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-   -   HAL, Amazon Echo/Dot, SMS, and TV Control (https://www.automatedliving.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5629)

BDD43 07-07-2016 10:44 PM

HAL, Amazon Echo/Dot, SMS, and TV Control
I've been testing some skills using the Amazon Dot/Echo along with HAL.
Since we can call Macros very easily now and do a Send IP, I have been able to integrate the Dot, HAL, and Denise (NextOS avatar) into some interesting areas.

Below is a link to just some of the skills:


Let me know what you think..

richland007 07-11-2016 11:01 PM

Re: HAL, Amazon Echo/Dot, SMS, and TV Control
that is very cool
What part is taken care by Alexa and whats HAL's?/
I haven't had any interaction with Alexa at all so i wouldn't know what its capable of interface wise.
I really like the avatar part Denise ...how is that interfaced

BDD43 07-12-2016 08:18 AM

Re: HAL, Amazon Echo/Dot, SMS, and TV Control
Alexa is Amazon's cloud service. The Echo and Dot are the hardware to connect to it. The Dot is in the video because it has audio out whereas the Echo does not. If you google Amazon Alexa, there are several youtube videos and it can answer a lot of questions, control your home etc.

Denise is NextOS. She is actually a chatbot and has won many awards for the chat capability.

HAL is in the background with Macros set, since Alexa doesn't allow such things.

My program does nothing more than feed (speech to text) whatever comes out of the Dot into a microphone input, which then sends that to the Denise API to read it the text.

Hope that helps.

TimShriver 07-14-2016 02:16 PM

Re: HAL, Amazon Echo/Dot, SMS, and TV Control

Here is the link to the site that has made an interface to HAL and the Echo. http://www.bwssystems.com/

You must be on HALultra or HALpro v6.

They havenít listed the HAL version yet as they have been sending updates to me to send to our HAL users with Echos. Here is the link for the HAL version


You have to tell the Bridge about HAL's ip address and the HAL WebService Token.

Then you add the various HAL Devices discovered by the Bridge that uses the HAL WebService.

jamarotta 07-14-2016 07:59 PM

Re: HAL, Amazon Echo/Dot, SMS, and TV Control
I have an Echo, a DOT, and the TAP. I love the DOT the best because of its additional ability to bluetooth out audio vs. the Echo and TAP that takes bluetooth audio in and plays. This is VERY exciting to see HAL starting to integrate with Alexa. I currently also have an Insteon Hub V2 so control some 54 or so insteon devices (include Nest Tstats) with Alexa. So far, its been a competition somewhat between HAL and Alexa, but working together I think results in something greater than each. Tim - Happy to beta test if you need it in this area.

TimShriver 07-14-2016 09:04 PM

Re: HAL, Amazon Echo/Dot, SMS, and TV Control
Hi Joe,

We've added support for the Vera controller and may add support for the Insteon Hub. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the hub does not allow you to do any kind of rules. Even the Alexa doesn't have the ability to do any kind of logic processing such a rules...

We see Alexa as a speech portal. As you know we like to see multiple ways of interacting with the home; microphones, intercoms, telephones, touch screens, remotes, browsers, apps, remotes, sensors, even ip cameras that have 2-way communication capabilities... In any given situation there may be a number of different ways to achieve that interaction with the home, one more convenient or practical than another given the situation.



BDD43 07-14-2016 10:14 PM

Re: HAL, Amazon Echo/Dot, SMS, and TV Control
You are correct. The Echo/DOT/TAP, nor the HUB have any scheduling, macros, rules, etc. etc. built in. Only Dim, On/Off. This is why I had to create a Alexa Skill to run the macros.

What would be outstanding is if HAL could incorporate a way for HAL to push notifications out through the device. I use it as a bluetooth speaker to do this and software soundswitch to move that output throughout the house depending on where I am at.

Alexa works with the Insteon Hub, so it does discover all of my devices. "Alexa, turn off the kitchen lights", etc. works great. One HUGE thing to keep in mind; Alexa's microphone is NOT bluetooth.

TimShriver 07-15-2016 11:11 AM

Re: HAL, Amazon Echo/Dot, SMS, and TV Control

Originally Posted by BDD43 (Post 31586)
One HUGE thing to keep in mind; Alexa's microphone is NOT bluetooth.

Yes, I have an echo for testing with HAL... We also have the Sound Blaster SBX which we have been testing with HAL...




jamarotta 07-15-2016 11:35 AM

Re: HAL, Amazon Echo/Dot, SMS, and TV Control
Hi Tim - Alexa has the ability to put multiple devices into groups and to control groups (similar to the HAL group function). In addition, the HUB2 software has scheduling capability based on time, although Alexa currently does not have access to the scheduling logic and so schedules of devices (or groups) must be done in the Hub application software.

The more broader thought here though is yes, I agree with you, that HAL is one of the best products there is (if not the best) for operating many different types of devices based on many different types of conditions and conditional logic. Alexa does not currently possess much of this. However what Alexa brings to the table is convenience and great ease of use for the everyday person who doesn't want or know how to spend time on automating their home, they just know they want to be able to speak to turn a light on or lower a thermostat and it happens.

The more these two products are able to integrate and work with each other, the closer I think you get to a solution that works for those who want both the convenience and the flexibility to do alot of things.

Having HAL being able to bluetooth out its speech through an echo/dot/tap, or being able to talk to Alexa and cause HAL to perform something that Alexa can't do on its owns are great moves in the right direction and as a user, enthusiast, and part time hobbyist, I'm excited about the integration if we get there!. Joe

TimShriver 07-15-2016 11:47 AM

Re: HAL, Amazon Echo/Dot, SMS, and TV Control
The problem with both the Insteon hub, Alexa and even Nest is that if your Wifi has a problem or you have an internet issue, you are dead in the water... HAL only uses the internet to periodically validate your license and if it can't get through it give you a grace period.

See this article for some insight to the pain of a novice!



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