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  #61  
Old 05.12.2016, 16:44
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Re: Amazon Echo / Alexa

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There are several options here:

- Philips Hue: easy to set up, but pricey
- Lifx: also easy to set up, but each bulb is a WiFi AP and transmits at 100mw
- Z-Wave via a Smartthings Hub (which you'd also have to import), takes a bit to set up but offers a lot more than lighting
Actually there are a lot more options.

You've given a list of lamps you can buy which have built-in controls.

You can also buy dimmers and switches which can control your existing lights. You don't get the pretty colors but you also get to keep your existing spots etc.

Homematic for example, sell these and they are about to bring out a Swiss wall socket so you can also control lamps (and other devices) that plug into a wall socket.

They don't have direct Alexa comms yet though.

Is anyone else using Homematic stuff?
Their radiator thermostats are quite cool and you can set them to automatically shut off when you open your windows to air your house (rather than turn on more which would normally happen).

(Hope you don't mind me expanding the thread to more general home automation).
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  #62  
Old 05.12.2016, 17:16
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Re: Amazon Echo / Alexa

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So if you ask it the weather, it gives it for your swiss location without prompting?
Yup, that's right
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  #63  
Old 05.12.2016, 18:01
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Re: Amazon Echo / Alexa

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So if you ask it the weather, it gives it for your swiss location without prompting?
Yup.

It says something like, "The weather is 5° in Bern and sunny."
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  #64  
Old 05.12.2016, 18:30
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Re: Amazon Echo / Alexa

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So if you ask it the weather, it gives it for your swiss location without prompting?
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Yup.

It says something like, "The weather is 5° in Bern and sunny."
Not exactly a forecast though.

If I want to know the weather in my current location then I look out of the window.
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  #65  
Old 05.12.2016, 23:44
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Re: Amazon Echo / Alexa

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Is anyone else using Homematic stuff?
Their radiator thermostats are quite cool and you can set them to automatically shut off when you open your windows to air your house (rather than turn on more which would normally happen).

(Hope you don't mind me expanding the thread to more general home automation).
I recently got some Homematic gear. Their appliances seem to be of ok quality (really happy with the thermostat) but I'm not impressed with the control unit. Thr WebUI is horrible and I've been having some general slowdown problems as well.

You can hook up Alexa, Siri and whatnot to OpenHAB which I use as my main integration point. It just gets more involved but OpenHAB can connect to almost anything (incl. Homematic).
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Old 06.12.2016, 08:03
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Re: Amazon Echo / Alexa

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Not exactly a forecast though.

If I want to know the weather in my current location then I look out of the window.
Google says their device is much better at parsing and answering questions though, so I suspect if you ask it "What will the weather be like later today" or "What is the weather forecast for today" it should give a more useful answer?

I'll get mine in a week and let you know if our friends on here don't first.
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  #67  
Old 06.12.2016, 08:22
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Re: Amazon Echo / Alexa

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Actually there are a lot more options.

You've given a list of lamps you can buy which have built-in controls.

You can also buy dimmers and switches which can control your existing lights. You don't get the pretty colors but you also get to keep your existing spots etc.

Homematic for example, sell these and they are about to bring out a Swiss wall socket so you can also control lamps (and other devices) that plug into a wall socket.

They don't have direct Alexa comms yet though.

Is anyone else using Homematic stuff?
Their radiator thermostats are quite cool and you can set them to automatically shut off when you open your windows to air your house (rather than turn on more which would normally happen).

(Hope you don't mind me expanding the thread to more general home automation).
thanks for this. I can't read German, but it looks like the intelligence can be placed in the wall behind the switches. That seems like a really elegant solution... and it means that you can use any type of bulb.
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  #68  
Old 06.12.2016, 10:32
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Re: Amazon Echo / Alexa

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Google says their device is much better at parsing and answering questions though, so I suspect if you ask it "What will the weather be like later today" or "What is the weather forecast for today" it should give a more useful answer?

I'll get mine in a week and let you know if our friends on here don't first.
That's correct. When I ask, "How's the weather tomorrow?"

