Automation and AI in our Homes

Huntn

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I had a perception of automation in the home that you’d need either an Alexa or something running Siri (HomeKit) with electronic switches like wall switches to control lights with your voice, set up so they auto come on when you walk into a room, or remotely control, them.

We are visiting our son, who has an Alexa unit and smart light bulbs, he talks to Alexa, so a wifi switch does not have to be installed. So I’m asking Apple or Alexa?

This stands out:
While Apple's HomeKit grapples with compatibility with a few hundred brands, the Alexa ecosystem is compatible with as many as 100,000 smart home devices according to data from Statista.

I have both a Roku and Apple TV so I don’t consider myself an Apple prisoner, and although I prefer IPhone and iOS to Android, I am willing to go with what is the better, and more economical setup, although since I am particularly vested in iOS if all other things like compatibility were equal, I would choose Apple. But as it is, Alexa seems like a better choice. Opinions?


Alexa compatible lights:

Siri compatible lights:

I’m very interested to see how long it takes AI to make it into these devices.I don’t know if this is still current but if it is, it sounds dismal. Of all companies I thought Apple would be on this like a duck on a June bug. :oops:

 
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Nycturne

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I’m very interested to see how long it takes AI to make it into these devices.I don’t know if this is still current but if it is, it sounds dismal. Of all companies I thought Apple would be on this like a duck on a June bug. :oops:

Apple has been behind on the ML curve and this applies to really any “Big Data” project and Apple to be honest. They’ve been hesitant to become a data company, especially as privacy is increasingly part of the brand (although I’d argue this hesitancy was there even under Jobs). Meanwhile Google and Amazon are data companies first, no matter what products and services they claim to provide/sell to you.

That said, I’ve been using HomeKit primarily. It isn’t as full featured, but I don’t need it to be. HomeBridge if you are willing to get a little more involved can make certain things available to HomeKit that don’t support it out of the box. But our big devices are:

* Philips Hue lights
* Ecobee Thermostat (formerly Nest)
* Doorbell Camera (formerly Nest)
* Air Quality Sensors
* Nest Protects

As you can see, we are slowly disentangling ourselves from Nest. Nest can be bridged into HomeKit using HomeBridge, but I’m trying to get Google out of the home right now. Not terribly interested in inviting Amazon into it either.

HomeKit does have the means to call out to more arbitrary things using SSH-based automation shortcuts. So I’ve got a couple automations using that which can do more interesting things there. But I do appreciate how much of this system I can keep within the home network and off of someone else’s servers. Not many people are as concerned about controlling their data as I am though, so YMMV.
 

Citysnaps

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At the moment I don't see any need to integrate AI into my home automation system. Perhaps someday.

My multiple high-res high dynamic range outdoor cameras controlled from a dedicated Mac Mini running special software do a really good job recognizing/detecting people and letting me know. My home automation software (Indigo Domotics - Z-wave protocol-based) running on the Mini offers a lot of custom programming flexibility that's easily implemented - with a custom user interface controlling all my devices. I like that it's all running in-home. Though I can control and monitor everything remotely from my phone or computer.

Right now, I'm not sure how AI would enhance what I have, without possibly getting in the way and/or becoming annoying. I am keeping an open mind. Whatever it may be would need to somehow substantially improve quality of life.
 

Edd

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So, if I wanted to incorporate Philips Hue lights into our place, do I need the Philips bridge?

We have iPhones, my iPad, and an Apple TV. If all we want is Smart Control of lighting, do we need the Philips Bridge, or is there another smart light option that’s preferable?

We’re not amenable to voice activated smart devices, so we keep the option turned off on everything that’s capable of that.
 

Nycturne

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So, if I wanted to incorporate Philips Hue lights into our place, do I need the Philips bridge?

Philips’ system uses ZigBee for the communication with the bulbs/lamps themselves. The bridge in this case is between your LAN network and the ZigBee protocol, so you will need it for configuration and control from smartphones/etc. Mine is shoved next to our router and plugged into an ethernet port there. The lamps form a mesh network which works pretty well, but once in a while I can get some lag as the command works its way around the mesh network. Especially with the low-powered dimmer buttons from Lutron.

I actually jumped into the Hue ecosystem when it first came out, because it enabled us to get better control in the main rooms that didn’t have useful switched outlets and we could just stick a couple remotes on the wall with command strips. When we moved into our house, we kept it because all the bulbs were still good. The bulbs that aren’t Hue in the house are places like the bathroom where smart control makes little sense, but those are also Philips LED bulbs and I’ve had no failures in the last 5 years.

Out of a couple dozen bulbs over the years, only two I can’t use today. One I dropped and broke the glass, the other actually failed outside of warranty. Generally I’m pleased with how well they hold up.

My multiple high-res high dynamic range outdoor cameras controlled from a dedicated Mac Mini running special software do a really good job recognizing/detecting people and letting me know.

Isn’t the recognition running ML models these days though? They aren’t very complicated models, so they are pretty easy to run locally.
 

