Voice Control Direction

What voice activated home automation interests you the most?









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Posted on
Wed Aug 23, 2017 1:51 pm
Colorado4Wheeler offline
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Re: Voice Control Direction

jay (support) wrote:
It could definitely be done. My question is whether it would be a sustainable 3rd party solution.


Probably not, it's one of the several reasons I abandoned the original project. Homebridge does what I like and it seems that is the more popular voice control anyway. Makes sense too, Indigo is a Mac based product so why not keep strong within the Apple based ecosystem.

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Posted on
Wed Aug 23, 2017 4:23 pm
jay (support) offline
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Re: Voice Control Direction

I'm definitely not saying that Alexa isn't worth it (I like it much better than Siri) - I'm saying that it's a feature that really is better provided as a part of the product given the amount of plumbing required to support it (or, at the least, the plumbing required to support services like it). Siri can't (yet anyway), but fortunately there is a viable 3rd party solution.

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Posted on
Wed Aug 23, 2017 6:35 pm
Japple55 offline
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Re: Voice Control Direction

I voted for the Echo, but only because that's the first path I've gone down, so I have no experience with anything else. I might be open to others if I knew more about them. I don't care whether I say Siri or Alexa, I just want things to happen correctly when I speak. It would be great to see a side by side comparison of the pros and cons of each.

Posted on
Thu Aug 24, 2017 9:01 am
bkmar1192 offline
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Re: Voice Control Direction

My 2 cents: I switched to Alexa when HBB started crashing. I know that the Hue bridge is a bit of a hack but I find it covers most of my needs. I can turn on/off lights, change volume on my speakers (airplay), play music, etc.

I like not having to say, "Alexa, tell Indigo to...". I am not sure I would do much more if I had a native skill.

That said, I have considered rolling my own voice system but, as some one said earlier, not sure about the microphone.


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Posted on
Thu Aug 24, 2017 9:59 am
Colorado4Wheeler offline
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Re: Voice Control Direction

My take on Alexa is that I LIKE her but she's too weak for me. Using the Hue Spoof method means she only controls lights and outlets natively, using the Skill method means I have to add "Alexa, tell Indigo..." to each request.

I know there's some pushback against HomeKit and Siri, but personally I like both quite a bit. The voice automation I do in my house started out as 100% Siri but since I was doing it with iPhones in strategic places it became frustrating when she couldn't hear or understand me from a distance. I upgraded to Alexa and that improved things significantly in that regard but I lost some of the capabilities of HomeKit that I liked. Today I'm about 60% Alexa an 40% Siri only because of Alexa's microphones, once I get HomePod that'll probably be the end of Alexa as my primary.

One other thing I really like about HomeKit is the control page. It's basic, yes, but I have to do exactly zero more "stuff" to get a control page for the 1-2% of the time that I need to actually tap a button on my iPad to do something. I'll still use my Room-O-Matic too, because I built some super cool stuff into it, but rarely.

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Posted on
Thu Aug 24, 2017 10:12 am
jay (support) offline
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Re: Voice Control Direction

Colorado4Wheeler wrote:
My take on Alexa is that I LIKE her but she's too weak for me. Using the Hue Spoof method means she only controls lights and outlets natively, using the Skill method means I have to add "Alexa, tell Indigo..." to each request.


That's only partially correct. The Smart Home Skill API in the ASK allows control of a variety of devices: theater, lighting, lawn, heating/cooling (fans, radiators) and thermostats, washer/dryer, cleaning (roomba etc), kitchen devices, cameras, security, appliances/outlets, cooking. I believe if your device type fits into those categories then they can be used without the extra tell Indigo. The controls for those things are already built into the the standard language model.

Executing action groups, changing variables, or custom actions would require the namespace qualifier and the skill would have to define the specifics about what language to use to get them to work. I don't believe there's any way to do custom language skills in HomeKit so you're restricted to just the types that it understands.

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Posted on
Thu Aug 24, 2017 10:16 am
Colorado4Wheeler offline
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Re: Voice Control Direction

Yes, but that is if you develop a Skill, no? Hue bridge won't do all of that will it?

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Posted on
Thu Aug 24, 2017 10:26 am
jay (support) offline
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Re: Voice Control Direction

Correct - a native skill is required because the philips hue (which the plugin mimics) doesn't support anything but lights. Just pointing out that this:

Colorado4Wheeler wrote:
using the Skill method means I have to add "Alexa, tell Indigo..." to each request.


is only partially true.

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Posted on
Thu Aug 24, 2017 10:38 am
Colorado4Wheeler offline
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Re: Voice Control Direction

I wasn't aware of that. When looking at the other numerous home automation skills they all have the Tell XYZ... command set so I assumed it was universal.

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Posted on
Thu Aug 24, 2017 10:46 am
bkmar1192 offline
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Re: Voice Control Direction

Just curious - what are you doing with Siri that you can't do with Alexa?


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Posted on
Thu Aug 24, 2017 10:54 am
Colorado4Wheeler offline
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Re: Voice Control Direction

bkmar1192 wrote:
Just curious - what are you doing with Siri that you can't do with Alexa?


A few examples would be opening and closing my garage door, locking and unlocking doors and, essentially, doing anything I want. Of course I use HBB and that means I have access to run any action, script, device or combination as I want. It's also much easier for me to do these things remotely.

Now, one thing I DO love about Skills and Alexa is the other stuff I can do, and for that reason I won't ever let it go because we do 100% of our grocery list via "Alexa tell OurGroceries to add XYZ".

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Posted on
Thu Aug 24, 2017 10:57 am
Colorado4Wheeler offline
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Re: Voice Control Direction

bkmar1192 wrote:
Just curious - what are you doing with Siri that you can't do with Alexa?


Another, more obscure, thing I like about using HB is that I can configure multiple servers to serve different people. For instance I have a guest HB server so the guests can "hey Siri" the guest suite and accessories and I have one for my wife so she has access only to what she needs and doesn't get flustered by having too much or accidentally fire up something she shouldn't. I also have another that holds all of my secure items (like locks and cameras) that allows me to use HB server #1 to completely disable all security features on HB server #2 when I'm on vacation so that there is no potential of getting hacked.

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