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Smart Things Hub Discussion
#1
Rather than hi-jack IVB's thread for a general discussion of the Smart Things Hub, it seems a separate thread would be worthwhile. I've been messing with my system for a couple of days now and have a better feel for it.

First of all, I find it performs it's intended tasks very well. In addition to having it running all of my Z-Wave network in parallel with the VRC0P/CQC package, I just installed the water detector and it went fast and easy, and it's very responsive in dialing my iPhone to tell me there was a leak. It was only a test setup with the detector in the sink. I have a siren on order for the water detector.

The main discussion so far has been in regard to it being used as a Z-Wave Primary Controller and interface with CQC in an effort to get rid of the Levition VR series components. My thinking so far is that the STH software is so primitive that doing much beyond what is pre-programmed in the software is not easily accomplished. There's an API that appears to do quite a bit of stuff, but that's only going to work for those with some programming smarts, not me. So, I'm reaching the point of ruling it out as a Primary Controller for me. If a CQC driver is ever accomplished, it might be useful as a replacement for the VRC0P since it would already be on the Z-Wave network and it would eliminate a troublesome step in connecting with CQC. I suppose the sticky-wicket might be that the SMH won't pass certain device status information to CQC.

After installing my water sensor and suddenly realizing there isn't a lot I can do with it other than what Smart Things has set up such as dialing my iPhone and perhaps setting off a siren. It does those things well, but all of a sudden I hungered for the ability to have it talk to CQC upon being set off and have CQC handle the alarm chores. Whether it could be used to trigger a CQC Global Event is beyond my knowledge pay grade.

Given the number of devices the STH has drivers for, and with Samsung's apparent commitment to being a major player with it, I'm thinking it might open up a major pathway to a lot of devices without CQC having to have drivers for each thing. Of course, I'm doing a lot of guessing since I'm not skillful on the technical knowledge of how it would happen.

One thing I think we have learned is that it needs to have a direct and logical path to CQC, not what was required for the Echo to work with CQC. The extra verbiage that became necessary pretty much killed the project other than being a limited gee-whiz. The way Alexa responds to triggering the STH is the way it needs to go. Simply saying "Alexa, turn the entry light on to 40%" does it. And, it seems to do it every time. I get nearly 100% accuracy with anything on my Z-Wave network.

Basically, I'm thinking what is happening is that the STH loads the names assigned to the network devices into Echo so that nothing special is needed when issuing a command. It would be as if the "discover new devices" procedure in Echo could also discover the Global Actions in CQC and handle them like it does Z-Wave commands. Probably a big and impossible order, but I can dream with the best of them.

So, if it can hear a command that says "Alexa, turn on the kitchen light", then perhaps it could also hear a command that said "Alexa, turn on the home theater" and it would know that was located in CQC Global Events and trigger it. The big issue here would be whether or not CQC could deposit it's list of Global Events into the STH. Dreaming again? Probably.
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#2
The no-trigger word type invocation is possible directly with CQC...the lighting API is now opened:

http://www.charmedquark.com/vb_forum/sho...post164743

So you could load up various global actions and trigger them like you want: "Alexa, turn on the home theater"
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#3
Deane Johnson Wrote:The main discussion so far has been in regard to it being used as a Z-Wave Primary Controller and interface with CQC in an effort to get rid of the Levition VR series components. My thinking so far is that the STH software is so primitive that doing much beyond what is pre-programmed in the software is not easily accomplished. There's an API that appears to do quite a bit of stuff, but that's only going to work for those with some programming smarts, not me. So, I'm reaching the point of ruling it out as a Primary Controller for me. If a CQC driver is ever accomplished, it might be useful as a replacement for the VRC0P since it would already be on the Z-Wave network and it would eliminate a troublesome step in connecting with CQC. I suppose the sticky-wicket might be that the SMH won't pass certain device status information to CQC.

...

So, if it can hear a command that says "Alexa, turn on the kitchen light", then perhaps it could also hear a command that said "Alexa, turn on the home theater" and it would know that was located in CQC Global Events and trigger it. The big issue here would be whether or not CQC could deposit it's list of Global Events into the STH. Dreaming again? Probably.

I think having a ST driver might be beneficial because it could potentially provide us with DEVICE level access within CQC, effectively providing a way to get generic Zigbee support into our setups.

I don't yet know how the ST API provides access, but the Wink API *does* provide you with access to the devices (via their 'cloud'). So we could retain all of CQC's logic ability, just routing it via ST identically to how we do it with any other driver.

In regards to using ST as a primary controller, the original idea was to use SmartThings Hub for two primary areas: (1) primary controller for z-wave devices which replicates to VRC0P (2) native Echo integration of various components including Sonos.

So include all z-wave devices (including VRC0P) to the ST Hub, then replicate to the VRC0P by updating the secondary controller. This keeps Z-Wave native to CQC, but provides a way to include devices and build your network reliably. ST also has a very significant compatibility list, something that RFIT was horribly lacking once you moved outside of the Leviton world.

The other biggie is how effective ST can be when integrated with the Echo for that direct access control. NishanF pointed out the lighting API being available, but it isn't yet supported for us, so enter this $99 device.

