Voice Control in the Automated Home


#1

Voice control is everywhere. With dropping prices and improved voice recognition technology, people are installing Echo Dots and Google Minis in every room of their house. Voice assistants have even made their way into our bathrooms.

The convenience of voice control for turning off lights from your couch or quickly playing your favorite song is undeniable. It's why Hubitat Elevation offered Alexa integration from day one.

But those of us in the smart home community, know that an even better solution is for lights to turn off all by themselves, without us having to say or do anything at all.

That’s the main reason we’ve opened this new category dedicated to Voice Control. It’s a place to learn and discuss the latest advances in voice control. And a place for you to share where and how you are using voice assistants to make your smart home experience better.


pinned globally #2

#3

As most of you already know, voice control is one of my favorite topics!

My personal preference is the Amazon Alexa. Not because Google Home is great, but I was already heavily invested in Alexa prior to GH. I have 3 shows, 3 echoes, 7 dots, and fire TV w/voice, basically in every room of the house.

I use Alexa for both control and feedback about my house. For example, I can tell it to turn off the lights in the room in 5 minutes, and it does. Or, I can tell it that it is too cold downstairs and it turns up the heat.
Or, if I’m laying in bed and I hear a noise downstairs I can tell Alexa to check for motion in the garage, or the downstairs… however I want it. I’ve set up my motion to not notice my pets, so if there is motion, it is normally a person.
I can ask if doors are open or closed, and even the windows.

If I am away from home, I can use Alexa on my phone and ask the house who is at home. If I need to know where one of my kids is, I can simply ask my Alexa. She will tell me not only where they are but what the driving time is based on current traffic.

There are so many things that can be done with the voice assistant. It has literally become an every day part of the lives of my family.


#4

I have noticed a few mentions of “Local Alexa” integration with Hubitat. Can you please explain exactly what this means? I realize that Alexa can discover devices on one’s home network (as opposed to a cloud-to-cloud discovery), is that what is meant? How about local control between an Amazon Alexa device and the Hubitat hub? Does any part of an Amazon Echo still function if the internet is down?


#5

Are you hinting that EchoSistant is coming to Hubitat?


#6

The Amazon Alexa service is 100% dependent upon their cloud based service. If the internet is not operational, Alexa will not work.

What is meant by “Local Alexa” is that we have cut out as much of the cloud as possible. You speak to Alexa, she speaks to the AWS and that tells the hub. The hub then tells the devices, thus making the system much faster (not as many cloud hops) and more reliable (also because of the reduced cloud hops).


#7

We have not had a lot of time to play with that, we’ve been working on the launch of Hubitat Elevation. :grin:


#8

In due time I’m sure :wink:


#9

Would you say that Echosistant v5 isn’t going to happen for ST? I had been holding out but now with my Hubitat purchase there is no need to install v4.5. Hoping to see it come here.


#10

I tried AskAlexa and Echosistant, but found them waaaay too cumbersome from an installation standpoint to bother updating.

While I see the point of the staff/OP statement of having things work automatically rather than by voice, there are just waaaay too many instances where that approach does not work. As an example: should I set my TV to come on to the same channel every time I walk into a room? What if someone else is watching already, or on that day I don’t want the TV on? What if today I want my Hue lights to be blue instead of red?

I see extemporaneous control as a significantly different thing than automation… and both have their place in the smart home.


#11

I’m waiting on Google Home support, since I use both assistants.


#12

Yep, I’m hoping for this too. I’m not that interested in trying to get alexa as well as I’ve already got android phones, tablets and a android TV ShieldTV.


#13

Does Hubitat get trigger based on Alexa command or action?

Specifically, I wonder if I could do something like following,

If Alexa echo dot alarm in bedroom goes off in the morning before sunrise, then turn bedroom light on at 10%.


#14

Unfortunately, no... An Alexa Alarm cannot be used to trigger an event in Hubitat. At least not directly. You can use Alexa Routines to trigger action within Hubitat. The easiest way to do this is to Add a Virtual Switch device in Hubitat. Configure that Virtual Switch device to auto turn off after one second. Then expose this new Virtual Switch via the Amazon Echo Skill app within Hubitat. It will then appear with the Amazon Alexa App on your phone/tablet. You can add this new switch to any Alexa Routine, and configure it to Turn On when the routine fires. Back on Hubitat, use this virtual switch as a trigger in Rule Machine, or any other app, to perform whatever logic you desire. Since the Virtual Switch will automatically turn back off, it will be ready the next time the Alexa Routine fires.

So, you just need to use an Alexa Routine as your Alarm, instead of an Alexa Alarm.

Hopefully this made sense. If not, please feel free to ask for clarification.


#15

Thank you very much. It does make sense.


#16

I had a very similar question but with a twist. Could I use the logic you described to have Alexa arm a Ring security system, and trigger Hubitat to turn off lights, lock doors, etc? Essentially I want to create a bedtime routine that arms the security system and shuts down the house. Hubitat can control everything but the Ring security system, but Alexa can talk to both.

I haven't bought a Hubitat yet, and I'm trying to make sure before I do, I could control all my smart devices.


#17

Yes, this sounds very doable using a single Alexa 'Goodnight' Routine (or whatever you want call it) to perform a sequence of actions. As long as you can Arm your Ring Security system via an Alexa Routine, you should be fine. You have lots of options on the Hubitat side on how you'd like to accomplish tasks. For example, you could expose each device to Alexa and then just add them to the Goodnight Routine to turn everything off. Or, you create a Hubitat Group of lights, which will appear in the Hubitat list as a single device. You could expose this 'Group Device' to Alexa to add it to the Goodnight Routine to turn off all of the lights. Or, you could use the Virtual Switch idea I mentioned earlier, and have Rule Machine turn everything off and lock up for you.

The system is very flexible. In some ways, it can be confusing because there are so many ways to accomplish a task. The community is a great resource for ideas, tips, and tricks.


#18

Thank you for your response! I am really excited to get into creating my smart house but it can be so confusing to figure out if everything will work together. This helps me with my decision alot!


#19

the eufy genie speaker
is now on sale for 14.99 at amazon, works with alexa


#20

As a (dumb) newby at the very 1st day of school (HE arrive just few hours ago) i created a virtual switch in HE, installed Alexa app (as I'm in Italy Alexa skill is not available:slight_smile:...). The switch seems to work in HE but cannot be discovered by Alexa as a device. Have you all some suggestion
?