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This is really hard for me... where do I begin?


Jay M

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I've looked at the many threads and wiki articles, I'm not sure where to begin.

 

Today, May 9, 2016 - Do I need to pay to make my Echo control my ISY?  I can't find a clear answer.

 

I created a portal account, but there is no portal tab on my admin console.

 

I have firmware 4.4.6 installed.

 

thanks for your help.

 

~Jay

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Which Portal did you buy? 'Mobilinc' or 'ISY Portal'?

If the latter, you need to create an account at my.ISY.io and  link your ISY (see http://wiki.universal-devices.com/index.php?title=ISY_Portal_Installation_Instructions).

Then, link your Amazon account. Instructions for this are at the Wiki here: http://wiki.universal-devices.com/index.php?title=ISY_Portal_Amazon_Echo_Integration

 

If you haven't purchased it yet - the ISY Portal is $49 for 2 years. You'll need to purchase that to be able to add an ISY to your portal account.

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I did not buy anything.  I've only created a UDI portal account.  Do I need to buy something to make the ISY work with the Echo?

Yes. The portal integration module for ISY. It's $49 for 2 years (a subscription).

See: http://wiki.universal-devices.com/index.php?title=ISY_Portal_Installation_Instructions

 

You've done step 1 of setup before establishing the prerequisites.

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yikes! that's really expensive!  That is half the price of the echo itself, but at least the Echo is paid for, not a subscription.

 

Could I use the Insteon hub with the ISY instead?  The $70 hub includes free Echo integration.

 

thanks,

~Jay

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There are other options if you want to do a little more work yourself and have another machine running locally (like a Pi).  You can setup a Hue emulator that will allow you to make your own glue between the Echo and ISY.  It was the path many took before the ISY portal was available so you can find some threads on here about it.

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There are other options if you want to do a little more work yourself and have another machine running locally (like a Pi). You can setup a Hue emulator that will allow you to make your own glue between the Echo and ISY. It was the path many took before the ISY portal was available so you can find some threads on here about it.

Yep. This works for many as well - but it does require some Linux tinkering - if you're up for that. Also likely requires buying a Rpi (or similar) to run it.

 

There is also Mobilinc Connect - they have an Echo integration as well for $29.99/yr - but it's only a Skill whereas the ISY Portal offer both a skill and the native Connected Home API.

 

Honestly, my feeling is the $25/year for the ISY Portal is worth it in time saving compared with rolling your own. The ISY Portal subscription also gives you the ISY Network Module included for free, and IFTTT integration.

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yikes! that's really expensive! That is half the price of the echo itself, but at least the Echo is paid for, not a subscription.

 

Could I use the Insteon hub with the ISY instead? The $70 hub includes free Echo integration.

 

thanks,

~Jay

That $70 is three years of subscription. If you switched to the Hub, your ISY would mostly gather dust.

 

It's *not recommended* to mix two Insteon controllers. It's either ISY or the Hub (unless your pretty advanced in device link management). An Insteon device is only generally linked on one controller.

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I'm not a fan of subscriptions and avoid them whenever I can. But I do have two land lines and a smartphone, all of which are useless w/o a subscription. I also get newspapers and magazines. It's the price I pay for the services I want B)

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49/180= 27%  :)  Here's Wiki instructions for setting up the portal and for setting up echo.

 

 

Jon...

 

I bought the Echo dot.  Maybe I'm just a cheapskate.   

 

It's just a bit off putting that this recurring portal fee is so expensive when most other appliances work with the Echo for free.  I've already bought 2 ISY devices.  The first one didn't break, it just became obsolete.  I've already spent good money, it's too bad the business model isn't about adding value.  I guess that's the nature of a niche market.  

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Did you hear of Rovolv? The product got killed a few weeks ago. If you bought it (nearly $300) you now will soon have a brick. No refunds. Because the cloud service is being shut down.

 

That's the cost of 'free'. It's often unsustainable.

 

Because it costs... every.single.month to run the necessary server infrastructure. There is no 'cloud' - only some else's computer that you are renting.

 

Personally, I don't want my (significant) investment to become obsolete - so I'm willing to pay for it to be a sustainable business model.

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 "...only pennies per day", has added up, through my lifetime, to be almost $100K per year.

 

Most of us want ..finite and absolute... and "cloud' is becoming a dirty word, a way to disguise taking money from our wallets, a little at a time by dazzling our eyes with technology we haven't seen before..

 

Doesn't "cloud" suggest "confusion",  "haze",  "can't see",  "unresolved",   "unknown"?

Probably a really bad nickname for something we are not what to call it in a "one-size-fits-all" naming attempt. 

 

 

Clouds blow away and the sky may eventually become blue and clear.. :)

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Did you hear of Rovolv? The product got killed a few weeks ago. If you bought it (nearly $300) you now will soon have a brick. No refunds. Because the cloud service is being shut down.