Check out this cool video.
do the needful ...
Hue | Sonos | Harmony | Elk M1G // Netatmo / Brultech
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#4
Yes, I'm doing what he is doing in the video, except I don't have a Nest or a dog. I think mine is just a little faster than his. My router is very fast and my internet download speed runs about 120 Mbps. I don't know if those two things are having an affect or not.

The video cleary shows how I'd like for all of it to work. I've noted that Alexis seems to understand the same words better when applied to the ST hub than she does when I use them in the longer sentence for the CQC access. I have no idea why that is. Words should be words, but I don't think they are in this case.

On the issue of loading the ST hub as a Primary into a VRC0P, I'm wondering if with a CQC driver the VRC0P could be eliminated altogether. I suspect there might be some capabilities missing in that approach, but I don't know that for sure.
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#5
Deane Johnson Wrote:Yes, I'm doing what he is doing in the video, except I don't have a Nest or a dog. I think mine is just a little faster than his. My router is very fast and my internet download speed runs about 120 Mbps. I don't know if those two things are having an affect or not.

The video cleary shows how I'd like for all of it to work. I've noted that Alexis seems to understand the same words better when applied to the ST hub than she does when I use them in the longer sentence for the CQC access. I have no idea why that is. Words should be words, but I don't think they are in this case.

On the issue of loading the ST hub as a Primary into a VRC0P, I'm wondering if with a CQC driver the VRC0P could be eliminated altogether. I suspect there might be some capabilities missing in that approach, but I don't know that for sure.

lucky for us my wife is a computational linguist. she says that what most likely is happening is Alexa is programmed to listen for the prepositional phrase.

[VP(V)[PP(P)[NP(N)]]]

so the entire thing is a verb phrase [VP]; the verb (turn/set/run/load) is followed by a preposition phrase [PP] and preposition (on/off/to), and finally the noun phrase [NP] and noun (lights).

it's why she responds so well to the lighting API: Alexa, turn (verb) on (preposition) lights (noun), but gets a little confused using the skill: Alexa, tell (verb) SKILL (noun) to (preposition) turn (verb) on (preposition) lights (noun).
do the needful ...
Hue | Sonos | Harmony | Elk M1G // Netatmo / Brultech
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#6
Your explanation (or your wife's) reflects what I'm seeing happening.
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#7
OK, I have my Z-Wave interface with CQC all screwed up. I can't update the VRC0P. It simply returns an "unable to update" error message. I did a factory reset on the VRC0P with no change. So, I can no longer use CQC with my Z-Wave. Not a CQC problem, but a Leviton problem. Might be the crappy Leviton software.

So, I'm more anxious than ever to move on. Opinions please on the best Z-Wave controller that can currently interface with CQC with Leviton out of the mix.

ESY?
Vera Edge?

I've left off the Smart Things Hub for two reasons. It doesn't talk to CQC and it doesn't seem to do much other than be dependable. My Z-Wave lighting is not currently controllable, other than with Alexa and the ST Hub. Fortunately that works good.

How does ISY connect with CQC. Is the Smarthome PLM required?

Comments on the ESY and Vera Edge will be appreciated. New Years Eve is over. Time to rise and shine.
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#8
I have been testing the vera edge. I picked it over the smart things hub for two reasons. It's not cloud based, and there is an easy http interface:

http://wiki.micasaverde.com/index.php/Luup_Requests

It works fine as a z-wave primary controller and I use my VRCOP as a secondary controller to interface to CQC.

I only have a switch and thermostat so far in my test environment...no issues. I'll be adding locks soon.
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#9
Thanks for your comments Nishan. I have the Smart Things Hub, and it responds to Echo very well. That's the only use I make of it, but I hear you on the cloud based issue. Too much stuff dependant on a cloud response could become an issue at times. Local control is better.

I'm thinking the ISY interfaces through the network with CQC and doesn't need an interface for CQC like the VRC0P, but I may be completely wrong. I really want to get clear away from Leviton.

Can anyone confirm the interface requirements with CQC? I would only be running Z-Wave on it. I know if you do X-10 or Insteon you need the Smarthome PLM device, but I'm thinking you don't for Z-Wave.
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#10
FWIW there is a new version of the Vera coming out called the VeraPlus, they are taking pre-orders now. More, better, not much other info other than what I recieved in a HomeControls newsletter yesterday...

"VeraPlus Advanced Home Controller
Latest Vera Hub Now Available for Pre-Order

Connect, control, and customize all the smart devices in your home with the VeraPlus Z-Wave Home Controller. Launched as a mid-range successor to Vera's previous, more basic model (VeraEdge), the upgraded VeraPlus home controller supports more communications protocols to integrate a wider range of devices. In addition to Z-Wave and Wi-Fi, it offers Zigbee and Bluetooth LE compatibility. It also features a faster processor and doubled memory capacity to accommodate larger home systems. The VeraPlus is suitable for use as a new controller, or you may migrate an existing setup, such as your VeraEdge configuration, onto the new controller.

- Pre-order to receive your reserved new unit in February 2016
- Supports Z-Wave Plus, ZigBee, Bluetooth LE, and Wi-Fi devices
- Faster processor (800MHz) and doubled memory (256MB)
- Control all devices and view cameras from one app
- Create custom scenes and event sequences
- Compact design, only 5 inches wide"
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