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Outline of how Echo works - Help appreciated


apostolakisl

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I'm looking at Echo but the info is somewhat scattered and evolving rapidly.

 

1) How is this linked to ISY?  It would seem that the ISY portal is a necessary item?  Is the portal the item that logs into Amazon and the portal serves as a relay to your ISY?  Port-forwarding won't do the trick?

2) The portal is currently beta?  I don't see it listed on UD's regular web page as an official module.

3) Echo is a one room device?  Can it be wired up to have mic's and speakers all over the house or do you need an echo per room?

4) It appears that echo allows voice command activation of programs.  I assume it can be used to directly control devices and scenes simply by stating the name?  Anything else it does with ISY?

5) Do you have to add every program/scene/device to a list or registry somewhere (the portal?) or do you automatically get control of everything on ISY once linked? 

6) And Echo Dot?  Is it just an Echo without good sound quality?

 

Thanks for the info.

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1. The portal is required. The portal is a separate form UDI service. The portal also allow a secure connection from anywhere. Port forwarding won't do it.

 

2. See 1.

 

3. Echo is a one room device, but you can add as many as you want.

 

4. You have to assign a "spoken" name for each device, scene and/or program that you want Echo to control.

 

5. The portal will find your devices and scenes when first installed. After that, you need to manually add or delete devices and/or scenes. Programs have to be added manually, but there's a drop down menu for each of devices, scenes and programs.

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You have two choices to connect the Amazon Echo either the self driven roll your own using RPi middle ware and code listed in this forum. Or purchase the web portal for $49.00 for a two year subscription which offers a plug and play affair. The UDI Web Portal will also offer more services and features beyond the Echo.

 

Some are future support for Honeywell Comfort TSTAT, Harmony, Push Bullet, IFTTT, etc.

 

I believe when it comes down to full house voice activation you have several choices. Purchase a full Echo in each room, buy the remote, or the Dot / Tap.

 

In the future I am sure the push for Smartphone voice activation will be the next *Microphone* for the Echo.

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You have two choices to connect the Amazon Echo either the self driven roll your own using RPi middle ware and code listed in this forum. Or purchase the web portal for $49.00 for a two year subscription which offers a plug and play affair. The UDI Web Portal will also offer more services and features beyond the Echo.

 

Some are future support for Honeywell Comfort TSTAT, Harmony, Push Bullet, IFTTT, etc.

 

I believe when it comes down to full house voice activation you have several choices. Purchase a full Echo in each room, buy the remote, or the Dot / Tap.

 

In the future I am sure the push for Smartphone voice activation will be the next *Microphone* for the Echo.

 

I wanted to look at the RPi solution, but my searches aren't finding the code you speak of.

 

I certainly don't need an Echo with high end (sort of) sound quality as I have already spent a good bit of cash installing a very nice whole house audio system.  So it looks like the dot plugged into my current sound system is the best option.

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I wanted to look at the RPi solution, but my searches aren't finding the code you speak of.

 

I certainly don't need an Echo with high end (sort of) sound quality as I have already spent a good bit of cash installing a very nice whole house audio system.  So it looks like the dot plugged into my current sound system is the best option.

 

This is one of the originator threads with most of the details: http://forum.universal-devices.com/topic/14525-amazon-echo-and-isy/?st=0

 

I believe at post #19 other important elements are provided - also please look up a great contributor Barry Gordon in the forums.

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However looking at the portal, for whatever reason it removes the network module.  Which removes all of my network resources controlling my cai webcontrol board and like 200 ir remote codes that my global cache executes.  

 

No... You have the option to keep the module or extend your portal subscription however, only firmware/UI version 4.4.3+ support the free network resource integration with the portal; v5.0.2 does not and 5.0.3 is yet a hazard :)

 

Once you set-up the Portal then Alexa is fairly easy to connect.

 

 

Jon...

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No... You have the option to keep the module or extend your portal subscription however, only firmware/UI version 4.4.3+ support the free network resource integration with the portal; v5.0.2 does not and 5.0.3 is yet a hazard :)

 

Once you set-up the Portal then Alexa is fairly easy to connect.

 

 

Jon...

 

OK, I re-read it and now I see what they meant.  The description could have been worded much better.  It would appear that the portal includes a subscription version of the network module and if you already paid for the permanent version, they are essentially giving you a credit if you convert your permanent network module over to the subscription.  But you don't have to.

 

I still would much prefer to run this locally.  Latency has to be a significant issue when adding another internet hop into the picture.

