Perhaps, an Answer - ST + Vera + Echo


(Paul) #1

In doing some research, I think I’ve found a possible solution, that i’m going to have to map out in an experiment.

The Primary UI, Would be the Amazon Echo.

I’ve leveraged RPi to make the Echo work with Vera Edge, and it works so far, flawlessly.

My ST v2 is on order, with all its bugs and features. ST v2 does things that Vera just can’t easily integrate with, and Vera Edge does some really cool integrations ST Doesn’t

So my thought process, is leveraging the RPi integration work with Vera and Echo (Basically making a HUE Smart Bridge, Where the Echo can Discover Devices, and the RPi Advertises the Vera Scenes and Devices on uPnP as HUE devices…

Well there doesn’t seem to be way to easily make ST and Vera work “Together” But - Both of them can connect to HUE devices… So here is the project.

Getting RPi To see all the ST devices, and getting it to see all the Vera Devices. The Amazon Echo can call either ST or Vera (And won’t know the difference, its “just a light” it knows by name). The ST and Vera should be able to “talk” to each other with each being a Primary controller, of certain things. Creating Vera Scenes, to call Hue/ST Devices will be easy.

I can’t wait for the ST to arrive, to see if its easy to create Scenes on it (or whatever ST called it) to call HUE devices. then Volla - ST Does what it does best. Vera does what it does best. They both are primary controllers, but can pass information between each other - and You just ask Alexa to do whatever you want and she called the appropriate HUE device, which actives Vera/ST to act.

I’ll keep you updated on the progress (if there is any interest). I struggled deciding between ST and Vera when I bought the Edge, now it looks like there is a path to get the best… of all 3.


(Chrisb) #2

Having never used Vera, what are the things that you want to do with it that ST can’t do?


(Paul) #3

The Vera Edge has been up for a while
My .03 - and my belief, to be validated once the ST arrives:

To me the TBD advantages of ST:

  • Integration with Zigbee Devices, specifically Iris devices from Lowes (which are cheaper than comparative z-wave devices that do the same thing)
  • Native d-Link Camera (cheap) integration, though with BlueIris, all camera’s work.
  • Better integration with home audio/entertainment (Though with the new RPi package for Vera, it has Harmony integration - but its not native)
  • Better integration with Echo (Native vs RPi)
  • Better “Presence” capabilities
  • The backing (in theory) of a major world wide company…
  • a Very strong community

I think Vera Edge has, though TBD:

  • Substantially easier/better IFTTT
  • Better tech support (I have # to call and get a live human that speaks english)
  • Posted Bugs !!! and can get a response from Vera Techs’ on fixes the coming for them
  • Super easy Scenes, that are wizard built for IFTTT so you’re not writing scripts.
  • Doesn’t have the backing of a major WW company to screw it up :smile:
  • a Very strong Community

My intent is to leverage the Echo for most tasks that would have been done in an application - Thus making it irrelevant if ST or Vera is the actual “Brains” behind it. Some lights could be on ST, some on Vera. Echo via voice turns them on/off regardless of platform.

I debated a long time between ST/Wink/and Vera. With Quirky out of business the staples connect/Wink dropped off my list, and with the new Vera Edge out, and STv2 not out… it seemed to make sense to jump on the “most recent” controller.

The intent now, is to have ST and Vera both as primary controllers for what they do the easiest/best. Leverage a HUE RPi Gateway to “connect” both of them together.

AKA, ST Detects that no one is in the house by the Key FOB. It executes a scene and one of the items is to “turn off light 14”. Light 14, is really a HUE gateway light, that when off, triggers a Vera Scene to do other things, like arm the alarm, turn lights off, thermostat down etc. ST Detects a person comes home, and sets the house to the welcome home state by time of day, turns on HUE light 18, which tells vera to say “Welcome home Paul”, and turns on music etc. Should be fun/interesting to see if it works as I think it will, and solve the age old problem of Primary/Secondary Controller… They all can be primaries leveraging HUE gateways to pass information between easily between them.


(Tim Slagle) #4

Our support people are humans too lol.


#5

I did exactly this about six months ago before there was a SmartThings/echo official integration, using the Hue bridge as the “man in the middle” between echo and smart things. It’s detailed as method two in the original echo integration thread.

The problem turned out to be lag. At that time it could take SmartThings as much as 15 minutes to poll the hue bridge for bulb status. That was a long time.

The current polling interval is every five minutes, which is better, but still may be too much for some cases.

So, sure, a Hue Bulb’s status is known to multiple controllers and you can use that for indirect communication. It just depends how quickly you need to sync everything up.


#6

One small point…

In this forum, “IFTTT” refers to the third-party service at www.IFTTT.com where SmartThings has an official channel which is very popular. This is considered one of SmartThings’ advantages.

If I’m reading correctly, you were using “IFTTT” in your post to just refer to a generic built-in rules engine.

I agree that the built-in rules engine in vera is much better than the one that comes with SmartThings, although there are some third-party rules engines which are very good. I just think people are going to be pretty confused if you call that “IFTTT” here. Just a thought. :sunglasses:


#7

And as far as scenes go, this might be of interest:


(Paul) #8

JD thanks. ST might be cool, but the devil I know in the Vera Edge with UI7 is a better devil, right now. I’m optimistic that Samsung will get his fixed, but wow. holy cow.

