HOWTO: Using HBB To Extend Alexa Hue Bridge

Posted on
Mon Dec 18, 2017 6:19 pm
Colorado4Wheeler offline
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Joined: Jul 20, 2009
Location: Colorado

HOWTO: Using HBB To Extend Alexa Hue Bridge

So you don't want to use Siri but you like Alexa? Or maybe you like to use a mix of the two, like I do. Let's face it, Alexa's microphone is far better than screaming at your iPad and since Apple so wisely (not) pulled the HomePod from the market for Christmas (and even when it comes out it'll be a mint to purchase) I thought I would share some thoughts on how I "cheese" the Alexa Hue Bridge using HBB.

First off, you don't have to USE Homebridge or Siri to use Homebridge Buddy, but the extra tools that come with HBB could prove useful.

Before HBB was an all-inclusive installation of Homebridge plus all the management of said Homebridge, it was designed as a way to manage and manipulate the Homebridge-Indigo installation. To that end I created Aliases and Wrappers that let you tweak devices to be "native" to voice controls.

Now that Alexa lets you use action groups you can do a lot more, but here's a couple of examples of how I use HBB devices with my Alexa Hue Bridge:

  • Using an HBB wrapper I have four devices for each preset of my various cameras where turning them ON results in executing the preset as an action group and turning them OFF executes a preset of "default" where I want the camera to be parked under most circumstances
  • Using an HBB alias on my sprinklers there's a hidden and unpublished feature (because it's experimental) that when you create a sprinkler it will then create and manage the zones for the sprinkler so you can tell Alexa to "turn on zone 1" to turn on the sprinklers. These are actually dimmers too, so when you set up the sprinkler zones you tell it the max time, say 100 minutes, so you can say 'Alexa set sprinklers to 25%' and that will water for 25 minutes. Cool huh?
  • Using HBB wrappers I define the On/Off/0%/25%/50%/100% settings to execute different action group scripts that I use to control my drapes. I have the Add-A-Motor drapes that just react to off and on commands, so my scripts know to turn it on for, say, 5 seconds to get to 50%. Using that I can say "Alexa set side curtains to 50% and they will be half closed".
  • Locking and unlocking doors via Alexa is dangerous, and there's now the ability to turn on/off the capability to voice control a "server" in the Alexa Bridge via a variable. That's an easy one, on one Alexa Server I have my locks and doors and windows and on another is a HBB wrapper called "Device Security" that when I turn it on can set the variable or when I turn it off set a different variable. Now, for me, I also use this to actually start and stop the Homebridge Buddy server that also only controls those devices so that when I leave the house my geofencing will execute a Security Off command to prevent someone from standing at a window and screaming "Alexa, Unlock The Front Door"

For all of this you don't even need to enable the HBB server and can simply use the devices to do some pretty cool stuff with Alexa or with Siri, your choice. Frankly I built the wrappers and aliases so that if you could dream up a scenario then it could likely be voice controlled. I haven't touched a control page or used the Indigo client in so long I think I forget how to :).

My Modest Contributions to Indigo:

HomeKit Bridge | Device Extensions | Security Manager | LCD Creator | Room-O-Matic | Smart Dimmer | Scene Toggle | Powermiser | Homebridge Buddy

Check Them Out Here

Posted on
Tue Dec 19, 2017 7:19 am
autolog offline
Posts: 3499
Joined: Sep 10, 2013
Location: West Sussex, UK [GMT aka UTC]

Re: HOWTO: Using HBB To Extend Alexa Hue Bridge

Hi @Colorado4Wheeler,

Thanks for posting your "use cases" for the Alexa-Hue Bridge. :)

As the current developer, it is nice to know that some of the extra additions to the plugin are being used - it makes the effort seem all the more worthwhile. :D

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