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Old 20.09.2016, 14:27
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Amazon Echo / Alexa

Hi there,

I see this is only really designed for UK and USA at present. Has anyone tried to use either model over here?

Does anyone use any other voice controlled device for home automation stuff (mostly Philips Hue lighting, Tado thermostat)? As an Android user, a Google alternative would be nice, but I think that's a good few months away...

http://www.theverge.com/2016/5/18/11...istant-io-2016
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Old 20.09.2016, 15:53
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Re: Amazon Echo / Alexa

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Does anyone use any other voice controlled device for home automation stuff (mostly Philips Hue lighting, Tado thermostat)?
I am not a big Apple fan but I have an iPhone and Siri (on iOS 10) integrates with Homekit, which integrates with the Phillips Hue. It works and I can use voice to turn lights on and off is all I can say.

Day to day though I just use the Hue app as I feel a bit of a burk asking my phone to turn the lights on ....

Not tried Cortana or an Android bot yet...
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Old 20.09.2016, 16:05
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Re: Amazon Echo / Alexa

I use Siri to turn Hue lights on and off and have been doing since it was an option. I like the convenience of it and am thick skinned enough to not feel stupid.

I have now grouped my lights in the main room into three separate scenes in the new iOS Home app, but haven't yet tried to get Siri to control the scenes separately. I'll give that a go this evening.
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Old 20.09.2016, 16:16
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Re: Amazon Echo / Alexa

This was my issue too. I have an iPad I keep by the door, just for Facetiming my parents at weekends, which when plugged in can listen for Siri commands.

Unless something has been updated though, it is pretty much only good for turn all off or all on. I have ~20 bulbs split into zones/rooms and unless there has been an update, I don't believe I can say "Hey Siri, turn on Living Room lights" yet? There is no programmable interface where I could define that either.

I'm hoping the google option may be more flexible. You can cheat by making scenes I guess, I suppose that would work..."Siri turn on scene living room" or something like that?
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Old 20.09.2016, 20:44
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Re: Amazon Echo / Alexa

I just tested it with my three zones (living room, dining room, library). I can turn them on and off individually, change the brightness and change the colour using Siri on an iPhone 6S with iOS. The colour thing was unexpected - I'm impressed.
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Old 21.09.2016, 09:21
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Re: Amazon Echo / Alexa

There's a new Amazon Echo out in October, the Dot which is probably only going to be 60 Euro. I may get one of those to play with.

It's possible to link it to OpenHab which I'm planning to use for some home automation.

I've got a question for those with voice-activated automation:

Is there a security feature which prevents a potential burglar from shouting, through a closed window or air vent, something like:

"Alexa, turn off all the lights!" so he can break in without being seen.

Or worse:

"Alexa, open the front door!"

Last edited by Tom1234; 21.09.2016 at 11:47.
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Old 21.09.2016, 11:52
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Re: Amazon Echo / Alexa

Is it not just "trained" to the owner's voice?
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Old 21.09.2016, 12:13
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Re: Amazon Echo / Alexa

Hi

I have an Amazon echo and I am very happy with it. It is not trained to respond to just one voice but I do not use it to automate the lighting. I am very interested in getting a Google home device as the Echo does not use a search engine but Wikipedia to answer requests.

Have fun
Martin
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Old 21.09.2016, 12:13
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Re: Amazon Echo / Alexa

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Is it not just "trained" to the owner's voice?
Not sure whether this is up-to-date info:

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Alexa cannot distinguish between two different voices. While my girlfriend and I have two separate profiles on the Echo, it treats us both as the same user.

If Alexa could distinguish between multiple voices, it could switch profiles on the fly, allow you to manage separate shopping or to-do lists, and treat multiple users like more than one person
Googled from here
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Old 21.09.2016, 12:17
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Re: Amazon Echo / Alexa

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Hi

I have an Amazon echo and I am very happy with it. It is not trained to respond to just one voice but I do not use it to automate the lighting. I am very interested in getting a Google home device as the Echo does not use a search engine but Wikipedia to answer requests.
According to what I have read, Google Home doesn't have an API (perhaps it will later) but Echo does - which makes it more attractive if you want to do your own thing.

The link to Chromecast for the Google Home is smart though.
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Old 21.09.2016, 12:23
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Re: Amazon Echo / Alexa

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Hi

I have an Amazon echo and I am very happy with it. It is not trained to respond to just one voice but I do not use it to automate the lighting. I am very interested in getting a Google home device as the Echo does not use a search engine but Wikipedia to answer requests.

