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Making Voice Control Smarter (both Alexa and Google)

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Lot's of questions and lots of lack of information on how to make things better.

Good news with both Alexa and Google with the NATIVE control4 integration - no 3rd party drivers, you can now talk to the dot/mini/whatever and say turn the lights on/off and it will know the room you are in and turn the lights on/off!  Awesome right?  I know this post is going to lead to more questions but I'm tired of all the random questions.

Alexa

In order to make this work in Alexa you have to setup Groups.  (Think of groups like rooms).

Each Group has a prefered Alexa device (which can be any generation echo or spot) - ONLY ONE

Here are instructions on how to setup Groups - https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201749250

The key to a group is a few things:

1) Pick the right Alexa device - you can only pick one

2) Pick everything you want that Alexa device to control and add it to the group

3) KEY STEP - DON'T SKIP - Control4 devices come in as "switches" not lights, you have to change that for every lighting load.  You have to go to all devices, the find the device, click gears and change the type to Light from switch and save.  You must do this for every load.

Bonus Feature: You can also call a group by a name, so if you are in the living room you can tell it to turn the master bedroom lights on/off

 

Google

WIth Google you do much the same.  You setup rooms in the google Home app, add all your devices including more then 1 Google Mini/Nest Mini/Google Home/Nest home to a room.  THen when you are in that room - Googl turn the lights on off.

 

Is this helpful? Should I explain it more step by step?

 

I am available for consultations.

 

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Lot's of questions and lots of lack of information on how to make things better.
Good news with both Alexa and Google with the NATIVE control4 integration - no 3rd party drivers, you can now talk to the dot/mini/whatever and say turn the lights on/off and it will know the room you are in and turn the lights on/off!  Awesome right?  I know this post is going to lead to more questions but I'm tired of all the random questions.
Alexa
In order to make this work in Alexa you have to setup Groups.  (Think of groups like rooms).
Each Group has a prefered Alexa device (which can be any generation echo or spot) - ONLY ONE
Here are instructions on how to setup Groups - https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201749250
The key to a group is a few things:
1) Pick the right Alexa device - you can only pick one
2) Pick everything you want that Alexa device to control and add it to the group
3) KEY STEP - DON'T SKIP - Control4 devices come in as "switches" not lights, you have to change that for every lighting load.  You have to go to all devices, the find the device, click gears and change the type to Light from switch and save.  You must do this for every load.
Bonus Feature: You can also call a group by a name, so if you are in the living room you can tell it to turn the master bedroom lights on/off
 
Google
WIth Google you do much the same.  You setup rooms in the google Home app, add all your devices including more then 1 Google Mini/Nest Mini/Google Home/Nest home to a room.  THen when you are in that room - Googl turn the lights on off.
 
Is this helpful? Should I explain it more step by step?
 
I am available for consultations.
 


Excellent explanation! C4 native driver will still depend on 4sight/cloud, right?

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Thanks for this, Mitch. We have Google Home, and it’s fantastic for turning lights on and off. What’s on my list to figure out (which I haven’t tried AT ALL yet), is how to use it for A/V control. Telling it to turn on a particular video source in a certain room, to pause the TV, play a radio station (through C4 of course), adjust the volume, etc...

If you’ve got a quick crash course on that I’d welcome it. If not, no worries. I’ll find time some day to experiment with it and see what is/isn’t possible and what the level of effort is. 

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Thanks @msgreenf.  It's nice to see a consolidation of some of the most asked questions regarding voice control.

If ANYONE can't get a hold of their dealer and needs 4sight or Composer HE, don't hesitate to contact me. 

* Please be sure you are not voiding any warranties or service contracts before deciding to take more ownership of your system.

Note: 4sight can be purchased directly from your account.

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I think some of this functionality is fairly new, I don't remember being able to designate loads as switches or lights when I last played with this a few months ago.  But I discovered this a couple of weeks ago.

I also found that I have voice command conflicts if I don't add "Alexa" or "Amazon" (or whatever) to the group names.  Something to differentiate it from the Control4 room name somehow.

If I'm wrong about this and there is a better workaround, I would love to go back to naming the groups just the actual room name.

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I also found that I have voice command conflicts if I don't add "Alexa" or "Amazon" (or whatever) to the group names.  Something to differentiate it from the Control4 room name somehow.
If I'm wrong about this and there is a better workaround, I would love to go back to naming the groups just the actual room name.


Explain what you mean. There is no need to do that

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1 minute ago, msgreenf said:


Explain what you mean. There is no need to do that

 

Should have known you would ask me that.  I was doing a lot of stuff on C4 that day and it is a blur.  I think when you do this you are going down the road of a conflict in whether you get the C4 room name or the Alexa room name if you try voice commands using the rooms.  So you have Alexa group names that match C4 room names and have no issues?