It gives an answer like, "Tomorrow will be sunny with a high of 6° and a low of -4°."

It takes things quite literal so when you ask how the weather is, it tells you what it's like right now.
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  #69  
Old 06.12.2016, 11:48
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Re: Amazon Echo / Alexa

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I recently got some Homematic gear. Their appliances seem to be of ok quality (really happy with the thermostat) but I'm not impressed with the control unit. Thr WebUI is horrible and I've been having some general slowdown problems as well.

You can hook up Alexa, Siri and whatnot to OpenHAB which I use as my main integration point. It just gets more involved but OpenHAB can connect to almost anything (incl. Homematic).
Agreed - the WebUI isn't very nice.

I'm using using OpenHab and people have made bindings for just about everything.

I bought a Homematic CCU2 and have linked that up to it as their range of switches etc are pretty good.
I'm using Arduinos with Ethernet modules to control a few things too and they talk to a RaspberryPi running OpenHab via MQTT.

I may switch to a mini PC to run openHab as I need a server to run other stuff.


But, this way, it's cool to be able to get temperature and humidity sensors for just a couple of dollars and use those too.

As for an Alexa or Google Home - the Google home looks pig-ugly which is a shame as it's not designed to be hidden away. I haven't made a decision yet.
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  #70  
Old 06.12.2016, 12:36
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Re: Amazon Echo / Alexa

hi,
you can also ask "do I need umbrella tomorrow?" and you will get an answer about whether it will rain or not.

Remember it will get a lot better over time and Alexa has big head start, especially when it comes to connecting to other devices and extended skills.
Have fun
Martin
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  #71  
Old 06.12.2016, 12:40
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Re: Amazon Echo / Alexa

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Agreed - the WebUI isn't very nice.

I'm using using OpenHab and people have made bindings for just about everything.

I bought a Homematic CCU2 and have linked that up to it as their range of switches etc are pretty good.
I'm using Arduinos with Ethernet modules to control a few things too and they talk to a RaspberryPi running OpenHab via MQTT.

I may switch to a mini PC to run openHab as I need a server to run other stuff. I am quite happy with the thermostat and optical door/window contact detector, not so much with the CCU2. I got a temp/humidity sensor from homematic as well but it's way overpriced. Therefore the chaper Arduino based sensors are attractive for a larger deployment.


But, this way, it's cool to be able to get temperature and humidity sensors for just a couple of dollars and use those too.

As for an Alexa or Google Home - the Google home looks pig-ugly which is a shame as it's not designed to be hidden away. I haven't made a decision yet.
Your setup sounds a lot like what I plan to do eventually. Currently I'm running a modest setup just to evaluate how things really work. I also have some other (Telldus compatible) transmitters and actuators from our old house but I seem to have lost the control unit (Tellstick) for them.

If I had to select one "home assistant" right now, that would be Amazon Echo. Although the regional differences in the services it offers are stupid, it has an open API which is really important. You can even run an Alexa service on your own hardware (like Raspberry). Google on the other hand does not play that well with others, at least historically. The one thing going for Google is their search engine but at this point in time it is not enough to convince me it the service itself is not extensible.

Back to Homematic, the Swiss plug compatible switch seems to be available already.
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  #72  
Old 06.12.2016, 14:25
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Re: Amazon Echo / Alexa

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Your setup sounds a lot like what I plan to do eventually. Currently I'm running a modest setup just to evaluate how things really work. I also have some other (Telldus compatible) transmitters and actuators from our old house but I seem to have lost the control unit (Tellstick) for them.

My setup is only in the early stages. It all began because we have a really heavy garage door with no safety features - and it crashes into another door if that is open at the same time. Plus we have kids who aren't too careful.

So, although I need to do a bit more wiring, it has a microcontroller which will stop the garage door opening if the other door is opened - plus there's an IR beam and switches to detect whether it's open or closed.
But once I had done all that, it made sense to connect it to OpenHab so we can now see if we left the garage door open on our phones and close it remotely over IP.
It does other stuff too.
We're got door entry though fingerprint scanners too so once I get the binding sorted out, I can see if the children got home from school remotely too.
The cool thing about the scanners is that we an use that as the means to tell any systems that someone has got home, who it is and what should then happen - turn on lights, turn off alarms etc.

