Simplest between Google Home and Alexa

I've been asked to setup a system for my sister.
I currently use Echo Speak with Alexa's and LOVE IT. For some reason, when Heroku ended, I've never had to setup a docker/etc setup and my setup continues to work. At some point that won't be the case and I'll have to figure out the Docker setup. After enough reading of details by very smart people I'll figure it out.

In the case of my sister (non-tech) in another state, having some extra requirements like Docker will be problematic.
My questions are..

  1. If she buys google home minis the use of those for voice assist self contained to apps installed on hubitat ?
  2. I've searched but its unclear whether a person can manually reset cookies on Amazon ( is that feasible or a mess).
    3.Since VOICE is SO critical to the smart home, is there any chance that Hubitat developers would develop the code in the hub to manage the cookies on Amazon. THIS WOULD ROCK !

1.) I just use the stock GH integration, and it works fine for us. The community integration enables more types of stuff (e.g. blinds) to be added directly. Once a device is passed to GH, you can manage it fine from within GH. But going through GH is not something we use very often, so I can't say I've exhaustively kicked all tires.

2.) Not a Alexa user, so can't help with that one.

3.) I'd wager very few Hubitat users share your sentiment that voice is "SO critical" to smart home. I don't say that to be argumentative, it's just that most of us appreciate HE (in particular) as an automation tool, not as a gloried remote control. Voice control has its merits, but most of us consider it a convenience at best and not a critical component.

Have you considered just going all in on a GH-only based setup for your sister? That may be more her speed... I would never attempt supporting a Hubitat setup for a non-techie family/friend out of state, but that's just me.

I have a house full of Alexas. I also have one Google Nest assistant that I purchased when the Alexa Speaks quit working due to Heroku issues.

I tried setting up the Google device to work to announce when the washer and dryer cycles were completed, but it has never worked properly.

For my announcements, I use a couple of Ecolink Z-wave Chime/Sirens

Depending upon the size and layout of your home, one might be sufficient. The thing I like about these devices is that they are connected directed directly with Hubitat using Z-wave. Thus, they do not need an internet connection. Furthermore, they have a battery backup, so they continue to function even when power is out, assuming you have your Hubitat on backup power.

The Ecolink device comes with some built-in sounds, but you can add a microSD card and add your own custom sounds and announcements. To me, that is a far better setup than trying to maintain Alexa or Google devices to make announcements. Now, my Alexas are well integrated into my Hubitat system such that I can use my voice to trigger many activities such as turning lights on and off, etc.

Wow, I learn so much from this community!!

So with the ecolink, I could store a bunch of audio files on an SD card and there is a mechanism (app) that I can use that a rule or webcore automation could tell one of the audio files to play? I love that its Z-wave.

When I say voice is critical, its primarily for announcements (i.e. dryer done, front door open, garage door open, water leak in bathroom, replace furnace filter, dog gate open, ....I could go on... I don't think any number of beeps or chimes would be a great replacement.

hydro311 are you able to do announcements with your stock GH integration ?

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Ah, gotcha now - that flavor of "voice"... Apologies, but I've never explored it for our GH setup... Just the wife & me here, and our house is small -- we just don't have a need for any audio announcements, but I understand the attraction for bigger households with a lot more in motion at any given time.

By far, the easiest and most reliable solution for Voice Announcements is to use Hubitat's built-in TTS engine with Sonos speakers. I have a IKEA Symfonisk speaker (made by Sonos, but much lower price) that works very reliably. I cannot recall any times where it has not worked properly for announcements.

Buy a few of those, sprinkled around her house, along with Push Notifications to her phones and tablets, and she'll be all set.


on the Sonos speaker, it sounds like it will stream music etc....
so my question is whether it can serve dual purposes ..i,e. play music and ALSO do announcements?

The Ecolink chime/siren is ideal for making announcements. If you are happy with the built-in sounds, you can use them, but I like having custom announcements such as: The back door has been opened, motion has been detected in the basement, the washer has finished, etc.

I have a series of 45 custom sounds. I created the sounds using a free text to speech application called Zabaware reader. It comes with some free sounds, but I decided to purchase some higher quality sounds for better sound quality. You need to record the sound in 16 bit, mono, wav format and save it to the microSD card. When saving the sounds you preface them with a two digit number followed by an underscore and then something to help you remember which sound it is. For example: 11_Garage Door Opened.wav. You play the sounds in rule machine by specifying the id number only of the sound. For example, when garage door tilt sensor has opened, play sound 11.

Zabaware reader has provisions for changing volume and voice speed, but you can also use an audio editor such as Audacity if you want to have a fade in, fade out, alarm sound, etc. A few of the custom sounds are designed to be sirens. If you reuse that slot, the sound will be loud and it will repeat, so use those slots where you want to be sure you are awakened in the middle of the night.

Also, because the chime/siren plugs into an outlet (with battery backup in case of power failure), it will also serve as a Z-wave range extender/repeater if needed. If you have a new C-8 hub, you might not need repeaters, but it never hurts to have one.

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Yes. However, I only perform Voice Announcements from Hubitat to the Sonos speaker. For music, I use Apple Airplay or the Sonos app on my phone to control that (i.e. I do not know if it is possible to control music playback on a Sonos speaker via Hubitat.)

definitely dont want or need to control music from HE.
Sounds like you could be playing music to speaker from another app
When you send an announcement to the speaker, I assume the music drops out and the
announcement is heard ?
(sorry for so many much to learn)

This ([RELEASE] Sonos Favorites Support) was just recently released. Allows for your favorites to be converted to a switch for on/off purposes to start and stop playing music.

Yes, that is correct. I just ran a very simple test where my Sonos speaker was playing Amazon Prime music (initiated from my iPhone) and then I manually issued a Hubitat TTS 'speak' command. The music stopped and the announcement was made. The music did not automatically resume.

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I tried the Sonos speaker and it works great.. We did have an issue where it played 3 messages and then wouldn't play anymore... I pressed the volume on the speaker and i can't get it to fail...

The question I have is that this speaker is being moved from my sister's house's wifi ....we plugged into my ethernet to get it to work but we can't seem to get the device to connect to my wifi network.
The Sonos app is horrible in terms of connecting to our wireless ...I followed all the steps and it just fails.....just wondering if any words of wisdom?

Oh one last thing...can you make it play a siren sound ( so I could avoid buying a siren ?)

It’s been years since I set mine up. I do t recall any issues getting it connected to WiFi.

Yes, it is pretty easy to make it play any mp3 file. Just upload the file on to your Hubitat hub in the File Manager (found in Settings). Then have Rule Machine or Notifier tell the speaker to play a track, passing in the URL of the mp3 file on your hub.

I use this to play a Blues Clues song whenever we get mail. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: The kids get a kick out of it.

Here is an example Notifier App


Voice control is still usable even without Echo Speaks, the stock Alexa app can receive commands you invoke.

If you have just a couple fixed announcements, like "wash machine finished" or "door open" I use Alexa and build a very simple routine that when a virtual device on Hubitat is on, trigger the Alexa routine and speak (whatever). It is a whole lot simpler to build and maintain than Echo Speaks, but you do lose some functionality and flexibility to speak nearly anything on-the-fly. For me, this works fine for my use, I pretty much never used the advanced stuff in Echo Speaks anyway.

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Another question on the sonos

will this work ?
My sister doesn't like the size of the Ikea speaker.

I am not sure. It seems to have WiFi maybe? :man_shrugging:

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Looks like at least one other person may have Sonos Roam working with Hubitat...

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Download the Hubitat app