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What’s on my list to figure out (which I haven’t tried AT ALL yet), is how to use it for A/V control. Telling it to turn on a particular video source in a certain room, to pause the TV, play a radio station (through C4 of course), adjust the volume, etc...
If you’ve got a quick crash course on that I’d welcome it. If not, no worries. I’ll find time some day to experiment with it and see what is/isn’t possible and what the level of effort is. 


The only thing possible is volume not source. To do source you can use voice scenes w a lot of programming

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3 hours ago, msgreenf said:

Alexa

In order to make this work in Alexa you have to setup Groups.  (Think of groups like rooms).

Each Group has a prefered Alexa device (which can be any generation echo or spot) - ONLY ONE

Here are instructions on how to setup Groups - https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201749250

The key to a group is a few things:

1) Pick the right Alexa device - you can only pick one

2) Pick everything you want that Alexa device to control and add it to the group

3) KEY STEP - DON'T SKIP - Control4 devices come in as "switches" not lights, you have to change that for every lighting load.  You have to go to all devices, the find the device, click gears and change the type to Light from switch and save.  You must do this for every load.

Bonus Feature: You can also call a group by a name, so if you are in the living room you can tell it to turn the master bedroom lights on/off

In case anybody reads this as you can only have one Alexa device per group, you actually can have multiple devices per group, you just can't have a device in more than one group.  In my case, I did this because I have a large open area with two different Alexa devices.  For voice purposes, I've combined what is three rooms in Control4 into one Alexa group.  So no matter which device picks up my command, I don't end up with the incorrect loads turning on.  I might have more loads than I want, but that is better than the wrong ones.  YMMV.

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55 minutes ago, msgreenf said:


 

 


The only thing possible is volume not source. To do source you can use voice scenes w a lot of programming

Mitch- you should get a hold of David over at Berto UK. His paid driver for Google home can access the AV devices directly. I set the driver for the rooms with AV and was good to go. Would save a lot of programming of the voice scenes.

I added my garage to the mix and was able to open the garage (through a Lutron RA2 VCRX) with a voice command. I quickly removed the garage from the driver.

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Help me and anyone else understand this even further Mitch.

Group Name - "Master Bedroom":

  • Device: "Rich's Echo"
  • Lights (C4 Switches Changed to Lights)
  • Lamps (TP Bulbs)
  • Fan Control (Switch Changed to Light or maybe even fan if that's available)
  • AV

If I read your post correctly, I think what you are saying is that I can rename the lights the same for multiple rooms and whichever Amazon device is part of that group will control those group devices only?  Right now I have some devices in different rooms named the same (Fan Light - 4 places).  As it stands, I need to tell Alexa what room first, then which device.  So under your setup instructions, when in the room, I can say what?  Alexa turn on the fan light?  Or what would be proper syntax?  I've been asking if this was possible for awhile now.  I've had so many different answers (separate Alexa accounts, 3rd party drivers, etc.).  

If I'm wrong about what your suggesting, what am I missing... in other words, has something changed or have you just broken this down as a solution with nothing changing in the native voice scene driver or Alexa programming?

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3 minutes ago, time2jet said:

Help me and anyone else understand this even further Mitch.

Group Name - "Master Bedroom":

  • Device: "Rich's Echo"
  • Lights (C4 Switches Changed to Lights)
  • Lamps (TP Bulbs)
  • Fan Control (Switch Changed to Light or maybe even fan if that's available)
  • AV

If I read your post correctly, I think what you are saying is that I can rename the lights the same for multiple rooms and whichever Amazon device is part of that group will control those group devices only?  Right now I have some devices in different rooms named the same (Fan Light - 4 places).  As it stands, I need to tell Alexa what room first, then which device.  So under your setup instructions, when in the room, I can say what?  Alexa turn on the fan light?  Or what would be proper syntax?  I've been asking if this was possible for awhile now.  I've had so many different answers (separate Alexa accounts, 3rd party drivers, etc.).  

If I'm wrong about what your suggesting, what am I missing... in other words, has something changed or have you just broken this down as a solution with nothing changing in the native voice scene driver or Alexa programming?

that isn't exactly right.  What I am saying is that when you talk to Rich's echo and say turn off the lights (without specific light names or room names) it will turn on/off the lights for that room only.  You can still say Alexa, Turn on Kitchen light and it will do that too even if you are talking to Rich's echo.

Now you do you have to change your lamps to lights also

Fan's are either switches or lights (fan't dont have a device type in alexa)

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Just now, msgreenf said:

If I'm wrong about what your suggesting, what am I missing... in other words, has something changed or have you just broken this down as a solution with nothing changing in the native voice scene driver or Alexa programming?

I'm just explaining an often overlooked feature(s).

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30 minutes ago, msgreenf said:
Quote

that isn't exactly right.  What I am saying is that when you talk to Rich's echo and say turn off the lights (without specific light names or room names) it will turn on/off the lights for that room only.  You can still say Alexa, Turn on Kitchen light and it will do that too even if you are talking to Rich's echo.

