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  Reply # 1331339 25-Jun-2015 12:51
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networkn:
kevro: Thanks.

What about the power supply/adapter, since it is not yet designed for outside the USA? I saw an Echo on TradeMe a few days ago but there were no details there on how it uses our plugs.

And since it seems we have to enter a US zipcode for weather etc and so losing a lot of the functionality, it seems worth waiting for a New Zealand version. Anyone using one able to tell me?


I have it on good authority there is no intention for a NZ model. They will simply remove the dependence of the Zip code, to allow for localization and there are discussions around it, but not certainty that this
generation will get international support.



So is there a possibility that the current generation hardware will not support international locations? Stink...




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  Reply # 1331941 26-Jun-2015 10:20
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Looks like Amazon are opening up the Echo API...

http://techcrunch.com/2015/06/25/amazon-unbundles-alexa-virtual-assistant-from-echo-with-new-dev-tools/

This is starting to look pretty awesome!

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  Reply # 1332718 27-Jun-2015 19:05
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Spent the day reading through and managed to get my to integrate with my HA system via lambda app running on AWS calling back to HA REST interface.

"Alexa, ask Charlotte to run goodbye"

Charlotte being what I've named the app and goodbye being the scene I call

quick demo

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  Reply # 1332768 27-Jun-2015 21:34
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Awesome Shimmer, had a feeling you might be all over this ;). How difficult was it to get that REST API working? All cloud less? Or is the request going to the Amazon server and back to your HA system?

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  Reply # 1332910 28-Jun-2015 11:57
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Cloud to HA. You can run the node.js component yourself I just went the AWS path as it was free and easier than messing around setting it up locally.

Apologies for the excessively long post, but it should provide sufficient details of a basic example for others to have a crack at integrating with the Amazon echo themselves.

Sign yourself up with both a Amazon developer account and an AWS account (if you aren't going to run the node.js component locally)

Login to AWS account
Make sure AWS server is set to N.Virginia (top right corner of your screen menu drop down) and select Lambda Compute function
Create a Lambda Function

   

 

  • Name and description
  • Set Runtime to Node.js
  • Code Template None and copy paste in the code  <-- note you would need to edit, user/pass/host/JSON format for your system/http vs https etc.
  • Handler : index.handler
  • Role: select Basic Execution role if you've not previously created one and click allow
  • Memory (MB) 128 is fine
  Click Create Lambda Function


This will return you to the Lambda Function List.
Select your function and select Add Event Source under the Actions menu



Select Event Source type Alexa Skills Kit and hit submit. This did not work originally for me on IE, so use Chrome or Firefox.


On the list screen copy the ARN address to your clipboard. It will look something like this:
arn:aws:lambda:us-east-1:000000000000:function:myFunction. 

You should now have successfully finished the first part of the setup. Now login to your amazon developer account and under Apps & Services select Alexa  
Select Add a New skill          


Name: whatever you want to call the app, this name will show as the App name under Skills in your Amazon Echo App/portal
Invocation Name: fairly self explanation. The below example I've used Automation so the format would be Alexa, ask Automation to ....
End Point: Paste in the ARN address here or the address to your host of wherever you running the node.js app
click Next 


Intent Schema
{
  "intents": [
  {
      "intent": "RunEventIntent",
      "slots": [
        {
          "name": "EventName",
          "type": "LITERAL"
        }
      ]
    }
 ]
}  

Sample Utterances
RunEventIntent Run  {goodbye|EventName}


The above would execute an event named 'goodbye' by saying the command:
"Alexa, ask Automation to Run Goodbye"

goodbye is passed as variable EventName to the node.js script which then uses it in the API callback url to my HA system. Add a new row for each event you might want to call. e.g.
RunEventIntent Run  {goodbye|EventName}
RunEventIntent Run  {TV on|EventName}
RunEventIntent Run  {lights off|EventName}


click Next


Set the app to Enabled for testing -> no need to proceed to certification


If everything has gone to plan, it should now work for you. As a test even if you didn't modify the code provided to include the details of your HA or other system you can still call it by saying "Alexa ask Automation" (or whatever you set as your invocation word) and it should respond "Automation is listening" (you can edit it's response in the node.js code).

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  Reply # 1333710 29-Jun-2015 21:41
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Thanks Shimmer - much appreciated. I don't have my hands on an Echo yet but I am very interested in perhaps integrating with openHAB. Keep us posted with how you get on. Cheers,  Ben.

