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Author Topic: Good advice for HA device suppliers  (Read 11047 times)

dhouston

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HA Dave

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Re: Good advice for HA device suppliers
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2016, 04:01:51 PM »

http://www.programmableweb.com/news/forget-home-automation-apps-focus-apis/elsewhere-web/2016/07/24?google_editors_picks=true

And avoid clouds.

But the piece said to use the cloud based API functions! That, that is what people want! A quote:
As well as easing the task of home management for consumers, connecting smart homes using APIs and controlled by digital personal assistants will present new business opportunities for individual industries.

This better explains how the API function works:  https://developer.amazon.com/public/solutions/alexa/alexa-skills-kit/overviews/understanding-the-smart-home-skill-api

The idea is to use a cloud based service like Siri (or Amazons Alexa)... to communicate with an interpreter. That would notify which/what ever cloud based API needed to satisfy the given command. Whether using a home based Internet connected controller or web accessed media.

In other words..... If properly done.... I could use my Apple phone to ask Siri to turn on my home theater (which it could then do via the Apple cloud based Siri, and any other internet connected power control). Then I could ask Siri to select a video from a streaming provider (Apple cloud to say Netflix cloud). Then I could command Siri to dim the lights (Siri cloud, to X10 cloud, my Internet connected X10 device).

All from me saying: Siri, turn on the theater, stream the movie Batman returns, and dim the theater lights.

Of course... being an iPhone user... I'd prefer a Siri app. But realistically Amazon is way ahead on this use with the Alexa (echo) product.

PS... if done correctly... I think this technology could be used to turn on and play a VCR.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2016, 04:42:04 PM by HA Dave »
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bkenobi

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Re: Good advice for HA device suppliers
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2016, 04:46:09 PM »

API just means application program interface.  When I think of it, I typically assume they mean that the application is local.  However, my weather station which is on the cloud is an API to interface with the cloud rather than with the local data (big bummer when I found that out).  Either way, an API is better than no API.  It doesn't fix the cloud, but at least it means I can get around a lot of it's limitations (albeit in a round-about way).  If the local hardware just shared the data to the API locally, that would be ideal.  I'd have cloud backup (if I wanted to use it), relatively easy/secure remote access, and local data (faster, secure, non-server-dependent).  But, in my case, I'd have to use wire shark to capture the packets to figure out what the station is sending where and then decode locally because their API is to pull data back down.

EDIT:  Oh, and looking at the Amazon chart I was reminded of one other thing that I've heard people hate about the cloud controlled (non-local controlled) lights.  The signal goes from the person, to the device, to the cloud, to the module.  This introduces a delay that is apparently less than ideal.  I haven't tried any of them, so I don't know if that's any slower than X10 so it may be a wash for us.  But, if the internet is slow/down, I may not be able to turn on my lights.  And some modules don't have local control.   ???
« Last Edit: July 25, 2016, 04:48:45 PM by bkenobi »
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HA Dave

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Re: Good advice for HA device suppliers
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2016, 05:01:14 PM »

API just means application program interface.  When I think of it, I typically assume they mean that the application is local.
 

Whereas.... I would assume the interface is local. It's the interface... that you see.

..... If the local hardware just shared the data to the API locally, that would be ideal.  I'd have cloud backup (if I wanted to use it), relatively easy/secure remote access, and local data (faster, secure, non-server-dependent).

Generally speaking if a Web controlled, but locally available device can.... they stop short at your router. Unless your using a cloud based app like Alexa or Siri a remote action would remain local. But the same remote action could also be used remotely via the web. (you could control lights, alarms, etc. from out of town.)

..... EDIT:  Oh, and looking at the Amazon chart I was reminded of one other thing that I've heard people hate about the cloud controlled (non-local controlled) lights.  The signal goes from the person, to the device, to the cloud, to the module.  This introduces a delay that is apparently less than ideal. 

For people with excellent internet connects the delay no longer exists. BUT... it could be a pain for those with internet problems (Knightrider: thinking of YOU buddie).
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dhouston

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Re: Good advice for HA device suppliers
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2016, 05:04:22 PM »

This better explains how the API function works:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Application_programming_interface

X10 published an API for the CM11A which had no cloud dependency and made it easy for programmers to support it.

