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brucecampbell

Alexa's Speed of completing C4 commands

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If I ask Alexa to turn off the lights, it take about 3 or 4 seconds of her 'thinking' then the command usually is done.

If I then ask her again to do another task, it is done right away.

I'm assuming this is some form of delay in connecting to C4 in the first instance.

does anyone else have this problem?

are there any solutions?

Cheers.

 

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cloud based nature of the beast. my biggest problem is alexa is losing her hear. all of my echo devices seem to have gotten worse at listening to the wake word almost have to scream at her sometimes.

 

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1 hour ago, Matt Lowe said:

you might check your dns settings. its may help some it may not. also upload speed on your internet may be a factor.

Thanks Matt - I'm not much of a hardware guy - what DNS settings in particular would I check?

 

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1 hour ago, Matt Lowe said:

cloud based nature of the beast. my biggest problem is alexa is losing her hear. all of my echo devices seem to have gotten worse at listening to the wake word almost have to scream at her sometimes.

 

I'd always had trouble with her understanding our Kiwi accent.

When I first purchased, they were not available for NZ, so everything was set up as per USA.
I've only just noticed I can set her to AUS/NZ, she now has a horrible voice, but does seem to recognize my requests better - especially for adding items to the shopping list.

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What I find bothersome is when she often says something along the lines of "I'm sorry, x-device is not responding." And then the action completes as soon as she says that.  So it works, despite the warning. Kind of embarrassing if I'm trying to demo the system.

I understand this occurs because of cloud based delays (although I do have 200 down and 20 up dependable connection).  Can I get rid of this by: 

1. Using the Voice Scene driver rather than straight from Alexa?

2. Using the Epic driver?

Thanks.

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16 hours ago, brucecampbell said:

If I ask Alexa to turn off the lights, it take about 3 or 4 seconds of her 'thinking' then the command usually is done.

If I then ask her again to do another task, it is done right away.

I'm assuming this is some form of delay in connecting to C4 in the first instance.

does anyone else have this problem?

are there any solutions?

Cheers.

 

I’m experiencing exactly the same thing and have a decent (100Mbps) upload speed. I had not realized that Alexa responded quicker to the second command but having tested this today, you are quite right.  So it appears to be a handshake issue.  Would be nice to force the handshake and leave the communication open permanently...

My delays are 4 to 5 seconds the first time round and 1 to 2 seconds on the second command.  My dealer has always said the reason for the delay is that I live in SA and not the USA...

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2 hours ago, South Africa C4 user said:

I’m experiencing exactly the same thing and have a decent (100Mbps) upload speed. I had not realized that Alexa responded quicker to the second command but having tested this today, you are quite right.  So it appears to be a handshake issue.  Would be nice to force the handshake and leave the communication open permanently...

My delays are 4 to 5 seconds the first time round and 1 to 2 seconds on the second command.  My dealer has always said the reason for the delay is that I live in SA and not the USA...

How do you find her understanding of your commands? - I take it you have an SA accent??
When ever she misunderstood us, we would try the same command in our best american accent and most often it would work.
After changing the language settings, I'm having better success though just speaking though.

 

I would assume leaving a connection open would have all sorts of possible security issues...would be nice if alexa could communicate directly with the c4 box without the need to go via the cloud...

 

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23 hours ago, brucecampbell said:

How do you find her understanding of your commands? - I take it you have an SA accent??
When ever she misunderstood us, we would try the same command in our best american accent and most often it would work.
After changing the language settings, I'm having better success though just speaking though.

 

I would assume leaving a connection open would have all sorts of possible security issues...would be nice if alexa could communicate directly with the c4 box without the need to go via the cloud...

 

Believe it or not, I am originally from Scotland but I find she understands my mixed Scottish South African accent remarkably well!

You are probably right on the security issue, but it sure would be nice to make the connection faster...