Huntn

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Apple has been behind on the ML curve and this applies to really any “Big Data” project and Apple to be honest. They’ve been hesitant to become a data company, especially as privacy is increasingly part of the brand (although I’d argue this hesitancy was there even under Jobs). Meanwhile Google and Amazon are data companies first, no matter what products and services they claim to provide/sell to you.

That said, I’ve been using HomeKit primarily. It isn’t as full featured, but I don’t need it to be. HomeBridge if you are willing to get a little more involved can make certain things available to HomeKit that don’t support it out of the box. But our big devices are:

* Philips Hue lights
* Ecobee Thermostat (formerly Nest)
* Doorbell Camera (formerly Nest)
* Air Quality Sensors
* Nest Protects

As you can see, we are slowly disentangling ourselves from Nest. Nest can be bridged into HomeKit using HomeBridge, but I’m trying to get Google out of the home right now. Not terribly interested in inviting Amazon into it either.

HomeKit does have the means to call out to more arbitrary things using SSH-based automation shortcuts. So I’ve got a couple automations using that which can do more interesting things there. But I do appreciate how much of this system I can keep within the home network and off of someone else’s servers. Not many people are as concerned about controlling their data as I am though, so YMMV.
I wonder if Ring connects to Apple or android? I know research it! 😚
 

Huntn

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At the moment I don't see any need to integrate AI into my home automation system. Perhaps someday.

My multiple high-res high dynamic range outdoor cameras controlled from a dedicated Mac Mini running special software do a really good job recognizing/detecting people and letting me know. My home automation software (Indigo Domotics - Z-wave protocol-based) running on the Mini offers a lot of custom programming flexibility that's easily implemented - with a custom user interface controlling all my devices. I like that it's all running in-home. Though I can control and monitor everything remotely from my phone or computer.

Right now, I'm not sure how AI would enhance what I have, without possibly getting in the way and/or becoming annoying. I am keeping an open mind. Whatever it may be would need to somehow substantially improve quality of life.
Automation is a practical discussion, AI is a speculative discussion. An article I read basically called Siri primative. i imagine based on demos that AI will be a huge game changer for functionality.
 

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Alli

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As we’re a mixed marriage (yea, he uses Android), we have had Alexa for a long time. It’s so integrated in our home, I never even gave a thought to Apple’s version when it finally arrived…late and overpriced.

Almost every light in the house is controlled by Alexa. Our shopping list goes on there, and lets me know when someone has added something less than necessary, or just silly. (Why he feels compelled to add one of the cats to the shopping list is beyond me.)

You no longer need a bridge for Google to control switches, lights, speakers, etc. The function is all built in. My only advice is to find one brand and stick with it so you don’t have 4 apps on your phone to add the device in the first place.

Oh yea, even my 89 year old mother is in love with being able to view her Ring doorbell through her Alexa Show.
 

Cmaier

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I wonder if Ring connects to Apple or android? I know research it! 😚

I use Ring with homekit, via Homebridge. There are various ways to do Homebridge, ranging from dedicated small boxes, to DIY-raspberry PI setups, to running a virtual machine on a NAS, etc. I’ve done it a couple different ways. Works nicely.

In the last few weeks I’ve replaced a ton more of my wall switches with Leviton 2nd Gen wifi smart switches (these work a lot better than the no-neutral variation which requires tiny bridges - I still have a few of them in my garage). I have August locks, Ring cameras, Ecobee thermostats, and a MyQ garage door all working on homekit, either natively, via homebridge, or, in the case of the MyQ, by hacking a MyQ so that a Meross homekit garage door adapter can open the garage door.

It’s a fun hobby.
 

Herdfan

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(these work a lot better than the no-neutral variation which requires tiny bridges

When I bought my original Lutron Homeworks system back in the mid 2000's, I saved the $10 device and went with the non-neutral versions. Worst $10 I never spent.

It has taken a while to find LED's that play well with them, even with the bridges.
 

Huntn

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I use Ring with homekit, via Homebridge. There are various ways to do Homebridge, ranging from dedicated small boxes, to DIY-raspberry PI setups, to running a virtual machine on a NAS, etc. I’ve done it a couple different ways. Works nicely.

In the last few weeks I’ve replaced a ton more of my wall switches with Leviton 2nd Gen wifi smart switches (these work a lot better than the no-neutral variation which requires tiny bridges - I still have a few of them in my garage). I have August locks, Ring cameras, Ecobee thermostats, and a MyQ garage door all working on homekit, either natively, via homebridge, or, in the case of the MyQ, by hacking a MyQ so that a Meross homekit garage door adapter can open the garage door.

It’s a fun hobby.
How much connectivity or should I say interoperability do you get using Homebridge to interact with Ring, vs opening the Ring App? My first goal is to see if I can gain control of my 4 year old Visio TV or Roku box or Apple TV box with such a device and since I already have iOS devices, I would seriously consider Homebridge, however that article I posted regarding Siri in the initial post made me hesitant.
 
