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.


#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.