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Control4 announces Amazon Echo integration

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29 minutes ago, eggzlot said:

just making sure i am not missing something - I did the basic Alexa/C4 skill thing (did not get my dealer involved yet).  All loaded fine.  The scenes in there, those can only go on/off?  I have 3 different loads in my kitchen each with their own name but I have a scene called kitchen lights so they all go on/off together.  What if I wanted to dim all 3 at the same time (all 3 are on dimmers).  For each load I could say the name and dim just fine, but I cannot dim the scene.  I have Ari's driver, so I guess I could use that and create a few set points at 75%, 50%, 25% etc and trigger off that?

 

Using the C4 skill, you can set levels on any individual light, but to do so on a group you would either have to create a group under connected devices in the Alexa ap or use an advanced lighting scene

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3 minutes ago, am350z said:

Sorry if I wasnt clear.  I guess i was wondering how new commands are learned. So if I control my pool with C4, how is that programmed to an "Alexa, turn on hot tub" command.  Then, I assume the dot sends command to c4 controller via the network. Total newbie on Alexa so forgive me and thanks!

These devices don't communicate with Control4 or anything else directly, afaik.  Its all through Amazon's cloud.  It is more points of failure, but if you have robust internet, that shouldn't be a concern.

Once your dealer gets you setup with the "Voice Scenes", you can program pretty much whatever you want in Composer HE.

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For those with Ari's driver - the C4 Voice Scene "Scene Name" == Ari driver "Trigger Name"

They are both defined on the Properties tab of the driver.

 

A C4 Voice Scene is somewhat of a misnomer, in that it doesn't allow setup like a Media Scene or Advanced Lighting scene, but rather creates events that can be programmed like any other event firing.  The events are Turn <Scene Name> On, Turn <Scene a Name> Off and "Voice Scene Received".

 

Note that Ari's driver supports ON, OFF, UP, DOWN, SET events for each keyword, the C4 just ON, OFF (and the "any")

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39 minutes ago, jfh said:

 

Using the C4 skill, you can set levels on any individual light, but to do so on a group you would either have to create a group under connected devices in the Alexa ap or use an advanced lighting scene

perfect - it worked - thanks!

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Thanks.  Read through the docs and started setup.  Seems very basic.  Can you only control lights?  Also, can you and if so how, change the Alexa voice commands? I guess that is where the voice scene driver is needed?  For instance, I have a scene that is "Theater lights off"  It does make much sense to say "Alexa, turn on Theater lights off" !!

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2 minutes ago, am350z said:

Thanks.  Read through the docs and started setup.  Seems very basic.  Can you only control lights?  Also, can you and if so how, change the Alexa voice commands?  For instance, I have a scene that is "Theater lights off"  It does make much sense to say "Alexa, turn on Theater lights off" !!

 

It is very basic.  There are two pieces to the support.  With the Alexa skill you can control lights, Advanced Lighting scenes and volume with on/off/set commands.  No programming is required and you can rename any lights/scenes so the keywords are more natural on the Amazon Alexa section on mycontrol4 

the second piece - the Voice Scenes driver - allows you to define your own triggers and program against them when <event> ON or <event> OFF is received.

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On 9/15/2016 at 1:21 AM, Cyknight said:

Now I'm curious to see if those that bought your driver have their own humble opinion about  having payed for a product you apparently were aware was going to be obsolete in months?

Perhaps it's just me, but you're coming across extremely negative and aggressive here. As one of those customers, I will answer.

I've had this driver running since December 31st of last year. That is nearly 9 months using a driver that has made Alexa far more powerful and useful in our every day lives. It has been 100% worth every dime we paid for it.  Even if I knew that Control 4 was coming out with a driver 9 months later that would offer similar functionality natively, I would have still purchased it. I got that functionality 9 months ago.

Once I get back from this errand, I'm going to dive into C4s integration. I hope that it's a big improvement, but I don't regret at all having the functionality provided for me a long time ago.

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4 minutes ago, jfh said:

 

It is very basic.  There are two pieces to the support.  With the Alexa skill you can control lights, Advanced Lighting scenes and volume with on/off/set commands.  No programming is required and you can rename any lights/scenes so the keywords are more natural on the Amazon Alexa section on mycontrol4 

the second piece - the Voice Scenes driver - allows you to define your own triggers and program against them when <event> ON or <event> OFF is received.

