly with it through any Android or Apple device, eliminating the need for accessories or third-party connected solutions.

Humidity management is also under control. An integrated relative humidity sensor allows the system to make intelligent decisions for a more comfortable space, while an infrared sensor will detect human movement to further reduce energy usage while a space is unoccupied.

Meanwhile, Samsung’s vision for open and intelligent Internet of Things (IoT) experiences to simplify everyday life extends to its latest air conditioners.

Specifically for Southeast Asia, where air conditioners are used throughout the year, Samsung has developed its first “wind-free” model. The integrated technology of this innovative design enables a cooler indoor climate and energy efficiency without the discomfort of direct cold air flow.

The sensor on the Wind-Free air conditioner is linked to the Samsung Connect app, and after measuring the temperature at home, communicates the reading by voice. If you think it’s getting too warm, simply ask Bixby, the digital assistant, to turn on the air conditioner before your arrival.

Along with its Family Hub refrigerator, these new generation coolers are already fitted with the brand’s Artik IoT chip and certified by Open Connectivity Foundation, the world’s largest IoT standardisation body, for interoperability criteria needed for IoT.

Samsung is accelerating its “IoT adoption for everyone” policy, with the aim of making all of the brand’s connected devices intelligent by 2020. According to Hyunsuk (HS) Kim, president, head of Samsung’s Consumer Electronics Division and Samsung Research, “these advancements will help consumers realise the benefits of a seamless and simple connected life”.