Playing around with Amazon Echo (technical interface discussion)

Wow, so I got my version to work - indeed the Echo discovery is looking for belkin/wemo but once discovered will use the Hue API (bizzarro!) so if your emulator can map your lights/switches to hue lights, the Echo discovers them all and you can do on/off/dimming - sweet.

2 Likes

I hope ST and Amazon don’t consider this a final solution :slight_smile:

Not likely.

But the bigger question is whether or not Amazon and SmartThings want and decide to directly partner up, or if both would rather let the developer community just integrate through the open platform features.

Clearly Philips Hue has a “premiere” status, so some partnership was arranged. Amazon and ST could totally ignore this option for a long time.

That’s perhaps “good news” for independent developers for both fun and a slight possibility of profit, but, not optimal for end-users.

The smoothness of the premier integration is hard to beat. But would be impossible with the V1 hub, assuming the Echo is doing all this in the local network space - we all fool it into working by running servers on the local network that then bridge out to the ST cloud.

Anyway - open is good. I still want to do more than the basic stuff this can do. I want to ask Echo about the status of the house. It’s not able to comply using the current device integration.

OK I got this working on my Macbook Pro.

I made a mistake the first time and had to delete the data folder.

The problem is the amazon echo now has both sets of devices. Two are offline and two are online.
One is named the same “AC” so when I say “Alexa turn on my AC” it replies "You have two devices named “AC”

How can I clear the device list from the echo and re-discover ?

UPDATE: Never mind, found it. The echo api has a “FORGET” button which clears all settings.

1 Like

I have one question.
What is this part really doing “Setup a REST Endpoint Smartapp8 and select the devices you would like your Echo to be able to turn on/off”

Why does it reference an ip address http://107.20.127.54/smartthings

Are we granting access to our devices to a public website ?
I think we are ?
Is this the echo site or are we using some third parties interface ?

Also I noticed this creates something called “Endpoint Example” but can not figure out how to rename that, edit it, or look at it’s config. Where is this in the IDE ?

Yes, I want that too.

I’m concerned that Echo requires general third-party apps, however, to set app context by name and not sure how long that context lags.

Having to say “Alexa, open SmartThings” before ever (few) command(s), is a major PITA. There may be variations on this syntax, but that’s the lack of “smoothness” that Hue integration currently doesn’t have to deal with.

This is a smart app that makes a rest (web) endpoint. It’s needed so that Echo or the emulation app can tell ST what light to turn off/on, etc. It’s “safe” because you need to know the URL and the secret (access_token) to successfully make the call.

Ditto to what @schettj said above. I just used the rest endpoint smartapp from @Ben’s tutorial - Tutorial: Creating a REST SmartApp Endpoint

1 Like

Yea, got it now. I didn’t know what that smartapp was, it doesn’t show up in my list of smart apps so was lost in what I was doing there.

Thanks Folks! Very cool having Alexa controlling my lights and AC. I just which I could change her name to Jarvis, Computer, or something more geeky like that :smile:

What is the advantage to implementing this emulator / code? The Echo already operates my Hue lights. I’m sure it is something, I just don’t understand. :grin:

They’re using it to operate nonHue devices as on/off, by tricking Echo into thinking those are also Hues.

2 Likes

Ah, thanks… (more dots and commentary
to reach the 20 character post minimum :).

Just wanted to add my thanks. Successfully got this setup and working. Still would like more native integration, but all in all pretty cool. Thanks for posting!

1 Like

This is working so well I have started converting one of my old notebook computers into an ubuntu server so I can keep it up and running on my network. Nice work!

Won some WAF (Wife acceptance factor) on both my ST expenses and my Echo purchase she thinks our voice controlled house is pretty cool :smile:

2 Likes

So what can Amazon Echo currently do with SmartThings? Keep in mind, code is a 4 letter word to me so I would certainly me copying off everyone’s test here. :smile:

I am setting up Smart Things in my new house for the first time in the coming weeks and I am acquiring various pieces including an impulse buy of an Echo last night (C-List). Only recently did I look into voice control, which isn’t all that important to me currently, but will obviously be important to the long term future of Home Automation & Control.

Should I be acquiring Philips items to control with Echo? I was buying switches instead of bulbs. Ubi vs. Echo, does Ubi currently offer more control of Smart Things plus voice notifications? So many decisions and so many routes my head hurts!!!

1 Like

As of this writing, May 12, 2015, there is no official way to control smart things directly through echo.

You can use IFTTT as a “Man in the middle” since both echo and smart things have IFT TT channels. The problem is that the only thing you can do in the Echo channel is triggered based on any item being added to the to do list, or any item being added to the shopping list. So you could tell smart things to turn on the kitchen lights whenever you told echo to add something to your shopping list, but it’s a pretty limited way of doing things.

However, we do know that several independent developers who have official access to the echo development environment are working on smart things apps for echo, and so we can assume that there will be some kind of working control within a few months. What we don’t know is how graceful it will be.

UBI currently has a nice, graceful interface with SmartThings. The problem hasn’t been what it can do, but rather the quality of its voice recognition. So for a lot of people, it just doesn’t understand what they’re asking it to do. Same problem with the IVEE. But if you find that the UBI does understand you, it has a better interface with smartthings right now.

If you’re willing to wait a few months, it’s likely that the echo will be a better choice. It has pretty amazing voice recognition.

If you already have an Echo and want to use it to control lights right now, bulbs that work via a Philips Hue bridge are your best bet for both immediate functionality and long term integration.

For more discussion on voice control options with smart things, see:

Re: bulbs that work via a Philips Hue bridge are your best bet for both immediate functionality and long term integration

is the control limited to on/off at the moment or can you dim the bulbs (and if so, commands?)

It will dim, but not change color:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201749260

[quote=“jovanm, post:78, topic:14887”]
is the control limited to on/off at the moment or can you dim the bulbs (and if so, commands?)
[/quote]turn light foo on/off - “set light foo brightness to 0-100” “dim/brighten light foo”

These seem to work. Echo doesn’t have a fixed vocab, which is one of the neat things about it.

What I want:

“Is the house secure?”
“Are any windows open?”
"Set the (downstairs) thermostat to heating, and set to 69 degrees"
etc…

1 Like