I’m usually cautious about Kickstarter campaigns, but when the data looks right I’m encouraged to peer deeper. Haruumi Shiode reached out to me with his CleanTech concept for a product called the Remo (which remotely controls wall unit air conditioners), and I have to admit the numbers looked interesting even though this is a business model I would have never considered.
Living here in the Midwest amidst routine central air conditioning and heating, it’s easy to forget that this may not be the experience everyone has.
In fact, according to Shiode, there are fully 1 billion portable air conditioners in the world for room cooling. There are 70 million in the USA and 130 million in Japan. There are 6 million in New York City alone.
Therefore his company, called Nature—which strives to bring harmony between nature and human-made devices—is approaching the air conditioning market with a device to automate wall mount AC use for convenience, monetary savings and environmental benefits. Nature should not be confused with The Nature Co.
It’s been a while since I bought a wall unit AC, but apparently these days most have an infrared remote control (like a TV). The Remo device syncs with the AC unit remote and then essentially becomes a web-connected, location-aware interpreter between the air conditioner and the Remo smartphone app. A special plug is coming soon for legacy AC units that may not have a remote.
The gist of how it works is simple enough; when you are not in your house or apartment, the Remo turns your AC unit off. If you are in your abode (or approaching it) it turns it on.
Bingo. Rooms in your house are cooled down.
You can also remotely change cooling settings and they have built in demand management/peak shaving capabilities so utility companies can get involved. Shiode and his cofounder and CTO Mash Ohtsuka did not reveal planned pricing but say it should be competitive.
I should also mention that Nature plans to provide IFTTT (If This, Then That), and Amazon Alexa integrations.