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8 posts

Wannabe Geek


Topic # 189599 5-Jan-2016 19:59
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After a long wait I have decided to set up a home automation network.

I am going to go with an Aeon Labs Z-Stick as my controller and purchase various compatible Aeon Labs and Fibaro sensors and plugs etc. (i.e. http://www.smartthingsnz.co.nz/store/). With the understanding that I need to get these "locally" so that they are legally compliant with AU/NZ frequencies etc. - that is the easy part.

What I really want to do is use CastleOS (https://castleos.com/home.aspx) to drive the home automation system. In my perhaps premature excitement, I have already purchased two Kinect V1 sensors and power supply adapters for this purpose.

Unfortunately timely responses from CastleOS with respect to technical (or any) queries are slow to come so I am reaching out here for advice.
Before I go and purchase the Z-Stick and accessories, has anyone in NZ successfully managed to get an AU/NZ region Aeon Labs Z-Stick Gen5 controller and accessories working with CastleOS (with or without Kinect (voice) support) or failing that, with any other controller?

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  Reply # 1461909 5-Jan-2016 20:24
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Looks like it is supported, see http://www.castleos.com/forum/topic572-the-aeotec-zwave-zstick-gen.aspx.

It shouldn't matter which region the z stick is from I don't think, if the device is supported it should be fine regardless. The protocol is the same, it is just a different radio frequency.

Hopefully someone here in NZ can confirm tho...

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  Reply # 1461911 5-Jan-2016 20:34
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looks good, will be interesting to see how it goes with you setting it all up

 
 
 
 




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Wannabe Geek


  Reply # 1462082 6-Jan-2016 06:58
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Thanks guys. That's my thought too SumnerBoy but you never can tell with these things. I had a Wemo Insight plug that is also on their compatibility list but couldn't get it to go. Although I think there are lots of variations of them.

I guess if I don't get any feedback from CastleOS and noone on here has tried this I'll take the plunge and give it a try anyway. Either way I'll still be able to kick off my home automation project via the Z-Stick.

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  Reply # 1462126 6-Jan-2016 09:07
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Can I ask what you like so much about CastleOS?



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Wannabe Geek


  Reply # 1462369 6-Jan-2016 14:53
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Sure. Several things really, although I stand to be tempted to something else as I learn more about this.

1. I really like the idea of an open system like openHAB but can't be bothered twittering around with it all the time to set it up and maintain it. I'm tech savvy enough but just don't have the energy for all that.

2. That said I'm not opposed to a proprietary system either as long as it is well priced and supported. I really liked Samsung Smartthings but until they release in this part of the world I'm not going there.

3. An Aeon Labs Z-Stick controller along with a pile of gadgets would be just fine, but...

4. CastleOS will allow me to bring together any number of protocols assuming they are compatible with NZ under one system. But what really gets me is what CastleOS have done with Kinect which is outstanding. I'm new to this so could easily have missed something but the potential for the Kinect based system excites me beyond words. I realise there are other speech control options but even what it can do right now appears to be a whole level above what anyone else is capable of, even the big boys like Google and Microsoft, although I'm sure (hope) they are all working on some amazing stuff. The power and potential of the Kinect is available here and now. I don't know what their long terms plans are but if CastleOS was to team up with someone like Assistant.ai we would be getting tantalizingly close to the possibility of a Jarvis-like experience.

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  Reply # 1462530 6-Jan-2016 18:17
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Will be very interested how you find CastleOS and using voice as the main driver. Would be great if you could keep us posted! I have an Android Wear smart watch which allows me to do voice control using Tasker and is relatively accurate. But must admit it is probably only about 5-10% of my *automation* - the rest of it is all automatic rules and events - i.e. turning on the coffee machine when I go into the kitchen for the first time in the morning, turning on the lights at sunset, TTS announcement when the washing machine has finished, etc. There are heaps of things that just happen around my place, when they need to, without me even having to think about it anymore - and to me that is what home automation is all about.

