Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Talking to my home

My home is mostly automated using KNX. Yes, that’s a bit expensive, but it’s wired, very flexible, it always works and is a truly open standard so I can choose from many manufacturers. I always get my hardware from http://knxgroothandel.nl.
I use OpenHab to extend the KNX installation a bit for simple but nice ui and to have an easy accessible playground.

Last weekend I started to look into how to control my home by voice. A few weeks ago I receive a free Hue kit. After installing those and connecting to the via the iOS app, they already can be controller by Siri, but I wanted to see whether I could also control my KNX installation.

I quickly found this OpenHab-HomeKit bridge application which allows you to control your OpenHab installation via Siri on an iPhone or iPad. The new MacOS Sierra Siri which will be release this fall will also make Siri available on the Mac!

Setup was not difficult, but I was not able to get it running on my Pi which also runs OpenHab mainly because the bridge is a NodeJS app and I just could not get a NodeJS version on the Pi which worked with the bridge application. So I ended up just running it on my MacMini server.
This only thing needed in OpenHab was to create a separate sitemap with the items to expose to Siri since not all items are supported (yet).
After that it was just trying out several commands to figure out what works in the Dutch language. Controlling the lights, light color, dim level and outlets work fine. Only the roller shutters do not work yet, but that's because a wrong command is send to OpenHab. It’s sending a ‘0’ or ‘100’ value instead of ‘UP’ or ‘DOWN’, but I already saw that this can be fixed by adding a rule to OpenHab to translate the wrong command into a valid one.

Here is a short video of the result:

The reason why some commands did not work was that I first I was using a wrong command and second Siri only could have of the sentence.
Overall it worked really nice. And, as an added bonus, because I also have an AppleTV, it also works remote without having to setup anything for that! Not only controlling the lights, but also for getting information about the house like the temperature in the living room.

I also briefly looked into Google Voice, but since that api is not open it is not possible to use Google Voice to control OpenHab. I did find a blogpost somewhere on how to setup Google Voice with home automation by using IFTTT, but I want my home to work standalone and not be dependant on internet services so I do not want to duplicate my home to IFTTT. But, I want to try out some geo fencing features with IFTTT and OpenHab soon.