 

That's the cost of 'free'. It's often unsustainable.

 

Because it costs... every.single.month to run the necessary server infrastructure. There is no 'cloud' - only some else's computer that you are renting.

 

Personally, I don't want my (significant) investment to become obsolete - so I'm willing to pay for it to be a sustainable business model.

You talk about cloud being free and services dying off because of that, thus making a point to pay for the infrastructure and I agree you have to pay to keep a service going if you like it.

 

But then in the next breath you say you dont want your investment to become obsolete. So wouldnt this be the reason to pay once and be done so it can be on your local machine?

 

I get your point and what your trying to explain but it also seems a bit conflicting.

 

The ISY portal is great but I would like to see all this Polygot, RaspberryPi, ISYHelper, NodeLink, DDCLink, etc all move to the service in one place. I know I am tired of configuring and maintaining multiple services for my ISY. Then if that was to happen the portal sub costs would be less of a con and more of a pro.

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Revolv didn't go away because it's cloud was free, or it was an unprofitable business model, it went away because it was bought by a huge company who chose to kill it.  But I get your point.  Did you go to the Revolv website?  It looks like they are trying to do the right thing...

"If you're a current Revolv customer, please email us at help@revolv.com so we can help you out during this transition and provide you with a refund of the purchase price of your Revolv hub."

 

I do own many other things which require a cloud service to be fully functional, and it's almost always free.  I have some security cameras that require a cloud service to be easy to view when I'm away from home.  That service is free.  If I want to store video then they charge for that.

 

One thing is for sure, my opposition won't change the mind of the good people at ISY.

 

So tell me, is Echo control of lighting REALLY that useful?  It seems like a novelty to me.  I don't know if I want to spend $25 a year for a novelty.

 

thanks,

~Jay

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I personally find the portal and the echo integration very useful. I like being able to turn on the lights or the house music if I am working and my hands are occupied.  I'm looking forward to how this evolves. While I also am not a fan of subscription services, I am a fan of the ISY and all of the excellent support that comes with it and willing to support that.

 

I do not think $25 a year is unreasonable for what is offered. Automating your drapery with a somfy drapery set up will run you $600-1200+ for each one. A gefen HDMI matrix to send signals to different rooms costs $2000+. Many controllable home audio sound systems with built in amplifiers cost $1500-5000.

 

While there are some amazing features that are available with technology that has made life easier for those with disabilities, many of us use these features for convenience, and it is a luxury item that comes with a cost.  The $25 a year I have to pay for the portal is such a very small part of the costs of my total system, and I receive much better support from UDI than any of the other products I use.  Plus, minimum wage in Seattle next year is going to be $15 an hour so that puts things in a different perspective.

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So tell me, is Echo control of lighting REALLY that useful?  It seems like a novelty to me.  I don't know if I want to spend $25 a year for a novelty.

 

You'd have to decide that.  Alexa affords control of devices, programs and scenes via voice so can you make use of that feature?  People use it in a variety of ways but just as HA isn't necessary either is Alexa.

 

 

Jon...

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Revolv didn't go away because it's cloud was free, or it was an unprofitable business model, it went away because it was bought by a huge company who chose to kill it. But I get your point. Did you go to the Revolv website? It looks like they are trying to do the right thing...

"If you're a current Revolv customer, please email us at help@revolv.com so we can help you out during this transition and provide you with a refund of the purchase price of your Revolv hub."

 

I do own many other things which require a cloud service to be fully functional, and it's almost always free. I have some security cameras that require a cloud service to be easy to view when I'm away from home. That service is free. If I want to store video then they charge for that.

 

One thing is for sure, my opposition won't change the mind of the good people at ISY.

 

So tell me, is Echo control of lighting REALLY that useful? It seems like a novelty to me. I don't know if I want to spend $25 a year for a novelty.

 

thanks,

~Jay

For me personally at first I loved having the Amazon Echo respond to my request and most of the time it works. However the longer I own it the more those times it doesnt work are adding up and annoying me more and more. Add to the fact that Amazon changes things in the background and doesnt tell anyone so while everything may work perfectly at first it could stop at anytime. Just read some of the echo threads, people complain about this often. So I actually use my Echo much less and prefer other input methods that work 100% of the time, like a KPL or remote control.

 

You could spend your money better elsewhere say on a Harmony remote if you dont have one. Then using free software I posted above from BWS Systems, link the Harmony to the ISY and an Echo. Did you see my post above? Is that not an option? Its FREE! :)

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Yes Scott, I did see it.  I'll look into BWS Systems.  I do have server/HTPC that's on 24/7.

 

I don't use a Harmony remote, but I do use Universal Remotes remote control that I love.  

 

Is BWS difficult to set up?  Can is run a scene from the ISY?