But I have to have this in a group called Master (or whatever) and have that Amazon device in that group, correct? This could be really good.  Alexa turn on the ceiling lights versus Alexa turn on the Master Ceiling lights?  Right?  

Same with all other rooms that I have an Amazon device in.  

At the same time, by adding a different room name and device, I can ask Alexa to lock a door or turn off the laundry room light for instance? Devices outside of the group, just like a typical Echo would work, but your way, I can shorten the request to light, lamp, fan, etc.?  

Quote

 

Now you do you have to change your lamps to lights also

Fan's are either switches or lights (fan't dont have a device type in alexa)

 

Understood.

Next up... and you don't have to discuss any further if this has already been played out.  I'm still trying to understand the purpose of adding an Alexa to my rack and porting in to my controller?  This fascinates me, because I don't understand what I gain by this?  Play to Sonos in a room via a voice command from anywhere?  Can I do that without that dot connected to the EA?  

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12 hours ago, time2jet said:

But I have to have this in a group called Master (or whatever) and have that Amazon device in that group, correct? This could be really good.  Alexa turn on the ceiling lights versus Alexa turn on the Master Ceiling lights?  Right?  

It's just turn on the lights.  The dot in that group will turn on all lights in that group when it hears turn on the lights.

12 hours ago, time2jet said:

At the same time, by adding a different room name and device, I can ask Alexa to lock a door or turn off the laundry room light for instance? Devices outside of the group, just like a typical Echo would work, but your way, I can shorten the request to light, lamp, fan, etc.?  

you can only shorten the request if you are talking to the dot in that group. If you are talking to the dot in master and trying to turn off the laundry group you say turn off the laundry lights and it will turn off all lights with a single command.

12 hours ago, time2jet said:

I'm still trying to understand the purpose of adding an Alexa to my rack and porting in to my controller?  This fascinates me, because I don't understand what I gain by this?  Play to Sonos in a room via a voice command from anywhere?  Can I do that without that dot connected to the EA?  

poor mans version of what you are doing with a sonos with lower quality

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Thank you so much for posting this on my request. I need to set it up and test it tomorrow.

 

But it seems it's still not going to achieve what I wanted to, which is to just be able to say "Alexa, turn on the pendant" to the Echo in the master bedroom to turn on the pendant light in that room, while there are six other lights named "pendant" in other rooms that remain unaffected.

 

We cannot do that, can we? It's either all lights in a room or nothing?

 

Sent from my SM-G970F using Tapatalk

 

 

 

 

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Thank you so much for posting this on my request. I need to set it up and test it tomorrow.
 
But it seems it's still not going to achieve what I wanted to, which is to just be able to say "Alexa, turn on the pendant" to the Echo in the master bedroom to turn on the pendant light in that room, while there are six other lights named "pendant" in other rooms that remain unaffected.
 
We cannot do that, can we? It's either all lights in a room or nothing?
 
Sent from my SM-G970F using Tapatalk
 
 
 
 
You can't do that with overlapping names.

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9 minutes ago, msgreenf said:
19 minutes ago, Aayush Arya said:
Thank you so much for posting this on my request. I need to set it up and test it tomorrow.
 
But it seems it's still not going to achieve what I wanted to, which is to just be able to say "Alexa, turn on the pendant" to the Echo in the master bedroom to turn on the pendant light in that room, while there are six other lights named "pendant" in other rooms that remain unaffected.
 
We cannot do that, can we? It's either all lights in a room or nothing?
 
Sent from my SM-G970F using Tapatalk
 
 
 
 

You can't do that with overlapping names.

But you can do "turn on kitchen pendant", turn on "Bar pendant" etc right?

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Yes, but you can do that right now too. All you have to do is name the lights that way.

 

You can't do that with overlapping names.

 

Man, that's so frustrating! It's such a terrible experience to always have to give long winded commands like "Alexa, set second bedroom bathroom pendant to 60%", or something else along those lines. How do you guys deal with a large house with multiple rooms and bathrooms?

 

Sent from my SM-G970F using Tapatalk

 

 

 

 

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Thanks [mention=129290]msgreenf[/mention] - a very useful summary.  I assume there is still no way in C4 to identify which device received the voice command (or which group) as that would be the holy grail and allow anything to be done (albeit with lots of programming).
Isn't that voice scenes?

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Thanks [mention=129290]msgreenf[/mention] - a very useful summary.  I assume there is still no way in C4 to identify which device received the voice command (or which group) as that would be the holy grail and allow anything to be done (albeit with lots of programming).
I understand that Control4 has no way to do that without Amazon building in support for that, but what surprises me is that Amazon itself hasn't figured this out by now.

This should be the default behaviour for Echo devices, that they can control devices in a group without having to identify them by room. One of the biggest problems in voice commands based automation is that of nomenclature, and it seems to be like this would be an easy fix.

Sent from my SM-G970F using Tapatalk

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