The Epic Systems Driver skips the need for the cloud but then you need to program each and every command... I use this driver for some light group commands that I use regularly (due to the speed)... So I ultimately have a mish mash of native C4, Epic Systems and IFTTT for my Alexa control!

What I would really love is someone to write a driver that allows one to say Turn on xxx in yyy where you can program with the xxx and yyy variables separately.  I would have thought one of the driver gurus ( @Shivam Paw, @alanchow @msgreenf @chopedogg88 @annex⁴ Etc.) could do this quite easily.  One could possibly even have it link in to the native Control4 driver and run this agains the Voice Secnes Driver.  I have done this manually in both my houses but a simple driver would make it much easier.  

I have lots of voice commands set up (for different things)

E.g. for music, one of them would be “Turn on Newsboys in the Bedroom” where I have the following code

 MusicToPlay = NewBoys

RoomToPlay = Bedroom

Execute Macro Play MusicInARoom

And my macro plays the MusicToPlay playlist in a dummy room and then joins the main bedroom to that dummy room before turning off the dummy room.

The problem is that with say 10 room combinations, and 20 playlists, this means creating 200 Alexa voice commands.  If I could define xxx and yyy separately then I would only need to set up 30 items...

One day someone will do this and it will be absolutely phenomenal.  VoicePod was working on it years ago but that, unfortaunely never got further than a (great) Beta Driver.

 

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4 minutes ago, msgreenf said:

The epic driver doesn't skip the need for the cloud...everything Alexa is cloud

True enough, Alexa is cloud based (and does not work if you are not connected to the internet), I am not technical enough to get this 100% right, so will rather quote their website below. What I can say is that the Epic Systems Driver is noticeably faster (for me) than the native Control4 driver but does not link things like lights in automatically (as the Control4 driver / skill does).  So there are pros and cons.  Returning to the original point, the following is from their website (and is thus much more technically accurate than my original comment):

3) Ours makes a DIRECT CONNECTION within your home network between the Echo(s) and Control4.  Control4's relies on a cloud-based integration, which has already proven to be both SLOWER and LESS RELIABLE.  There have been multiple reports on the dealer and user forums of long delays and outright failures when responding to voice commands using Control4's Alexa Skill.

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that is still not 100% - that is misleading.

When you ask Alexa to do something, she goes to the cloud and processes that command - then it comes back to your local device and calls the local device

vs the control4 integration that is cloud to cloud

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26 minutes ago, msgreenf said:

that is still not 100% - that is misleading.

When you ask Alexa to do something, she goes to the cloud and processes that command - then it comes back to your local device and calls the local device

vs the control4 integration that is cloud to cloud

I can’t speak for the developer so am not sure on the accuracy (or not) of the statement on their website but a little google based research has just taught me something new... apparently the Echo has an offline mode which lets you control some smart home devices and hubs with the internet disconnected.  News to me! Unfortunately, I cannot test this with the Epic driver as you need the Amazon app to set this up and in South Africa, we don’t have access to the app (only the website) :-(.  That said,  as the Epic systems driver (AFAIK) pretends that the C4 systems is a Phillips Hub of some sort, it is possible that this may work offline.  I am sure @chopedogg88 would know the answer to this!

Here is the Amazon link on offline mode for interest:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=GCC6XV9DX58VW5YW

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2 hours ago, South Africa C4 user said:

Believe it or not, I am originally from Scotland but I find she understands my mixed Scottish South African accent remarkably well!

Scottish South African - a rugby man? I'm off to Japan next week which includes the All Black v Springbok game in Yokohama to cap the trip off...

 

2 hours ago, South Africa C4 user said:

The Epic Systems Driver skips the need for the cloud but then you need to program each and every command... I use this driver for some light group commands that I use regularly (due to the speed)... So I ultimately have a mish mash of native C4, Epic Systems and IFTTT for my Alexa control!

I was using this driver, up until it stopped working with 2.9 (I'm avoiding the upgrade as I still need my HC300 for a contact and relay

I don't actually recall noticing the speed - which probably means it was working faster then it does now...

