Category Archives: Home Automation

Echo now talks to Hue and WeMo

Echo Connected HomeWhile I was asleep last night, Amazon pushed an Amazing update out to Echo. Echo can now talk to my Philips Hue lights AND my WeMo Home Automation devices!

You can now say things like

Alexa, turn on the kitchen lights.

or even..

Alexa, turn on the coffee!

I tried out these very commands this morning. The results…? My life is now complete.  The home automation scene NEEDED a device like this… an omni-directional speech recognition device that integrates to existing platforms.  And now we have it. At least, the start of it. I would love to see Dropcam and Nest integration among other things.

Bravo, Amazon.

Amazon Echo now does Traffic

Amazon Echo Traffic ReportsAmazon is slowly rolling out new features to the Echo, and today’s update introduced traffic reports. The functionality as it is today is rather limited: You need to configure the to and from destinations in the app before she can give you a report – just ask “Alexa, how is traffic?”

And that is all she can do right now… just report on the traffic between those two locations. I tried asking about the “traffic to RDU airport” and several other locations, and the response was “I can not find the answer to the question I heard”.

I find myself in the camp that appreciates frequent, steady updates (versus huge updates once a quarter), so I’m looking forward to the many feature additions the Amazon team will surely add in the future.

Here’s a quick video of the traffic report in action:

Update (3/13/2015): Just saw the mail they sent out this update.  Apparently, they’ve also added a new Celtic Prime Playlist in time for St. Patrick’s Day.

Echo Traffic Email

COSM is now Xively

XivleyCOSM, the self-proclaimed “first public internet of things cloud” is out of beta, and came out with a new name: Xively. With the new brand launch, the look and feel has changed to be a bit more business/professional looking. Now there are three tiers of service offered for production use, none of which are free.

It will be interesting to see how this Platform as a Service (PaaS) gets used. When I played around with it a few months ago, there wasn’t much there other than a bunch of twitter stats (COSM offered Twitter status out of the box as  a working demo of the technology). Now, you can take the test drive to set up a package tracker. In addition to the cosmetic changes, there are some API differences (the old COSM will still work, for a while), and new Oauth integration. Nice!

Has anyone done anything useful on this platform yet? Any interesting projects out there?