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  Reply # 1335252 1-Jul-2015 18:11
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So I've just received my Echo and it's working well for the things I expected. Took a while to set up with iOS, and the settings are on my Mac desktop rather than an app on my iPhone which Amazon won't allow.

No surprises yet, streams music nicely and I've got Bluetooth streaming going as well so everything audio on my iPhone goes through the Echo.

Any downside? Well, some commands are location-specific, and I have to say "what's the weather in Wellington New Zealand" for example, which is a mouthful after being used to brief Siri commands.

I'm getting a 90% speech recognition factor, less when music is playing above volume 5/10, and some questions I need to rephrase for Alexa to understand me. But all in all it's as good as I hoped for.

I started this post to ask how I could get the Echo Connected Home working, since I made several tries over an hour and nothing was being recognised. Then suddenly it worked and registered the 9 WeMo wall switches and plug devices I have and they work great. In fact I'm more excited about that than any of the other features.

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  Reply # 1335254 1-Jul-2015 18:18
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Do you find yourself saying thank you after you have asked Alexa to do something? I do. She is so polite....

I guess that is how HAL started out!




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  Reply # 1335262 1-Jul-2015 18:36
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hairy1: Do you find yourself saying thank you after you have asked Alexa to do something? I do. She is so polite....

I guess that is how HAL started out!



I'm not as well brought up as you, and also I still regard these things as mechanical tools.

But we'll soon have to be nice to our machine overlords because they may not decide to adhere to the 3 rules after a rogue power spike.



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  Reply # 1335520 2-Jul-2015 09:05
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Got mine today, works well as a bluetooth speaker, voice recognition seems to understand me very well which most recognition tools don't.

Near device, should've read the manual before turning it on to remember that the entire top dial is a volume knob as it fired up at nigh full volume for the initial welcome.

Will be interesting to see what uses we find for it at home. The whole ZIP code thing is a nuisance, hopefully they do open up availability of the unit outside of the USA so this can be changed.





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  Reply # 1335650 2-Jul-2015 12:12
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stevenz: ...Will be interesting to see what uses we find for it at home...


I've gone through the usual "who's the president of the US" and weather stuff, nothing new there and less useful than Siri, but I set it up with the Hue lights in my lounge and got a Group sorted. That's working well except dimming is not activating.

In looking for uses for the Echo, it's made me question why I'd need voice commands for lights since most of the working lights in our home are either HPM sensor switches or WeMo Motion Sensor activated. In my view it's far more useful to have the lights go on automatically when you walk into a room rather than speak them on and off.

Ideally I'd like an Echo in every room, but since we have 5 bedrooms, two lounges and three levels, it is far more practical to have a mini-Echo device /smartphone to carry round that is always listening.

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  Reply # 1335651 2-Jul-2015 12:14
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kevro:
stevenz: ...Will be interesting to see what uses we find for it at home...


I've gone through the usual "who's the president of the US" and weather stuff, nothing new there and less useful than Siri, but I set it up with the Hue lights in my lounge and got a Group sorted. That's working well except dimming is not activating.

In looking for uses for the Echo, it's made me question why I'd need voice commands for lights since most of the working lights in our home are either HPM sensor switches or WeMo Motion Sensor activated. In my view it's far more useful to have the lights go on automatically when you walk into a room rather than speak them on and off.

Ideally I'd like an Echo in every room, but since we have 5 bedrooms, two lounges and three levels, it is far more practical to have a mini-Echo device /smartphone to carry round that is always listening.


You can issue voice commands from your smartphone app and there are the voice buttons on the remote. I believe you can pair more than one.


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  Reply # 1335661 2-Jul-2015 12:21
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networkn: ...You can issue voice commands from your smartphone app and there are the voice buttons on the remote. I believe you can pair more than one.



I haven't been able to download the app on my iPhone - there's no way round it even though Amazon says it's available, and I've spent a lot of time trying. It seems to be country-specific with no workround.

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  Reply # 1335662 2-Jul-2015 12:23
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kevro:
networkn: ...You can issue voice commands from your smartphone app and there are the voice buttons on the remote. I believe you can pair more than one.



I haven't been able to download the app on my iPhone - there's no way round it even though Amazon says it's available, and I've spent a lot of time trying. It seems to be country-specific with no workround.


PM I'll send you the APK

Edit: Sorry that was Dumb, you are on IOS


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  Reply # 1335714 2-Jul-2015 13:22
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I used the Amazon app store app to install it. That is an Android workaround though.




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