The only voice commands I need/use are things like 'Watch TV' and 'Coffee on' (for my second cup of the day ;)). With the smart watch this is as easy as shaking my wrist and talking, but the wife doesn't have one so she has to get her phone out and press a button. In this situation I can see where something like a Kinect which is *always* listening would be good.

I guess my question is how much voice-activate automation do you expect to have? In my experience it is very limited, I would rather things happen when they are supposed to, without human intervention. Not always possible I know, but when it does work it is pretty impressive. 

As I said, I will be very interested to hear how you get on with CastleOS. And BTW - openHAB is similar in that it is entirely protocol agnostic - meaning it is quite easy for example to dim the living room lights using a Z-Wave dimmer, when the XBMC client beings playing a movie. 


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  Reply # 1462617 6-Jan-2016 20:07
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When it says kinect based, is that just the kinect on its own or is there an xbox one in the equation as well? I have the kinect that came with my xbox sitting around doing nothing...




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Wannabe Geek


  Reply # 1464825 7-Jan-2016 08:02
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richms:
To clarify, CastleOS will let you control your devices via a web or app interface. The use of a Kinect is an optional extra to allow voice control.



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Wannabe Geek


  Reply # 1464829 7-Jan-2016 08:11
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SumnerBoy:
You are absolutely right. Voice control via the Kinect will be only one component of my system. Ultimately I want to get to the level of automation you describe using scripts and IFTTT etc.

Unfortunately my enthusiasm far exceeds my budget and it is going to take me a long time to accumulate enough sensors and plugs...

I am hamstrung a little in that we are in a rental and so can't easily do things like blinds control.

I'll keep this post up to date with any of my experiences and learnings as I go along.



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Wannabe Geek


  Reply # 1465449 7-Jan-2016 21:52
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Some news to report. The power supplies to my Kinects turned up today so I set about trying to get the voice control up and running.

I've been working on it since about lunchtime and just couldn't get it to go. Finally in frustration (as you do) I uninstalled everything, drivers and all and started from scratch - and of course it then worked perfectly.

I still have a small unresolved hitch where the Kinect appears to time out after every command but hopefully someone on the CastleOS forum can help with that.

So - just for fun, I would love your thoughts on what I should call my system. When you speak a command you prefix it with a word. i.e. Computer - lounge lights on. Can be anything you like. The default "computer" seems a bit cliched, as does "house" which I have seen others use - not to mention JARVIS.

My picks are:
Computer
House
JARVIS
Rosey (Jestons)
HAL
Fembot
Tron
Skynet
Marvin (Hitchhikers)
Wall E
Optimus
Dave (a play on HAL)

Whats your pick? Any others?

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  Reply # 1465457 7-Jan-2016 22:16
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I would call mine "Gary" - reckon that would be awesome when you have mates around - "Gary, turn on the TV".



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Wannabe Geek


  Reply # 1465459 7-Jan-2016 22:17
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Haha. Love it.

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  Reply # 1465649 8-Jan-2016 09:30
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I ended up having a hotspot on my smart watch to activate the autovoice listen part of some Tasker actions. That way I could just launch things without having to use an activation phrase. Kind of like tapping your communicator in Star Trek.

Out of interest I have used,

HAL
JARVIS
Computer
Hey Phone
as well as the stock "Hey Galaxy" and "Okay Google",

in the past, but after a while it kind of makes you look like a knob (imho).




Areas of Geek interest: Home Theatre, HTPC, Android Tablets & Phones, iProducts.

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  Reply # 1465663 8-Jan-2016 09:43
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Yep - I have the same thing setup on my smart watch - just a little icon I can touch to start the AutoVoice listener - works well. Also have the watch configured to trigger this listener when I shake my wrist, so I can activate with no free hands. Pretty slick IMO.

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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1468743 12-Jan-2016 21:14
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If you are still open to considerations on which controller software to use then you can add HomeSeer3 to your list if you want voice recognition via Kinect. I've been using it for a couple of years now. I've used both a Xbox Kinect and a Windows Kinect and can confirm voice recognition is excellent, facial recognition is fairly crap though. It's not the cheapest and you do pay/donate for some of the 3rd party plugins but has one of the most active support/developer forums out there.

I call my HA system "charlotte".

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