In a previous post, I shared my experience integrating different Home Automation systems together. I received a feedback that there is now an Ambi Climate plugin for the Homey. I’ve now made the switch from integrating Ambi Climate with Google Home to integrating with Homey. Here is what I have learnt.
I took a cautious approach to make the switch, rather than a mass switch of all my 5 Ambi Climate devices, I start with one, the Ambi Climate device for my Study Room.
The overall process was simple, and here are the steps I took.
- Install the Ambi Climate plugin to Homey
- In Homey App, choose to add new device > Ambi Climate > Pick desired device
- Go to Google Home > add > Set up Device > Have something already setup > select Homey > Check for new Devices
- The new unit should show up after the refresh
The above are the two icons seen in Google Home for the same Ambi Climate device. The one on the left is picked up via Homey, and the one on the right is via direct integration between Ambi Climate and Google Home.
User Experience with the Ambi Climate Plugin for Homey
From within the Homey App, I get a typical tile with a nice Ambi Climate icon. Also, I like the inclusion at the top right corner of the tile, the target temperature Ambi Climate had set for the A/C. The two different shades of the icon represents the device being powered on or off. Tapping the tile, like most devices, will toggle the power action to switch On/Off the A/C.
A long press and release will bring you into the device details page. There are five sections, from left to right, Temperature, Power, Cooling Mode, Humidity, Homey device activity log. Be aware though, this plugin was developed with the assumption that Ambi Climate is to be operated only in the Comfort Mode. I would agree, as that is the real value of the Ambi Climate AI. For fine grain control of Ambi Climate, use the native app. If you have some ideas, feel free to provide feedback to the developer for the plugin.
- Temperature – this page reports the current measured temperature, and the temperature target set on the A/C. Everything here is read only, the dial is just for illustration. You can move it, but nothing will happen. The potential confusion on this page is that even if the A/C is switched off, the message can still read “Cooling down towards”. I would probably prefer it to just say “A/C is switched off” instead.
- Power – this page does allow you to power on/off the A/C
- Cooling Mode – Reports if the A/C is set to Automatic, Heat, Cool or Off. Again, this is read only, and changes made here are not applied.
- Humidity – reports on the measured humidity.
- Device activity log – shows running history on when the A/C was switched on/off.
At this point, you may ask, if we can only power on/off the A/C, what is the value of using Ambi Climate plugin with Homey. The power is with automation you can potentially do with it.
Below are screenshots from my attempt to create a simple flow, for illustration purposes. This flow will send push notifications to my phone with the current measured temperature.
Of course this is just an example, I don’t really have interest to be notified each time the temperature changes. One practical use perhaps, is to combine with other devices. For example, a trigger could be that the temperature has reached above a threshold, and the action is to close the curtains and switch on the A/C.
How about voice control with Google Home?
Although I have disconnected Ambi Climate with Google Home, there is now an indirect connection between the two via Homey. The good news is that Google Home still recognises these devices as aircon units, so I can continue to use the same generic voice commands “Hey Google, switch on the aircon”, and they still work just fine. Though I haven’t tested it, I don’t think the Ambi Climate specific voice commands will work anymore. Not really an issue for me, since I hardly use them.
I am happy with integrating Ambi Climate with Homey. It gives me access to different automation controls which I could not do via Google Home. I think the plugin is a great start, and I’ll be sure to provide feedback to the developer as ideas come to mind as I use the app more.