I’m just going to say, I love you guys, and I do lots of OpenStack work… and you guys are smart and helpful, but the Vera isn’t nearly as broken last the ST v2. wow, wow, wow. No disparagement. and I want to avoid a flame here, but wow.

On an aside, is there is any way to make the ST polling interval shorter? can I force it to poll every second? doesn’t seem like I can. that is stopping me from really getting ST and Vera talking. Vera does something and ST does something, and it seems to take 4 minutes for that conversation to occur.

ST Seems really cool, but it seems to not do what I’m asking it to do, and writing the code, ands it doesn’t do it… .admittedly I’m asking it to do things its not supposed to do, or isn’t ready to do… I’m a hacker I can write code, but when it doesn’t work. the platform is broke. maybe or I’m missing something


#9

Smartthings limits polling to once a minute to prevent clogging shared cloud resources.

http://docs.smartthings.com/en/latest/smartapp-developers-guide/scheduling.html?highlight=scheduling#scheduling-limitations-best-practices-and-things-good-to-know


(Paul) #10

Yeah JD, you’re correct. my bad and my party foul. I was referring to rules as IFFTT. you’re technically correct, and I sit corrected.

I’ve got smart devices doing a lot of things that normally they don’t do. I really dig smart devices, and I’m big into big data, and data analytics. I’ve got Vera doing some things, that quite honestly has people asking HAL to open to bay door… :slight_smile: or if you are old like me, the forbin project and colossus is doing some really cool stuff.

I’m getting increasingly frustrated with what should (IMHO) work with ST v2 that doesn’t. not calling your kid ugly. just saying I’m outside the box… and the ST box doesn’t play well.


#11

Not my kid. :wink: I’m just another customer.

When SmartThings works as intended, it’s my favorite home automation controller. Lately, though, those days have been few and far between at my house.


(Paul) #12

Gotcha. i’ve got a lot of Raspberry Pi Code doing things, and my intent is to have the real, star trek home, doing things that we can all do as humans, but its easier if I don’t have the be “bothered” by it.

close my garage doors after 15 minutes of no motion, or lock my front doors at 9am kinda cool.
When my wife arrive home, by any means, identify her cell phone connected via wifi to the home meraki MX-64, and do what I want as an IFFTT… and when she opens a bottle of wine, understand that smooth jazz makes sense, and ask if you want the bathtub to start filling… and turn the TV on, and start the latest episode of America Can Dance…

I know I’m pushing the bounds, I’m a geek. I’m sitting with a DX-80 screen, and seven other 27 inch monitors in front of me and behind me… I take comfort in knowing that I’m surrounded by computing power. Just want it to do my bidding.


(Paul) #13

i’m just gonna on a little rant, and say my digital foot print is huge were I don’t care about my digital footprint, and it doesn’t exist… where I don’t want it to exist. We live in a world where IRI can tell you how much money you make and where you buy your beer, and I can tell you your name, address, and habits, and tell you where you are right now. no I’m not being paranoid. you’ve got your head in hole if you think the NSA doesn’t know you’re in your underwear right now, eating cheetos on a bean bag.

That being said, I want my bean bag to be warm, and to have my Cheetos delivered in a crystal bowl next to me…

STv2 seemingly doesn’t seem to be the platform


#14

I just bought the ST v2. I am fed up with the need for online access.
I would like to add veraplus to my home.

should i make that primary and make the stv2 secondary (to allow for ECHO control of vera devices) or should I do it the other way around (ST primary and veraplus secondary)?

I want to allow my aeotec minimotes to work when the hub is offline (as my internet has been poor) and thus far, when the internet fails, my remotes are useless!

Thanks!


#15

Just to be sure, you’re aware that there’s actually almost no local operation with the smartthings V2 hub, right? It’s still basically a cloud-based architecture.

The only things that will run without a connection to the SmartThings cloud on the V2 hub is the official smart lighting feature (and then only with some device type handlers) and some parts of smart home monitor. For example, routines do not run locally, the Phillips hue and harmony integrations do not run locally, notifications do not run locally, no custom code run locally. Also, the SmartThings mobile app on your phone cannot talk to the hub without going through the cloud, even if your local Wi-Fi is still up. So you won’t be able to do anything with the mobile app if your Internet access is down.

A minimote using the stock device type handler Will be able to run locally with a smart lighting automation, but you can’t use the minimote locally to, say, disarm smart home monitor or change mode, or turn on a hue bulb.

You may already know all that, just wanted to be sure.


Mi Casa Verde Vera Lite as a Primary Controller, ST as a secondary
#16

Thank you. Yes, I was not aware of this requirement when I bought it… And my internet is spotty enough (cable strength) that it is frustrating.

I installed a custom device handler for the aeotec remote (Kaye’s) that gave me some feature I liked on the tiles. This doesn’t seem to function with hub offline using the stock smart lighting app. I’ll try changing the handler to stock and see what happens.

In the meantime, it would great if I could use the stv2 as a secondary controller to a local run Vera system. Any thoughts how to get that accomplished?