Thanks.  Is there documentation for voice scenes driver anywhere?  Limited info here.  Ultimately, I would like to be able to control pool, audio/video if that is even possible!

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2 hours ago, AnOutsider said:

Once I get back from this errand, I'm going to dive into C4s integration. I hope that it's a big improvement, but I don't regret at all having the functionality provided for me a long time ago.

It's a fairly shallow dive :)

The Alexa skill shows a great deal of promise and it shines by providing the immediate ability to control lights and lighting scenes with ON/OFF (and level) commands without any programming and the ability to customize the names used to trigger them.  The skill requires a 4Sight subscription because of the server dependencies.  

The optional Voice Services driver does essentially what Ari's driver does - define triggers (called voice scenes by Control4) that create events that can be programmed against.  However, the only events available are ON and OFF, where Ari's driver also supports UP, DOWN and SET.   The Voice Services driver allows you to rename a scene/trigger (instead of having to delete/add); Ari's allows you to easily print a list of triggers.   Both drivers result in Alexa responding "Okay" when an event is recognized (not on the actual trigger).  

Ari's driver does not require a 4Sight subscription.  I presume Voice Services does (guessing here) because there is no identification of the Alexa device to use in that driver; it is established by enabling the Control4 Alexa skill (which links your Amazon Alexa and Control4 accounts)

 

If you have Ari's driver, I see no compelling reason to use the Voice Services driver instead (yet).  

 

If you already have 4Sight, the Alexa skill is worth enabling if you haven't already defined voice events for lighting (since it requires ZERO programming).  If you don't have 4Sight, you can accomplish everything the C4 solution can do with Ari's driver (and support multiple Alexa accounts, which the C4 skill/driver cannot do).

 

Edit: Ari's driver = Alexa driver produced by Epic Systems

Edited by jfh
Add reference to Epic Systems

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34 minutes ago, am350z said:

Thanks.  Is there documentation for voice scenes driver anywhere?  Limited info here.  Ultimately, I would like to be able to control pool, audio/video if that is even possible!

 

In HE, unless you have a copy of the driver file locally you can't see the doc.  I got the RTF file, but there really isn't much there.  To define a Voice Scene, go to the Properties page of the driver and add a scene name.  After you define you names, run discovery in the Alexa ap.

Then under programming under the Voice Services driver there will be a turn on and turn off event for every voice scene you defined.  Program those like any other event.  You can control you pool, A/V, anything you can program today.  

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32 minutes ago, jfh said:

 

In HE, unless you have a copy of the driver file locally you can't see the doc.  I got the RTF file, but there really isn't much there.  To define a Voice Scene, go to the Properties page of the driver and add a scene name.  After you define you names, run discovery in the Alexa ap.

Then under programming under the Voice Services driver there will be a turn on and turn off event for every voice scene you defined.  Program those like any other event.  You can control you pool, A/V, anything you can program today.  

Great, thanks a bunch!

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How can I as a standard C4 consumer, add this ARI's driver to my project to use voice commands?  I did purchase the Echo last night and this thing is crazy cool with the easy ability to control simple C4 functions.  C4 will probably be getting a run for their money based on what I saw of the Phillips products that the end consumer can add and control themselves.

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31 minutes ago, drmark12pa said:

How can I as a standard C4 consumer, add this ARI's driver to my project to use voice commands?  I did purchase the Echo last night and this thing is crazy cool with the easy ability to control simple C4 functions.  C4 will probably be getting a run for their money based on what I saw of the Phillips products that the end consumer can add and control themselves.

You can't.  You need Composer Pro to add a driver (either Ari's driver or Voice Scenes) and only dealers have Pro.  Once installed, you can use Composer Programming to define scenes/triggers and program against them.

As long as Control4 continues to force consumers to go through dealers to add/remove/change devices, they aren't going to compete in the typical consumer space.  Control4 would absolutely own home automation for the masses if they would just stop assuming that DIY types with Control4 aren't capable of being trusted with a Pro.  