But, with the CM15A, they entangled everything with their cloud and we all know what happened when their cloud dissipated. There really was no need to do it that way.

The corporations like Amazon want your house to link to the cloud so they can apply their data-mining algorithms to track your activities and sell you things (or sell the mined data to others).

And, you do not need the cloud in order to connect to your devices when you are away from home as this thread shows....
http://forums.x10.com/index.php?topic=29603.0

Some of the problems are those noted by bkenobi but I also worry about hackers who will market the data to local chapters of Burglars-R-Us.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2016, 07:29:20 PM by dhouston »
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HA Dave

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Re: Good advice for HA device suppliers
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2016, 07:27:45 PM »

X10 published an API for the CM11A which had no cloud dependency and made it easy for programmers to support it.

And the software (along with the interface) never grew or improved. The CM11a had a short life span as a result. (PS I still have mine)

But, with the CM15A, they entangled everything with their cloud and we all know what happened when their cloud dissipated. There really was no need to do it that way.

Yep! That was mismanaged and mishandled! The laws that were supposed to protect the consumer didn't. But... the software grew, expanded, and updated. The server at X10 didn't function well.... but those were the old days... and X10 was ahead of the times. The cloud works! It isn't a theory... or even new fangled. The cloud is the way things are done.

The corporations like Amazon want your house to link to the cloud so they can apply their data-mining algorithms to track your activities and sell you things (or sell the mined data to others).

And if you go outside people will see you, and if you don't pay with hard cash... the banks and the government will know. And... I am absolutely certain the NSA is reading our automation posts.

... but I also worry about hackers who will market the data to local chapters of Burglars-R-Us.

You know life is good... when what you find to worry about is so trivial and meaningless. Congratulations on your good fortune. Our local chapter of cyber criminals disbanded when all the members moved to DC to get good government jobs.

Of course... we still have illiterate thugs that will bust your head open and steal your car. I'd rather facedown the guys with laptops.  
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dhouston

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Re: Good advice for HA device suppliers
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2016, 08:03:39 AM »

X10 published an API for the CM11A which had no cloud dependency and made it easy for programmers to support it.

And the software (along with the interface) never grew or improved. The CM11a had a short life span as a result. (PS I still have mine)

The short lifespan was because PC makers stopped including serial ports and early USB-Serial adapters were pricey.
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HA Dave

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Re: Good advice for HA device suppliers
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2016, 09:39:28 PM »

The short lifespan was because PC makers stopped including serial ports and early USB-Serial adapters were pricey.

Not my experience.

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JeffVolp

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Re: Good advice for HA device suppliers
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2016, 09:06:29 AM »

With the limited vocabulary needed for automation control, why not use a voice recognition program in a PC, and do everything locally?

For example:  https://www.automatedliving.com/

Jeff
« Last Edit: July 28, 2016, 09:10:28 AM by JeffVolp »
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dhouston

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Re: Good advice for HA device suppliers
« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2016, 09:47:45 AM »

With the limited vocabulary needed for automation control, why not use a voice recognition program in a PC, and do everything locally?

For example:  https://www.automatedliving.com/

And, even after all these years, they still support the CM11A.  8)
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JeffVolp

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Re: Good advice for HA device suppliers
« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2016, 10:18:15 AM »

With the limited vocabulary needed for automation control, why not use a voice recognition program in a PC, and do everything locally?

For example:  https://www.automatedliving.com/

And, even after all these years, they still support the CM11A.  8)

I'm going to get their basic package to see how it works with the XTB-232.

Jeff
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HA Dave

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Re: Good advice for HA device suppliers
« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2016, 10:34:23 AM »

With the limited vocabulary needed for automation control, why not use a voice recognition program in a PC, and do everything locally?

Your kidding right? I've been using an AHP add-on software I found here at the forum way back in 2005 Tuicemen and others have AHP compatible voice control software. I thought we all were using some level of voice control already.