 

I bought the Echo Dot out of curiosity, not need.  People really seem to love it, but so far I haven't really seen a huge benefit.  One thing that occurred to me is that I am an extremely visual learner.  I asked Alexa for weather, and a minute later I forgot the day's forecast, whereas if I glance at weatherbug on my iPhone, I can remember the whole week.

 

I'm way off topic now!  

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Yes Scott, I did see it. I'll look into BWS Systems. I do have server/HTPC that's on 24/7.

 

I don't use a Harmony remote, but I do use Universal Remotes remote control that I love.

 

Is BWS difficult to set up? Can is run a scene from the ISY?

 

I bought the Echo Dot out of curiosity, not need. People really seem to love it, but so far I haven't really seen a huge benefit. One thing that occurred to me is that I am an extremely visual learner. I asked Alexa for weather, and a minute later I forgot the day's forecast, whereas if I glance at weatherbug on my iPhone, I can remember the whole week.

 

I'm way off topic now!

Then BWS software maybe the perfect solution for you!

 

http://bwssystems.com

 

Its super easy to setup and does everything you want, Echo to scenes, programs, etc. Best of all its free. PM me if you want with your name, email and a phone number and I would be happy to help you set it up if you need it. I helped out a few people on the forum with this. One guy uses it for controlling his Hunter Douglas shades with it! It can run scripts too, so if you want to run external commands outside the ISY you can do that too!

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At first I implemented my own Alexa Skill ("Ask Victor") that utilized the REST API of the ISY 994i. This had the advantage that I could define my own lexicon for scenes, programs, and thermostats devices and it was fairy accurate in the speech recognition, but the "Alexa, ask Victor to ..." was low WAF and Amazon made several changes to the skill API that kept breaking my service. I spent some time playing with the HUE emulator on a RPi, but that was a lot of work and I never got it working correctly. I know some folks on here have created fairly decent codebase and instructions for it since then, however. So after about a year I bought an Insteon Hub (even at 15% off it was $69). That worked directly with the Echo (no "Ask Izzy to..." or "Ask Victor to...") for lights, but not at all for my thermostats. Also, as others mentioned, the Insteon ecosystem did not like having two controllers at all. Too much status information lost. With the announcement of the Smart Home API 2.0 and support for thermostats (for which Michel has promised support in "early May"), I sold the Insteon hub on eBay for $45 and got the two years of ISY Portal service. I like the ISY Portal for a number of reasons:

 

1. You have both the "Ask Izzy" interface (ISY Skill) to do some more robust things, and the Echo Connected Home support for simple commands to turn on and off scenes and programs that can be setup for a core set of voice command functions. This has high WAF and goes beyond simply turning on and off individual devices by voice. For example, after asking Alexa to order us a Dominos pizza (just kidding - can't stand Dominos pizza), we can say 'Alexa, turn on arrival lights" and it activates a program that turns on front porch lights, driveway lights, path lights, and sets a variable. When motion is detected in the driveway, the front foyer lights come on to indicate that someone is at the door (preventing them from having to ring the doorbell and sending our dog into a conniption). You can't do anything like that with the Insteon Hub.

2. The Portal connection greatly simplifies the configuration of your network firewall, because the connection is outbound from your ISY (and not inbound ports opened up).

3. Using the Portal to expose specific Scenes, Programs, and Devices to Echo makes voice recognition more accurate than if the Echo is allowed to query every device the Insteon Hub is connected to.

4. I can imagine that Michel will continue to develop support for expanded Smart Home API capabilities in the future (***nudge and wink*** where's the thermostat support)

 

Given all that, I think $50 is a small price to pay for two years of the Portal, but that's just one man's opinion.

 

WRK

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Thanks Scott, After I get it the software installed, I'll definitely be contacting you!  I'm really interested in getting better control of my Hunter-Douglas shades.  Their proprietary remote really sucks, I'd love to be able to use my IR remote, or the Echo.

 

WRK, thanks for your detailed post, it's very helpful.  Dogs are funny, our dog is a slow learner, when the doorbell rings, she runs to the actual chime in the hallway, not the front door. :) I like your idea of a motion sensor to turn on a light for that purpose.

 

~Jay

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If you were to invest hundreds of man hours coding a solution, paying for EC2 compute to run it on, EBS to store it, and a CDN and load balancer to make it highly available - wouldn't you charge your customer for access to it if it brought them value?

 

For most of us, the portal brings way more value than the $25/yr cost of entry. Well beyond simply speaking at Alexa and having her control lights.

 

The IFTTT allows interaction with other (in many cases) cloud only services.

 

The network module that you get with the Portal subscription allows you to control arbitrary local resources, like Sonos for example. You will be able to send push notifications with Pushover, Pushbullet (and others). The possibilities are endless.

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