Voice controlled home automation thingy

Jon

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has anyone here bought one of these voice controlled automation things like Amazons echo

Sonos have sent me an email offering a Amazon dot for only £19.99 to work alongside the speaker .

I'm quite interested in the home automation side of things and being able to control lights and power in each room by simply talking!
 

Topaz

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Yeah, I've got an Echo - it's A.I. which stands for Artificial Idiocy!
I don't use the home automation side of it, (yet) just use it for music, searching and asking it stupid questions. Daughter has a Google Home and uses it to control her Phillips Hue lights and the heating, via a Hive whatsit.
 

Jon

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Yeah, I've got an Echo - it's A.I. which stands for Artificial Idiocy!
I don't use the home automation side of it, (yet) just use it for music, searching and asking it stupid questions. Daughter has a Google Home and uses it to control her Phillips Hue lights and the heating, via a Hive whatsit.
See I like the sound of all that and believe it's the future in terms of getting things to turn on and off lol
 

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I do find it frustrating sometimes though. If you don't get the wording of the command EXACTLY right then it doesn't understand and it also has a problem with accents - It's always mishearing our west country accents. But if you speak Queen's English, you're good ;)
The on and off lights etc is good, until you are upstairs and the Echo is downstairs! You really need linked units within voice range throughout the house to make it work properly.
 

mabozza

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I dont get how these things can turn the lights off and on, or as one tv ad, turns the lights blue... Surely you would need a total rewiring of your house with wifi switchgear installed on everything?
 

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I have a Nest thermometer, which we got when i got my new boiler last year, i like it, in general, except its meant to be smart and teach itself, which has not really been the case with it switching heat off and on at random times LOL
 

Topaz

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I dont get how these things can turn the lights off and on, or as one tv ad, turns the lights blue... Surely you would need a total rewiring of your house with wifi switchgear installed on everything?
No, they're special bulbs with wifi within them. You connect the bulbs to a lighting hub, which you then connect to your router. You then connect the lighting hub to your A.I, which then controls them remotely. You can also control the lights via an app on your phone if you don't have an A.I hub.
 

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No, they're special bulbs with wifi within them. You connect the bulbs to a lighting hub, which you then connect to your router. You then connect the lighting hub to your A.I, which then controls them remotely. You can also control the lights via an app on your phone if you don't have an A.I hub.
Really?? I honestly never knew that!! so not too nuts to set up then really
 

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Really?? I honestly never knew that!! so not too nuts to set up then really
No, not at all. My daughter has some Phillips Hue bulbs and she set the system up in just a few minutes. At the time, she was controlling them with her tablet, now she has a Google Home that she uses.
 

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No, not at all. My daughter has some Phillips Hue bulbs and she set the system up in just a few minutes. At the time, she was controlling them with her tablet, now she has a Google Home that she uses.
Cheers.. i always wondered about all this.. am a HUGE fan of stuff like that, so, my wife sighs as i find myself looking into it now LOL
 
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Jon

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Cheers.. i always wondered about all this.. am a HUGE fan of stuff like that, so, my wife sighs as i find myself looking into it now LOL
those bluetooth bulbs are pretty nifty

LIGHTS ON!!
 

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Speaking as someone who works with (read: designs) this sort of technology, the only question I've got is: for the love of <insert deity of choice>, Why???

I do not eat my own dog food when it comes to this - perhaps because I have a better idea what's in it than your average punter who can't see past the "Oooh, shiny!" aspect. Look at that google gizmo which was sending all conversations around it back to the mothership - a faulty touch surface, they said. No, they got caught with their hand in the cookie jar - just like the smart TV snooping scandal not too long ago. It'll keep happening, just another "accidental" breach...

In my house, the lights are operated by little plastic squares mounted on the walls about four feet from the floor. Most have little plastic rockers on them, one or two have little knobs that can be twiddled. I like this system. Push the rocker or twiddle the knob and the lights do what you want them to do, no delay, no repetition, no misinterpretation, no fuss. In addition, they require no infrastructure and no operating power supply. They are secure.

For most domestic use cases, these lighting technologies are about as much real use as the internet connected kettle which can... boil water. Sure, there are edge cases such as disabled people, but for most of us, just how hard is it to flip a light switch? Is it really worth the price of the products, the infrastructure, the excess energy use and the faff of securing it all? What happens when the infrastructure fails or the company that made the stuff goes bust?

Don't get me wrong here, I'm a huge fan of technology - when it has a clear use case. This stuff screams "gimmick" to me.
 

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Maybe I feel gravitated towards this technology due to helping out out so much with those bloody OK GOOGLE tasks!!
 
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Topaz

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I just wish they'd stop putting the Alexa ads on TV. They keep waking up ours and she very haughtily tells us that if we want to order cat food, we have to enable her ability to add things to our Amazon basket. Or the ad where they tell her to turn on the lights..............'sorry I can't do that right now'. Please enable the whatever it is skill. It was amusing at first, now we rush for the remote to mute the ads. Of course, we could always change her name to Echo or Amazon and solve the problem that way, but where's the fun in that ;)
 

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I just wish they'd stop putting the Alexa ads on TV. They keep waking up ours and she very haughtily tells us that if we want to order cat food, we have to enable her ability to add things to our Amazon basket. Or the ad where they tell her to turn on the lights..............'sorry I can't do that right now'. Please enable the whatever it is skill. It was amusing at first, now we rush for the remote to mute the ads. Of course, we could always change her name to Echo or Amazon and solve the problem that way, but where's the fun in that ;)
Now there's an old-fashioned technology that really has to die.

(I'm talking about broadcast television; haven't watched it in over a decade and certainly haven't seen the ads!)
 

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@Stuart i take your point that it is a bit gimmicky, TBH for me it is the "shiny" aspect that gets me hooked, One practical thing that suits me, is, we very often leave the house empty due to shifts,holidays etc... being able to turn lights on and off remotely is helpful on a security basis, the other uses such as music on demand, google by voice etc..are gimmicky but useful (IMO) our Nest thermometer has without doubt cut our fuel bills massively, slightly gimmicky is the fact that it detects when either of us are getting close to home and it turns the heating on, meaning on the freezing winter nights up here in the frozen north coming home to a warm house is great
 

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I always think that everything 'new' starts off gimmicky just because it's new!

Home automation has been around for a number of years now and doesn't look to be going anywhere. I've got friends at work who have spent £700-£800+ on setting up their house with Sonos speakers and it's through talking to them about their experiences (and also @katykicker ) with the devices that I ended up buying one myself.

All anything needs is enough 'word of mouth' for it to go from 'gimmick' item to 'this is something that can actually improve our home'

Like @mabozza mentioned about how they are away from their home a lot and can control the lights to be on remotely well our current solution to do that is a bloody clock timer that spins round and I think that technology has been around since the 70s so I'm all for that sort of stuff getting replaced!
 
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Stuart

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@Jon , but is it an improvement? Afraid Sonos is another brand on my sh** list right now. Another Apple-like, marketing and fashion-driven success story - it's certainly not the sound quality; a conventional, well-chosen budget HiFi system costing £500 or so will kick the backside of anything Sonos make. Mine cost a little bit more...;)
Multiroom? I only need the radio as background, got a little Sony portable that cost £10 or so, plays nice and loud and runs for over a year of normal use on a pair of AA batteries.

As far as the lights on a timer go, if it ain't broke don't fix it. That solution doesn't rely on somebody else's infrastructure and associated data mining. That, in a nutshell, is my main objection to all this stuff. What data are you giving away every time you turn on the lights, play a music track, adjust your thermostat...
 

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