The Amazon Echo was released last year to a limited number of customers via invitation. I’ve gotten my invitation and it finally reached me 2 weeks ago. For those who do not know what an Echo is, this is their official YouTube video. The first time I saw Echo, like many home automation enthusiats, the first thing I can think of is, “Holy shit! I want to use it to voice control the Z-Wave system in my house!” So here we are, it is done and I’m going to show you how.
A video made during my initial test
A full feature video made by a fellow home automation enthusiast, in Ah Beng style as requested 🙂
What you need:
- Amazon Echo
- Amazon Echo app (You’ll need to get it from US play store or download an apk)
- A Windows/Linux/Mac machine
- Working Vera (2/3/Lite/Edge)
As usual, like my previous attempts to voice control using Siri, Google Now, I’ve never reinvent code anything from scratch but to just put together the hacks that are out there in the Internet. This solution does not need you to working with any SDK or programming. Sounds good already?
What we are trying to achieve is to make Amazon Echo believe that there is a Philips Hue bridge in the network. The Amazon Echo works with Philips Hue bulbs out of the box. So we are creating a Philips Hue bridge that receive command from Amazon Echo and directs it to your Vera system instead. Here’s the how to:
- Get the latest binary of the Amazon Echo Vera Bridge here
- Download the jar file (amazon-echo-bridge-0.1.3.jar) into a folder
- Make sure you have Java 8 JDK installed
- You will need your Windows/Linux/Mac’s IP address ready i.e 192.168.1.123
- Use command line/terminal to navigate to the folder where the jar file is
- Run the command with your IP address. In this example it is java -jar amazon-echo-bridge-0.1.3.jar –upnp.config.address=192.168.1.123
- Key in the URL in your browser with http://<yourIP>:8080/configurator.html. In this example it is http://192.168.1.123:8080/configurator.html and you should see the following in your browser
- Now you need to find the device ID of the light you want to control in your Vera. You also need to update the Vera Server IP address to that of yours. In my example, my study light has device ID 54 and my Vera IP address is 192.168.1.199.
- Once you click on add device and visit the URL http://192.168.1.123:8080/api/devices, you should see one device listed. I’ve done for many devices thus the output in the browser is as shown:
- Fire up the Amazon Echo app, go to Settings>Connected Home>Add new devices.
- Your Amazon Echo should begin searching for this bridge and will announce that it has found Philip Hue bulb(s), even though it is actually a Vera device. Once the devices are added your Echo app should display the connected home devices:
Here you go. You now have an always on voice assistance for your home. You can apply scenes and other devices other than light as long as you know the right URL to use. However, since we are mimicking a Philips Hue bridge, you’ll notice that you always have to say Alexa, turn on or turn off your device. In the case of curtains, door locks and scenes, the command will be a little awkward right now. With this, I hope you enjoy your Amazon Echo.