I've used cabling where I can - all the scanners, arduinos and raspberryPi are over ethernet and the homeatic stuff on 868MHz which sends stuff in pulses and then shuts off so we don't need wifi at all.

Anyway - I'll put some photos up at some time. I'd love to see what other people are doing.

For others doing it themselves, www.reichelt.de is great for cable and parts. Ali-Express is great for relay boards and sensors that won't be on show.


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Back to Homematic, the Swiss plug compatible switch seems to be available already.
The new one is a bit smarter:

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  #73  
Old 06.12.2016, 18:12
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Re: Amazon Echo / Alexa

Hi there , I am using Alexa in Zurich to control lighting , TV etc.


In fact I have been so impressed with the Echo in general that I am offering some consulting to help others.


The Echo now speaks German but is still not available in Switzerland. Delivery from Amazon.de is only to Germany and Austria.


Also note, the 2 best Home Hubs , SmartThings and Wink are not available. Ridiculous , I say.


I have a US Based business so can supply and configure this wonderful stuff...


echowranglers.ch is my website.


Simon Drew
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  #74  
Old 06.12.2016, 18:27
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Re: Amazon Echo / Alexa

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Even though you guys are moving to Google, I will be taking a delivery of an Alexa shortly.

As soon as I do, I will probably want to automate the lights. Which system are you guys using, and do you recommend it?




Start simple with the Lightify Gateway & Bulbs. Much cheaper than Philips Hue..... They also have the only Candle Fitting Smartbulbs ( E14) plus GU10 for downlights.


I would also recommend a Logitech Harmony Smart Control which can not only control TV/Cablebox etc from Alexa but also any cheap IR Control Bulbs eg When I tell Alexa " Alexa,Turn on Kika " My TV and Cablecom box switch on , select channel Kika and switch on a Green Lamp behind the TV. I have the lamp set to switch to purple at 7:50am when my daughter has to leave for school . She loves Alexa by the way
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  #75  
Old 07.12.2016, 14:37
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Re: Amazon Echo / Alexa

I have echo dots and am a spotify member, so I have been using Alexa to play music via spotify.

I recently took out an amazon prime membership, I have the amazon music app on my iphone which works, I have amazon music set as the default music player on the alexa app. however, when I ask alexa to play music it says I need to sign up to become a member of amazon prime. Any ideas what I should do?
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  #76  
Old 07.12.2016, 17:37
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Re: Amazon Echo / Alexa

Did you check Alexa / Settings/ Account / Music & Media/ Music Services ? It should show Amazon Music as well as Spotify
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  #77  
Old 07.12.2016, 23:54
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Re: Amazon Echo / Alexa



Of dear the problem of 2 digital assistants
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  #78  
Old 08.12.2016, 08:27
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Re: Amazon Echo / Alexa

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Did you check Alexa / Settings/ Account / Music & Media/ Music Services ? It should show Amazon Music as well as Spotify
Yes shows all that. Does your amazon music work on your echo / alexa?
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  #79  
Old 08.12.2016, 08:51
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Re: Amazon Echo / Alexa

Question for you experts/first adopters:

Am I right in reading that only Google Home will let you play music from your own NAS (via google play) without paying for some subscription-based music service?

(without using Bluetooth)?

If I bought an Echo Dot, I could use the audio jack to link it into a better active speaker and I'd prefer the Echo for home automation but the reviews I've read seem to show that the Google home is better for retrieving information.
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Old 08.12.2016, 09:46
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Re: Amazon Echo / Alexa

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Yes shows all that. Does your amazon music work on your echo / alexa?


Yes, and I have 200 Gig of MyMusic stored on the Amazon Cloud , as I got fed up with MicroSD card management across my Phone and Tablets...


However I am also an Amazon Music Unlimited subscriber at $80 a year, and Alexa does not tell me where the tracks come from....


In the PC App you can choose what to Search , My Music or Amazon Music.


Not easily with Alexa I think....
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