Have fun
Martin
How does it work with region settings. What can you practically do with it over here? Do you have US or UK model?
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Old 21.09.2016, 16:56
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Re: Amazon Echo / Alexa

Hi,

there is a simple hack that you use to set Echo so that it correctly sets the time zone to CET, all units and mesurements are set using the Alexa web app. You cannot set location to outside of the US and so when you ask for the weather you have to say "what is the weather in Basel, Switzerland"

Have fun
Martin
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Old 27.09.2016, 21:59
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Re: Amazon Echo / Alexa

I'm in the UK right now - could probably get one from Currys PC World tomorrow - but would it work in Switzerland? Will the UK version also be limited in terms of time zone etc?
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Old 28.09.2016, 14:53
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Re: Amazon Echo / Alexa

To answer my own question: I picked one up today and set it up in the hotel room. Some new stuff:

- time zone problems are history, as you can choose any location in Germany as well as the UK. Not in Switzerland, though.

- I can set the location to Konstanz, Germany and even get localized weather updates (I live 5 minutes from Konstanz). Since the weather in the "Mittelland" is very similar / identical to Southern Germany, that should work for a lot of people.

- Both German and UK news sources are included, so you can have your news briefing either in German or in English

- The device listens to both UK English and US English (you can choose which one you want during setup), but it "speaks" only UK English. (uuuumazon)

- I had no problems adding my Swiss Spotify account

- You can't add TuneIn premium accounts, but that doesn't work anywhere and isn't location specific.

- I used a amazon.de account to set it up. Setup was a pain (kept saying "can't connect to the cloud" in the app). At first I thought this was due to the German Amazon account, but I then set up a new one on amazon.co.uk and got the same error message. Apparently, they just hadn't gotten the UK servers ready in time. I later tried it again (with the German account) on my laptop and then it worked without any issues.

- As far as I can tell, it supports all the same "skills" (those are plugins for a myriad of services) and home automation stuff as for the US version.


The device is pretty amazing, definitely has this "Stark Treky" vibe to it :-)
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Old 28.09.2016, 17:36
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Re: Amazon Echo / Alexa

Thanks for the update Dawiz!

Google will be unveiling their take on it on Oct 4th, I'm looking forward to seeing that before I make a decision either way on buying.
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Old 28.09.2016, 17:55
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Re: Amazon Echo / Alexa

@StirB where the Echo shines is when it comes to 3rd party integration. I don't think we can expect much from Google in that respect - it'll probably work with Nest and Google Play Music, and that's about it. Google Now is fantastic, of course, so they could score there. We'll see, I guess. Unfortunately, google does an excellent job restricting their devices to certain countries and regions, so it's highly unlikely they'll support Switzerland. None of the Nest products can be fully used in Switzerland and neither can the wifi AP. Even Google Now is very limited here.
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Old 29.09.2016, 00:18
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Re: Amazon Echo / Alexa

To be honest, compatibility wise, I am mostly interesting in Tado and Philips Hue lighting.

Tado is barely used, as my flat is always warm and temp can easily be set if the Google Home works with IFTTT - it would be suicide if it didn't tbh.

The Chromecast integration interests me though, I like the idea of plugging one in the back of my amp and telling Google Home to display stuff, play youtube, etc etc.

Spotify (and TuneIn Radio) would also be a nice touch, as if I can play it through the Chromecast, outputting through my home speakers, then that's a major win too actually.

Let's see what the killer features are, come Oct 4th.
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Old 29.09.2016, 08:37
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Re: Amazon Echo / Alexa

IFTTT is likely supported - the other Google products all work with IFTTT. And same for me: Tado and Philips Hue are the two main IoT applications we use at home - and yeah, Tado isn't as important as we have underfloor heating and I rarely change parameters. Tado will work with the Echo as soon as my hub has been replaced with the new one. The old one supports neither Echo nor HomeKit. But I could use it via IFTTT I guess.
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Old 29.09.2016, 09:35
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Re: Amazon Echo / Alexa

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The Chromecast integration interests me though, I like the idea of plugging one in the back of my amp and telling Google Home to display stuff, play youtube, etc etc.
According to the slashgear article below, this should be possible soon with an Echo and a Logitech Harmony Hub. In fact, it is already possible if you use IFTTT, but this can be quite laggy.

http://www.slashgear.com/amazon-alex...mony-20444906/
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Old 29.09.2016, 12:14
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Re: Amazon Echo / Alexa

@Macer that's good news - I have the logitech hub as well.

On a sidenote: the UK version of the Echo doesn't work with IFTTT at this time. I was able to connect the channel on IFTTT without a problem, but it won't execute any commands. IFTTT says that the European versions will be supported at a later date. That somewhat blows :-/

Oh, and "one more thing": the Echo app is only available in the UK and US app stores (both on Android and iOS), so you'll need an account from on of those stores to set up the Echo. It can also be set up through a website / in your browser, though.

Also, any existing US Echos will be switched to the European software automatically - which means those with US Alexas lose their IFTTT integration as well. Not sure if that'll also happen if the device is in Switzerland, rather than the UK or Germany.
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