Is anyone using Hubs, IFTTT, for home automation?

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Autotelic

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I freely admit I know just enough to be aware of my ignorance about this stuff. It hasn't stopped me from trying to make voice commands and phone/tablet control as much stuff as we can. I installed Nest for heat/AC. Harmony remote for the entertainment system. That remote also controls the lamps since we switched to Philips Hue hub and bulbs. We got an Amazon Echo early on and this is where my reach exceeds my grasp. There are a lot of recipes available to automate things using IFTTT and Echo, but unless they are dead simple I often get them wrong. And I don't understand why they are wrong. I can just see that they don't work. An example of this is using Echo to control the lamps. When I started this, I would buy one of something to try it and see how I liked it before committing to more, so when I wanted to control the lamps I bought a Wemo plug and plugged a lamp into it. I named the lamp and now I can tell echo to turn it off or on and it works, every time. Good experience. The downside is, once you plug the wemo into your receptacle, you've taken a 2 plug outlet and made it a one plug outlet. So, for the rest of the lamps in the den I got a Philips Hue hub and some white bulbs. I named the lamps and I can control them With the Harmony remote, or the Hue app on my phone, but Echo can't do it. She finds them but can't control them. I have no idea why. So I'm wondering if anyone else out here is having any success with this stuff, and if so which items in particular are working for you.
 

Atsugi

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It's amazing and wonderful you're able to do this. I think most of this is over the head of most people.

I was able to get our TV, fan, lamps and a door opener to work with an X-10 controller that the VA bought for us. The controller received IR signals from the eye-gaze equipped computer that VA also supplied. With a tiny modification done by the manufacturer (FRS) we got the hospital bed to respond to the computer as well.
 

Autotelic

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I'm laughing at myself. It would be wonderful if I got it right more than I do. But each time I mess some thing up I figure out a new way to do something. We got the Amazon Echo and she was Bluetooth enabled. It took them a while to give her the functionality of working the lights and things but now she does. Just when I start to get a little full of myself though my PALS will ask me to get it working on his Android phone. I haven't had a single success making any of this work on Android. But I can operate the lights and AC/heat, smoke detectors, entertainment system, from my phone or tablet, and can make quite a bit work with the Echo. And that's what I'm trying to do more of because it's a simple voice command. "Alexa turn on the sofa lamp" and she does. So my PALS can have voice control of his environment.
The VA had someone come out last week to show us his products. It was a remote that you speak to. It functioned as a tree directory. So the conversation would be "living room/lights/sofa lamp/on". It was designed for blind people. I think if I could squeeze in just a bit more reading up on it I could do this myself. Although his kit did come with plugs and light switches that communicated with a hub. Those components aren't cheap. But his kit was $7k. I think I've prolly got $500 in what I've done so far and could probably finish with another $500. I really don't want to ask the VA to buy one so I can Frankenstein the parts I need and ignore the rest. That seems wasteful. But I know as easy as it is for us to turn the lights on with Echo/Alexa, there's no way we're going to use the tree directory. It's too cumbersome. He did look a bit chagrined when I gave him a demo.
The x10 looks interesting. That's not what this guy was pushing though. We go to clinic on Thursday so I'll ask then if they have another vendor we can talk to. His Tobii was delivered this week but we've put off the install for a couple of weeks while we get through the remodel. Taking it out of the box right now would be asking for trouble.
The Echo has been a lot of fun. At first we mainly used her as a timer, or we played Stump the Band, or tried. We never asked for a song she didn't play. The most impressive was Johnny Crawford (from The Rifleman) singing Your Nose is Gonna Grow. Then we got news briefings. And shopping lists and to do lists and calendars, and then finally they started making use of the Bluetooth functionality and things got interesting. The speaker is pretty decent too. All to say, I like it and find it useful and if you've been on the fence, go for it. I have it now where I can add things to my shopping list and then ask her for my list and she emails it to me..that's helpful when several people are adding things.

Thanks for the encouragement. I was feeling like a kid who got left at day care for a bit ��
 

LifeEnthusiast

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I love fiddling with technology but I understand it little. Now this won't exactly work if the use of one's hands are limited.

But in the past, I've taken left over hotel cards -- the NFC ones -- and rewrote them using things like IFTTT etc.

I programmed for small tasks. I'd have one in the car. Tap my phone on it and the bluetooth came on, pairing etc., Get home. Tap my phone on a card, data turned off etc., I was just playing and learning, but I know you can set these things up with just about anything.

And that is the limit of my knowledge. Hope this thread goes on for a long while. I'll be interested to hear what others have done.
 

LifeEnthusiast

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I love fiddling with technology but I understand it little. Now this won't exactly work if the use of one's hands are limited.

But in the past, I've taken left over hotel cards -- the NFC ones -- and rewrote them using things like IFTTT etc.

I programmed for small tasks. I'd have one in the car. Tap my phone on it and the bluetooth came on, pairing etc., Get home. Tap my phone on a card, data turned off etc., I was just playing and learning, but I know you can set these things up with just about anything.

And that is the limit of my knowledge. Hope this thread goes on for a long while. I'll be interested to hear what others have done.
 

Autotelic

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LifeEnthusiast, that is brilliant! Very clever use of the key card.
 

LifeEnthusiast

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Type in NFC rewrite into google. Lots of free IOS/Android apps and tutorials. It doesn't solve issues if one has lost the use of their arms, but I really haven't explored the actual physical range. Either way, fiddling around has kept my mind engaged. :)
 
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