2 hours ago, South Africa C4 user said:

What I would really love is someone to write a driver that allows one to say Turn on xxx in yyy where you can program with the xxx and yyy variables separately.  I would have thought one of the driver gurus ( @Shivam Paw, @alanchow @msgreenf @chopedogg88 @annex⁴ Etc.) could do this quite easily.  One could possibly even have it link in to the native Control4 driver and run this agains the Voice Secnes Driver.  I have done this manually in both my houses but a simple driver would make it much easier.  

 

That would be neat, to essentially have function calls with parameters, it would make programming a bit cleaner for those who want more dynamic functionality.

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7 hours ago, South Africa C4 user said:

Believe it or not, I am originally from Scotland but I find she understands my mixed Scottish South African accent remarkably well!

You are probably right on the security issue, but it sure would be nice to make the connection faster...

The Epic Systems Driver skips the need for the cloud but then you need to program each and every command... I use this driver for some light group commands that I use regularly (due to the speed)... So I ultimately have a mish mash of native C4, Epic Systems and IFTTT for my Alexa control!

What I would really love is someone to write a driver that allows one to say Turn on xxx in yyy where you can program with the xxx and yyy variables separately.  I would have thought one of the driver gurus ( @Shivam Paw, @alanchow @msgreenf @chopedogg88 @annex⁴ Etc.) could do this quite easily.  One could possibly even have it link in to the native Control4 driver and run this agains the Voice Secnes Driver.  I have done this manually in both my houses but a simple driver would make it much easier.  

I have lots of voice commands set up (for different things)

E.g. for music, one of them would be “Turn on Newsboys in the Bedroom” where I have the following code

 MusicToPlay = NewBoys

RoomToPlay = Bedroom

Execute Macro Play MusicInARoom

And my macro plays the MusicToPlay playlist in a dummy room and then joins the main bedroom to that dummy room before turning off the dummy room.

The problem is that with say 10 room combinations, and 20 playlists, this means creating 200 Alexa voice commands.  If I could define xxx and yyy separately then I would only need to set up 30 items...

One day someone will do this and it will be absolutely phenomenal.  VoicePod was working on it years ago but that, unfortaunely never got further than a (great) Beta Driver.

 

Amazon's IFTTT only allows for specific phrases.

Google's IFTTT however allows for combination of phrase and number.

So for Google it is easier to do what you want but still not exactly what you want.

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9 hours ago, msgreenf said:

that is still not 100% - that is misleading.

When you ask Alexa to do something, she goes to the cloud and processes that command - then it comes back to your local device and calls the local device

vs the control4 integration that is cloud to cloud

How is that misleading?  We are talking about our driver, not Alexa.  Our driver doesn't make any cloud connections.  The reason our driver is much faster is because it doesn't use the Control4 cloud layer (which is the problem 95% of the time, not the Amazon Cloud).  I haven't tested without an internet connection to be honest.  If your internet is down you have bigger problems to worry about than your voice commands for your Control4 system not working...

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Not trying to pick a fight here...because you know I love you @msgreenf, but you really shouldn't be talking about misleading when your device renamer product image is a picture of a right-click and Rename option (taken directly from Composer Pro), when in fact it is much more cumbersome to rename devices using your driver.  I've sold the driver to several of my customers and many have asked why they can't get the pop-up menu like is shown on the product marketing.

https://www.blackwiredesigns.com/store/c4-device-renamer/ 

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4 hours ago, chopedogg88 said:

Not trying to pick a fight here...because you know I love you @msgreenf, but you really shouldn't be talking about misleading when your device renamer product image is a picture of a right-click and Rename option (taken directly from Composer Pro), when in fact it is much more cumbersome to rename devices using your driver.  I've sold the driver to several of my customers and many have asked why they can't get the pop-up menu like is shown on the product marketing.

https://www.blackwiredesigns.com/store/c4-device-renamer/ 

you are 100% right and i will fix that image. 

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