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Cmaier

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How much connectivity or should I say interoperability do you get using Homebridge to interact with Ring, vs opening the Ring App? My first goal is to see if I can gain control of my 4 year old Visio TV or Roku box or Apple TV box with such a device and since I already have iOS devices, I would seriously consider Homebridge, however that article I posted regarding Siri in the initial post made me hesitant.
Quite a bit.

A couple screen shots attached. The cameras also appear within the app as motion sensors, so I have various lights that get triggered when certain cameras detect motion. About the only thing I don’t seem to be able to do is control the lights on the two cameras that have lights - I’m actually not sure why, now that I think of it. I’ll go look into that now.

IMG_3969.pngIMG_3968.pngIMG_3970.png
 

Cmaier

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Quite a bit.

A couple screen shots attached. The cameras also appear within the app as motion sensors, so I have various lights that get triggered when certain cameras detect motion. About the only thing I don’t seem to be able to do is control the lights on the two cameras that have lights - I’m actually not sure why, now that I think of it. I’ll go look into that now.
Turns out i *can* turn the lights on and off, but the controls are hidden in the app. Now going to see if there’s a way to make the controls appear on the top level like any other light switch.

Update: figured it out. Just needed to tell Home.app to show the ”3 accessories” for those Ring camera/lights as “separate tiles.”:
 

Huntn

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Quite a bit.

A couple screen shots attached. The cameras also appear within the app as motion sensors, so I have various lights that get triggered when certain cameras detect motion. About the only thing I don’t seem to be able to do is control the lights on the two cameras that have lights - I’m actually not sure why, now that I think of it. I’ll go look into that now.

View attachment 26000View attachment 26001View attachment 26002
So, are you looking at a Homebridge app on your phone?
 

Huntn

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How much connectivity or should I say interoperability do you get using Homebridge to interact with Ring, vs opening the Ring App? My first goal is to see if I can gain control of my 4 year old Visio TV or Roku box or Apple TV box with such a device and since I already have iOS devices, I would seriously consider Homebridge, however that article I posted regarding Siri in the initial post made me hesitant.
…Gain control of my 4 year old Visio TV or Roku box or Apple TV box with such a device and since I already have iOS devices, I would seriously consider Homebridge, however that article I posted regarding Siri in the initial post made me hesitant.

As I think about it, I just turn the TV on which happens automatically when I energize my Roku or my Apple TV boxes via a universal controller. They are the hardware calling the shots so I should be looking at Alexa or Homebridge control of these devices which would include, a channel and a search for a new or a currently being watched show. Example: “Alexa” or “Siri” (Homebridge), “Roku, Netflicks, Bosch, next show”.., yes?🤔

Apparently, no… the goal here is no remote…

Now Roku is addressing that with a new Alexa skill. After installing the skill, you'll be able to control any Roku device or TV running Roku OS 8.2 or higher. You can launch movies, apps, and if your TV has Roku, you can even control functions like Volume or switch inputs.

Similar to Google Assistant, voice commands need to use Roku for the name, i.e. tell Roku to open Hulu or open Hulu on Roku. And unfortunately, you can't control Netflix with voice commands
 

Huntn

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As we’re a mixed marriage (yea, he uses Android), we have had Alexa for a long time. It’s so integrated in our home, I never even gave a thought to Apple’s version when it finally arrived…late and overpriced.

Almost every light in the house is controlled by Alexa. Our shopping list goes on there, and lets me know when someone has added something less than necessary, or just silly. (Why he feels compelled to add one of the cats to the shopping list is beyond me.)

You no longer need a bridge for Google to control switches, lights, speakers, etc. The function is all built in. My only advice is to find one brand and stick with it so you don’t have 4 apps on your phone to add the device in the first place.

Oh yea, even my 89 year old mother is in love with being able to view her Ring doorbell through her Alexa Show.
That Siri vs Alexa video in my first post alarmed me a bit. I really don’t like Apple being over priced either. You expect to get value for the $$, but here it seems like Alexa is the better value…
 

Chew Toy McCoy

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First let me say I have plenty of "smart" home tech but don't rely on Siri or Alexa for any of it. HomeKit may connect but mostly I just use the proprietary apps.

Having said that, I was going to post this in the pet peeves thread. It seems plenty of my "smart" tech isn't smart enough to handle a power outage. When the power comes back on it can't seem to reconnect to wifi or remember a schedule and I have fuss around with apps to reconnect.

On the dumber end of smart tech I have some tech that works on an internal timer and doesn't connect to anything outside itself. When there's a power out half of it just forgets everything and I have to set it back up. The other half remembers time intervals but not actual time. So when there is a power outage it resets the interval clock from when the power goes back on. I have a mister setup in my bedroom set to go off for 10 seconds every 12 hours, normally 7 AM and 7 PM. The motor is pretty loud. So if there is a power outage and the power goes back on at 2 PM, at 2 AM it scares the shit out of me when it goes on. The only way to fix it is to physically reset it at 7 AM or PM.

Annoyed.
 
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