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The Guru

Amazon Echo, Harmony Hub, Gear S3 and IFTTT

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The Guru

Well after playing around with the Amazon Echo, and updating the Harmony Remote system (adding a Hub, updating teh remote firmware, and changing the remote to use the Hub we've gained:

  • :tu: Harmony Remote will now work the Amazon Fire TV Stick via the Harmony Hub instead of needing the TV Stick remote
  • :tu: The Harmony hub is now out of site with only the 'eye' visible via extender
  • :tu: The Amazon Echo (Alexa) can now turn on / off the Sky system (Sky Box, TV, Sound bar) via voice control [Yonomi, Alexa & Harmony Apps]
  • :tu: As per the above for the Fire TV Stick again under voice control
  • :tu: The S3 can use IFTTT [Maker & Harmony applets) to Turn on / off Sky & Fire Stick even if out at work :)

So very pleased with the first smart home steps. We've already got a second 'Echo' device on order; an Amazon Dot, for the living room and I'm already planning a smart hub, controllable plugs and either a Nest or Hive thermostat.

Playing nicely!

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Boz

I've actually decided not to get an Amazon Echo now, my reasons being security!

I'm not sure I want to pay money out for a device that can learn all about your lifestyle, shopping habits plus more. Amazon haven't yet been crystal clear about what they will use the info for, and what third parties will have access to said info.

I know that phones, computers, credit cards etc have an insight into your lifestyle, but not as in depth as an Amazon Echo. In my view until Amazon come clean about what will be done with the info harvested, you're paying to plant a listening device for the security services in your home! 

 

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The Guru

I had a few concerns too, but you can view / delete any harvested data at any time and the data only leaves you after you've used the keyword as a trigger.

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neilm

Regardless of whether app based, IFTT or simple time zones, I'd highly recommend the programmable thermostats such as Nest and Hive. 

Although not 'connected' we have had a programmable thermostat for about 12 years and they really help conserve fuel and make the home environment more controllable. Our current one has up to four time zones each day each of which can be set to a different temperature. You can also 'hold' a temperature for up to 96 hours for example if you go away and want to maintain a lower temperature for the duration to save fuel, but to revert to the 'comfortable' temperature for when you anticipate getting home. 

Connected versions add a lot more 'on demand' control of course!

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The Guru

Hi Neil, thanks for that, I've been trying to persuade the other half that these are a cost saver so interesting to get your viewpoint. :)

Just ordered out first intelligent plug as the D'Link models are on special offer at MobileFun at the moment and they can now be controlled by the Echo too!

More playing!

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fowljr

I'm thinking of buying an Echo dot myself. Just not got around to it yet! I mainly just want to experience it first hand! Home automation does interest me, but I'd have to convince Sue first! :wink:

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The Guru

LOL at £49 quid for the Dot though Jim a complete no brainer for playing with!

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The Guru

System now pretty complete. Have mastered using Alexa with the Sky system (turning on all elements, volume control, pausing etc), and the table lamp in the living room is in the D'link plug and 'Alexa turn the lamp on/off' or even 'Alexa lamp on/off' works brilliantly when sitting down to watch a film :)

Oh and using 'Maker' and 'IFTTT' it's all linked into the Gear S3 as well so I can control them all remotely via watch too.

Techo playtime / heaven.

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fowljr

I've now bought a dot. Had some vouchers to spend so thought why not. We've played with it so far, now need to buy some "extras" to make it useful! :-)

 

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The Guru

Yay! Bluetooth speakers unless you have a wired set to plug in. A decent Echo group on Facebook with some decent tutorials for automation.

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The Guru

Oh and for the moment the following codes:

  • Skillshare - 1 Month
  • 1MillionTasks - 3 months

Can be used with Todoist to give a decent trial premium account instead of the basic one that can be used with the Echo.

Thought they may come in handy.

Our 'Dot' has now been moved into the bedroom and replaces the aged old radio alarm clock, a much better waking experience and serves as a secondary source for playing music upstairs.

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fowljr

I need to play around with it a bit more. Thanks for the tips D. One things funny, it won't play music from my Amazon account, despite having some that I purchased ages ago...

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