Although I really like my BVC (Bill's Voice Commander) software.... it was never updated to overcome the problems that came with Visa. Which makes it a great software to run on an old XP dust collector or even an old CE mini. I purchased a 3rd party Voice (Kate 16bit) for my set-up. And (with a little speaker tuning) my automation announcements sound very human-like (much more so than say... the Hilary voice).  :D My AHP/BVC set-up announces everything from a (waking hour) clock announcement, outside perimeter detection, garage door status.... and more.

I can voice command my X10 stuff on and off too. I had come up with the idea of using baby monitors instead of an expensive wired microphone set-ups. And partly because it's pretty quite around here with just the wife and I. The 8bit voice recognition works great with simple $20 baby monitors.

But there are serious limitations with local control! All this has been covered up/down/and sideways here on the forums for over a decade.

I have two laptop automation computers running 24/7. One is totally local and has the power to do a GREAT job with voice recon. The other is simply a server to talk with a automation app on my phone (and a CM19A). I have it all setup together with my (security camera) video recorder/server on a shelf in my Man-Cave (formerly called Nerd-nasium, or home office).

Don't get me wrong... it's a nice set-up. But technologically speaking.... it's a blast-from-the-past too. My cell phone could easily accomplish all the same functions. And without the concern for power spikes or electric use. Heck.... for that matter.. this could all be done on a $50 tablet. AND with a CM19A (type device), a tiny server app, a phone app, and a cloud portal... I could have the-whole-nine-yards with TWO-WAY global access.

And... NOTHING compares to the cloud based voice recognition stuff. I use Siri to type my text messages.... and even to spell words for me. I can set in my easy chair at home... with my iPhone in it's charging cradle (which give me a great view of the screen). And say: Hey Siri, text Mary (wife) and remind her "tonight is pizza night". Siri will repeat the message and ask confirmation to send.... and it's done. Without so much as lifting a finger. (I could easily order the pizza the same way as well).

Using the API cloud function like dhouston suggested the other day is the perfect (complete) automation solution. But it requires a cloud connected X10 interface. But like I posted earlier.... the device doesn't need be anymore than a cheap tablet, a CM19A-like dongle, a couple apps, and a cloud/server site.

    
 


« Last Edit: July 28, 2016, 11:06:12 AM by HA Dave »
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JeffVolp

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Re: Good advice for HA device suppliers
« Reply #12 on: July 28, 2016, 11:03:35 AM »

Dave, some people are just not as progressive as you.

No, I have never used voice control.  Our Ocelot program pretty much controls all lighting, and adjusts our irrigation for time of year and temperature without requiring any input except to cancel a cycle if we had some rain.  I programmed our 8-zone HVAC controller to follow our daily cycle, and it is very efficient in energy use.

I do not have a smart phone.  I don't even carry a cellphone, except for the emergency "flip-phone" in my hiking backpack ($10 for 120 days).  Some of us even occasionally watch VHS tapes.

My whole point was that for simple voice control, you don't have to get the cloud involved.

Voice control would be a huge leap forward for me.  I may call her Sarah...

Jeff
« Last Edit: July 28, 2016, 11:39:48 AM by JeffVolp »
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bkenobi

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Re: Good advice for HA device suppliers
« Reply #13 on: July 28, 2016, 11:09:30 AM »

When everything is set up correctly as it is now, I've never seen the need for voice control.  If I were to set up a new home theater that was connected to a PC, I'd definitely do something more advanced, but my current setup works fine and doesn't bother others.  It simply works as needed and doesn't get in the way.  When something breaks, my wife lets me know about it in a way that makes it obvious that the status quo is perfect for now.

In fact, the only thing ever mentioned about any of my setup is how the door chime goes off every 5 minutes on hot days during certain situations (motion sensors have limitations and a 5 minute timeout can only do so much).  Voice control probably wouldn't add much to what we do with the system.

HA Dave

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Re: Good advice for HA device suppliers
« Reply #14 on: July 28, 2016, 11:11:45 AM »

This is funny... I think. I was reading my previous post to correct my crappy grammar and spelling. When Siri asked for confirmation to text Mary to remind her "it's pizza night"

I swear.... this stuff works great!
« Last Edit: July 28, 2016, 12:54:42 PM by HA Dave »
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