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Chowmain - Advanced Announcements Driver

The Control4 Home Automation system has the ability to play audio announcements through the audio outputs on its controllers and speaker points. These announcements can play back any file encoded in a wav format. Traditionally these announcements have been used for doorbells and pre-recorded messages.

Chowmain’s Advanced Announcements driver expands the announcement agent by providing integration with web based text to speech engines. This gives you futuristic dynamically generated voice notifications over your Control4 system without any additional hardware.

We recently updated our driver to now support voice recording via a built in HTML5 web server.  You can now browse the page using your firefox or chrome browser on windows, linux, mac or android operating systems and record your voice and send it to Control4

Features

  • Ability to record voice via a compatible web browser and playback through Control4 straight away.
  • Dynamic text to speech generation
  • Ability to speak the time
  • Ability to speak the date
  • Ability to inject variables
  • Currently supports 3 text to speech engines with multiple languages, voices, speed and pitch
    • SpeechUtil.com
    • VoiceRSS.org
    • iSpeech.org
  • Play Online File command.  This helps get around the 10mb Control4 announcement agent restriction by downloading files only on demand only and also allow integrators to implement online or local text to speech services not included in this driver.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you give us some examples of how we could use this driver?

  • Reading out the time and date to the blind eg “the time currently is 10:00am”.
  • Notifying you about how many times your phone has rung whilst you were out. eg “Whilst you were out you received 3 phone calls”.
  • Notifying you about how many times your doorbell has been pressed whilst you were out. eg “Whilst you were out your doorbell was pressed twice”.
  • Notifying you about the weather forecast for the day eg “The weather forecast for today is late showers with a minimum of 5 and maximum of 13 degrees”.
  • Notifying you about the current energy usage. eg “Your house is currently using 4.5 kilowatts hours”.
  • Page a person throughout your home or office using the built in PA system functionality.

Are there any other cool things we can do with this driver?

  • This driver has the ability to use any variable from within a Control4 system. That means any 3rd party driver variable can be spoken in your announcement. From energy consumption to weather information the uses are endless.
  • This driver will be useful for the blind. Getting notifications on their environment will greatly assist with their daily lives.

 

What do the voices sound like?

There are so many voices that it is hard to post samples of them all.  We recommend you visit the engine websites to give it a try (SpeechUtil.com, VoiceRSS.org, iSpeech.org) prior to installation.  Here is one we geneated earlier.

 

Voice RSS Sample

 

What hardware will this work on?
This will work on any Control4 controller running oS 2.6 or later. Note that the audio output of the controller needs to be connected up to an amplification device such as a receiver.

What happens when the text to speech engine API changes?
The beautiful thing about the houselogix auto-update feature is that driver updates can be pushed out to systems. No dealer intervention needed. Rest assured that should any of these services change their API we will update the driver to match.

How do I find out more information about the driver?
Please see the links below for more information about the driver.

Download Product Slick

Download Installation Guide


How do I buy the driver?
This driver is developed by Chowmain software & apps and is distributed and supported by Houselogix, Inc. 

Download Driver / Purchase Licence

Who do i contact for technical support?

This driver is developed by Chowmain software & apps and is distributed and supported by Houselogix, Inc.
 

Do you provide trial licences?
All Chowmain drivers for Control4 come with a 48 hour trial.  This is activated once you add the driver to the project.  No additional steps are necessary.

 

0000228_advanced-announcements-driver.pn

Edited by alanchow

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Any upgrade path from your previous tts driver?

 

Unfortunately not.  That driver is owned by Recluse AV.  This one by Chowmain.  Two totally different companies with no relationship to each other apart from the fact that both software is written by the same guy.

 

Having said that though most of the old driver still works.  This one just has support and can be upgraded using the extra vegetables auto-update should anything break.

 

This one is also significantly cheaper.  Like 300% cheaper.

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Alan,

I'm having some issues with the driver.  Could I get your assistance if I am doing something wrong.

 

Ispeech - works with advertisement (paid service for no ads?)

voicerss - doesn't work, tries to play but no audio.

speechutil - works but not a big fan of the voice options.

 

Also when doing the "WAV file created" script to convert the audio, I have to manually hit execute.  Is this the expected behavior for it to show up with the correct announcement in the monitoring of the driver?

 

When I do the dynamic announcements like weather, the file size keeps changing in the monitoring driver screen.  A debug reveals that it keeps scrolling that it's executing announcements.

 

I'm running 2.5.3

 

Thanks

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The conversion of the audio should be placed in an event like a button or schedule.  The wav file created event should then execute the announcement you programmed.  This will automatically play the announcement upon the initial event fire (button press or schedule).

 

It looks like voice rss just changed their API to require a key.  This will limit you to 350 uses per day.  I will add in a key for this and get extra vegetables to push it out to all systems.  A reboot will be required once the update has been uploaded to your system.  You will see the version change to 7.0.1.  This may take a few days as i'm overseas at a conference.

 

 

ispeech is a premium service that requires registration and payment per message so it may not be a service for you.

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Ok, please post back once the update will be available.

I think I wasn't clear in my statement in regards to having to manually hit execute inside the software so let me refine.  I think this is a bug.

-If you had a previous working announcement, and you take that announcement and want to change it inside wav creation screen, unless you hit execute it doesn't load it into the actual memory which is displayed in the driver under last announcement.  If you don't hit execute, it will keep using the previous announcement even though you have unlinked it.

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I think you have set it up wrong. I tested this last night whilst I was in our auckland showroom. Please go through the installation guide again

Only the voice rss voices are broken. I have resolved the issues and have submitted to extra vegetables to update. They are at a trade show at the moment so will probably come through early next week.

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Alan,

I'm having some issues with the driver.  Could I get your assistance if I am doing something wrong.

 

Ispeech - works with advertisement (paid service for no ads?)

voicerss - doesn't work, tries to play but no audio.

speechutil - works but not a big fan of the voice options.

 

Also when doing the "WAV file created" script to convert the audio, I have to manually hit execute.  Is this the expected behavior for it to show up with the correct announcement in the monitoring of the driver?

 

When I do the dynamic announcements like weather, the file size keeps changing in the monitoring driver screen.  A debug reveals that it keeps scrolling that it's executing announcements.

 

I'm running 2.5.3

 

Thanks

 

 

The manual execute part, this was the biggest issue I had with the driver.  It took a while to figure out why the same announcement kept repeating until I happen to press execute.  Other than that good job, no issues apart from this.  Keep us posted on the update.

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The voice rss service has now been fixed. You will need to verify that the auto update has updated to version 7.0.1 and then restart director.

There is now a voice rss API key. Register for free for limited free usage per day. Should shot 99% or users.

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Hello Alan,

 

Is there an option to have this speech announcement driver send it's audio to a Sonos Playbar or any other Sonos device?

Currently using the EV Sonos driver and it would be great to have the option to get these units linked.

 

- Richard (Streamotica)

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Confirmed, it is working now with VoiceRSS.  Thanks for fixing it.

 

Is there a way to merge manual text with the existing weather variables?  If I put two lines into the wav creation screen, it only plays the first one.

 

So I am trying to achieve.  Hello B, tomorrows forecast is going to be X with a high of X degrees and a low of X degrees.

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