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I still would much prefer to run this locally.  Latency has to be a significant issue when adding another internet hop into the picture.

 

My response times are pretty fast; about 1.5 sec from end of command to execution.  That said, nothing is as fast or reliable as local but Echo for me isn't mission critical but a fun, novel convenience.

The portal basically offers a secure proxy that eliminates the hassle and expense of certificates,  Alexa and IFTTT are really just bonuses :)

 

 

Jon...

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My response times are pretty fast; about 1.5 sec from end of command to execution.  That said, nothing is as fast or reliable as local but Echo for me isn't mission critical but a fun, novel convenience.

The portal basically offers a secure proxy that eliminates the hassle and expense of certificates,  Alexa and IFTTT are really just bonuses :)

 

 

Jon...

 

Just an FYI, you don't need to pay for a certificate on a private server.  Paid certificates allow for a visitor to have confidence that you are authentic because a third party (the one the site bought the certificate from) says so.  But if you are going to your own site, you should know that your site is authentic and all you need is encryption.

 

Back to Echo.

I think I'm going to let this Echo concept mature for another month or two and then get back to it.  I'm not super excited about relying on Amazon, or Goolge or anyone offsite being responsible for my home automation.  The IOT concept isn't my favorite.  But, a local solution doesn't exist, at least not in any way that can compete with Echo (or Siri, or OK Google).  Having said that, I would rather rely on only one offsite processor (Amazon) rather than two (Amazon and UD).  

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Just an FYI, you don't need to pay for a certificate on a private server.  Paid certificates allow for a visitor to have confidence that you are authentic because a third party (the one the site bought the certificate from) says so.  But if you are going to your own site, you should know that your site is authentic and all you need is encryption.

 

I had issues using Tasker over ddns (even with "trust all certificates" checked) and I believe IFTTT requires a certificate.

 

 

Jon...

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 I'm not super excited about relying on Amazon, or Goolge or anyone offsite being responsible for my home automation. 

 

The Amazon Echo is not responsible for your home automation. It's an enhancement to the control you already have.

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I had issues using Tasker over ddns (even with "trust all certificates" checked) and I believe IFTTT requires a certificate.

 

 

Jon...

 

I can't speak to IFTTT since I've never used it, but it doesn't make any sense that a signed certificate would be needed since it is geared to the masses.  I do have tasker and use it without a signed certificate every day.

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Speaking of IFTTT, Tasker, and Echo.  Is there any way to get any of these things (or other things) to control google voice settings?  I used to have a plugin for takser that would change my google voice settings, but google changed something and the plug in now is broken and the developer either has no interest in fixing it or just can't.  I used to have it set so that every time I came home and my phone connected to my wifi, it would activate my cell phone number on my google voice account causing my home phone to ring.  And of course when I left, it would do the opposite.  I can't find any other method to do that automatically.

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I can't really agree with that.  You could chip out darn near every control method as an "enhancement" to your HA using that logic.

 

Yes, anything external to ISY, other than devices, is an enhancement. The Echo in not needed at all, therefore it's an enhancement. All the modules are enhancements. If they were not, then every one would need them.

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Yes, anything external to ISY, other than devices, is an enhancement. The Echo in not needed at all, therefore it's an enhancement. All the modules are enhancements. If they were not, then every one would need them.

 

I'm not sure why you are defining it that way.  HA is the goal, not what is part of ISY or not part of ISY.  I suppose the people at echo could say the same thing in reverse about ISY.  Anything external to echo is an enhancement from their perspective.

 

The people at Smarthome would certainly say that about ISY also.  Anything external to Insteon devices would be an enhancement from their perspective.

 

It's all HA.  And HA in general is an enhancement.  If I'm putting it in, it's part of the system and expect it to work.  I would rather not having the enhancement at all if it is something that is inconsistent.  Inconsistent is worse than just not there at all.

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...

But, a local solution doesn't exist, at least not in any way that can compete with Echo (or Siri, or OK Google).  Having said that, I would rather rely on only one offsite processor (Amazon) rather than two (Amazon and UD).  

 

I think it depends on your definition of local. I run the BWS Systems emulator locally on a Mac Mini file server. If you know certificates, the emulator setup should be easy for you regardless of device. Sure, the Echo's voice processing still happens in the cloud but the execution of the HA is local.

 

I haven't switched to the Echo/UDI Connected Home functionality due to the emulator supporting the Harmony Hub as well as UDI programs. My understanding is that if I switched I also would lose push notifications from Mobilinc Connect.

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