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To clarify, when Jim says "Ari's driver", he is referring to the driver that my company (Epic Systems) produced.  

It is available for purchase on our website at www.epic-systems.com

We have reduced the price from $150 to $75 in order to be more in-line with the value that our driver brings vs. the other options out there now.

 

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Sure I would be happy to, takes only a few minutes to add to the project.  As Jim said, you will need Composer Home Edition to configure the driver once it is added.  There are videos on our website which walk you through how to do it, step-by-step.

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Heck, just having voice control for UP, DOWN and SET is worth $75 ... Let alone potentially not having to have a 4Sight sub.

 

For now, it seems the most flexible Alexa control requires the C4 skill, the epic-systems driver and Chowmain's IFTTT driver working together.   I hope we see a "one size fits all" solution that fully integrates Alexa control into Control4, but not holding my breath it will happen any time soon.    

It's pretty much going to depend on if Amazon thinks C4 is big enough to bother with and/or if C4 is willing to expand Alexa support beyond "pretend I'm a light bulb"

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3 minutes ago, jfh said:

Heck, just having voice control for UP, DOWN and SET is worth $75 ... Let alone potentially not having to have a 4Sight sub.

 

For now, it seems the most flexible Alexa control requires the C4 skill, the epic-systems driver and Chowmain's IFTTT driver working together.   I hope we see a "one size fits all" solution that fully integrates Alexa control into Control4, but not holding my breath it will happen any time soon.    

It's pretty much going to depend on if Amazon thinks C4 is big enough to bother with and/or if C4 is willing to expand Alexa support beyond "pretend I'm a light bulb"

Thanks for the posts and the helpful information.

Could you provide examples of how/when the "UP, DOWN, SET " functions might be useful? Sorry if that is obvious!  Just want to understand these features.

 

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6 minutes ago, Rori said:

Thanks for the posts and the helpful information.

Could you provide examples of how/when the "UP, DOWN, SET " functions might be useful? Sorry if that is obvious!  Just want to understand these features.

 

Alexa "blinds up."

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I use UP and DOWN for blinds, lights (for various preset levels), music selection (to cycle through a list of choices).  Might do garage doors (with additional programming for security, like don't allow if garage user already known to be away).  Going to also use them to control UP/DOWN buttons on some of my wireless keypads.

I use SET to fast path in a menu (music, video, TV channels) - anything I can boil down to a numbered list of choices/options.  Can't use it directly for TV channels or radio stations because the max SET can go to is 100 (as in 100% of a light's level).  

Alexa, set gameroom music to 2 (or whatever)

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On September 15, 2016 at 0:21 AM, Cyknight said:

1) Yeah..so does C4's.

2) Yep, Boohoo

 

As for your resource - I hate to say it, really I do - but if you thing that's an impressive 'resume'.....

There is ONE big difference between your solution and C4's - the latter is done with an intended cooperation with the Echo team. Make of that what you will.

 

I'm happy to hear you've made your money back at least.

Now I'm curious to see if those that bought your driver have their own humble opinion about  having payed for a product you apparently were aware was going to be obsolete in months?

 

As for being limited to what Amazon allows - true enough, it's why I'm not brimming with excitement at all yet.

Ouch... 

I enjoy using the Epic driver daily. I don't feel like i was taken nor do I feel like buying the driver was a waste. It's the reason I expanded my system. It was a win for C4, epic, and the entire community.

I commend Ari and team for their hard work thinking outside the box and bringing us the driver early. Epic did it first, that's something to be proud of. 

@chopedogg88

 

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Heck, just having voice control for UP, DOWN and SET is worth $75 ... Let alone potentially not having to have a 4Sight sub.

 

For now, it seems the most flexible Alexa control requires the C4 skill, the epic-systems driver and Chowmain's IFTTT driver working together.   I hope we see a "one size fits all" solution that fully integrates Alexa control into Control4, but not holding my breath it will happen any time soon.    

It's pretty much going to depend on if Amazon thinks C4 is big enough to bother with and/or if C4 is willing to expand Alexa support beyond "pretend I'm a light bulb"

It really depends on alexa apis. I think they will come. Lights are easy. Api for TV stuff is trickier

Sent from my Pixel C using Tapatalk

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