New Voice Technology

Guys perhaps one day in the not too distant future this may be the new way to control smartthings. Seems some companies are already sniffing around to buy them up.

Here is another piece of tech that might be helpful to all of you that would like to voice control of Smartthings. I have looked too far into this yet but based on what I read so far you can do most anything you can do with the Echo via this app.

HeyLexie is an app using Alexa. There will be a lot of these now that Amazon has opened things up. Note that it cannot play music or read audiobooks.

However, the biggest limitation is that it’s using your phone. As someone who is quadriparetic, I have depended on voice technology for quite a while. The echo absolutely blew me away with the quality of its far field recognition. Across the room even with the television on. Nothing else that I’ve seen for under $50,000 compares to that.

You can already have excellent voice control of SmartThings using an android phone , Tasker, and sharp tools. And of course hey Google can handle most of what the echo can do as well. A number of community members have done this, and are pleased with it.

But what none of the phonebased systems can do is match the echo’s hardware. I use both Siri and echo now, for different things. The echo is Miles better on a practical day-to-day use unless you’re actually holding the phone in your hand. :sunglasses:

So it’s always great to have more choices, but any app which is dependent on the phone’s microphone is just a different class of device than echo.

In contrast, Viv ( first post in this thread) is a whole new AI. It’s intended to be embedded in place of hey Google or hey Siri. Maybe even to create a smarter Alexa. I do expect to see a bright future for that one. :sunglasses:


Thanks for your perspective JD. I always like reading your posts. You seem to always have done your homework. Since you rely so heavily on voice technology especially.

I’m still waiting for someone to make that really great application or device. I want a whole house solution and just don’t have the time to DIY one. Not to mention my merger DIY skills anyway. So I keep on watching.

I figure if I have to stick my head out of the room I’m in for the echo to hear me I might as well pick up my phone as I’m rarely in a room without it. So I just haven’t been able to convince myself to commit the money to that.

Absolutely, this is one of those “all home automation is local” things. I live in a small ranch house with an open floor plan, so it only takes one echo to cover pretty much all of the House. We did add an additional one for my housemate’s room so he could use it late at night without waking up the dog. (Who can also hear what’s going on pretty much everywhere in the house. :dog:)

But I’ve heard of people who live in brick houses where an echo barely covers a room and a half.

Amazon introduced the dot to help address this issue since it’s about half the price of the echo at list.

I do have a couple of spots in the house where the echo coverage isn’t great, and we don’t get any coverage from it in the backyard. So I use Siri on my watch for those situations. I didn’t see the value in buying a dot To cover the zones, although I’m sure there are other people who would have.

So it just depends on your specific set up and what you need. :sunglasses:

Yeah, in your case it’s a necessity. For me, it’s just something I want. I try to not spend excessively for stuff I just want so I’m holding out for the day when I can really make it count.

Keep me in mind as I know you keep up with the best ways to make voice control work for you. When you see that something you think is “it” reach out to me. We can give it a try together.

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What do you guys think about this… I thought it will be wonderful if I install this system in my home. Any suggestions??

It’s old-school, many monitored security systems have this feature. I have this on my medical monitoring system. If I fall, an alarm is triggered and the central station operator will talk to me over the speaker and make sure I’m OK.

If you want a centrally monitored system, I would definitely consider one with two way voice communication, you’ll have many services to choose from that offer that feature. I don’t know anything about that particular company, who seem to be in Canada, but there are a lot of sites where you can check ratings for monitored security services. :sunglasses:

Thank you Roberts… I’m actually confused on which security system to select for my home. I searched many sites and asked recommendations from my friends and got a lot of information. Totally confused now.

It just comes down to what your budget is and what specific features you need.

I myself am quadriparetic, use a wheelchair and have limited hand function. So fire safety is extremely important to me as well as professional monitoring. Many of the less expensive Systems in the US are not authorized to call the fire department, only the police department. So that narrows my selection. But there are other people who feel more confident in their ability to deal with the fire and they go with the less expensive system.

Some people live in neighborhoods which have higher crime rates, or in neighborhoods which are more likely to be the target of burglaries because they are wealthier neighborhoods.

Are you in the US?

No, I’m in Canada… Here the burglary rate is very high and home invasion occurs mainly during day time, when we are out to work. So we have an inner fear daily. What will I do if intruders break in when i’m home?? That’s why I thought this will be useful. But I’m not sure how it’ll work.

If you have motion sensors or contact sensors, you could use CoRE. Setup a piston to send you a push notification if any of the sensors are activated. Once you get the notification, call the police or a neighbor to check on your house if you’re not available to check. It can also active an alarm siren which is a deterrence by itself but won’t stop all thieves.

Do you mean how two-way voice works? On almost all systems, that’s just a two-way intercom that is built into one of the devices you get from the company, usually the control panel. It automatically turns on if the alarm goes off. So someone from the monitoring center then talks to you through the intercom. On some other systems it only activates when you push a button either on the panel itself or on a panic button necklace that you wear.

Feeling confused…

My suggestion for people starting out is that you have ADT come out and give you their free evaluation. Don’t sign up for anything on that first visit even if they tell you there’s a big discount if you do. (You can almost always get the same discount other ways.) Just let them explain their system to you, what the features are, and how much the different options cost.

Most people who have ADT are pretty happy with everything about it except the cost and the fact that you have to sign a two year contract.

Get a second opinion from another big reputable company

What you have that information, check and see if your cable television company also offers home security and if they also have a free home evaluation. If they do, go through the same process with them, again not signing up for anything on the first visit.

Now you have two local packages to compare from companies that will have long contracts and higher monthly fees, but that usually are reliable and with a good set of features.

Now you can start researching cheaper options

What you have that information, you’re ready to start shopping for other options. Maybe you need something less expensive, maybe you just don’t want the contract for that long, maybe you realize that you do you want burglary monitoring but you don’t care as much about fire monitoring. Maybe you don’t want professional monitoring at all, you just want to get alerts on your own phone and then you will take necessary action.

There’s no one right answer, it all depends on your own personal needs, preferences, and budget. But by going through the free sales pitches, you’ll get a much better sense of what features seem like a really good idea to you and what you would be willing to pay extra for. Just don’t sign a contract that first day because you still have more research to do.

One safety tip…

The one thing to be careful of is never buy a system from a door-to-door sales person or even let them in your house. Most of those are scams. And most of the time if someone calls you on the telephone that is also a scam. Legitimate security companies all have well-known websites and you will be able to find them when you are ready.

You’ll understand a lot more about what you’re looking at with the less expensive and do it yourself options after you’ve been through a presentation from ADT. So that will make your research go faster as well. :sunglasses: