We all know about Siri, Google Now, and we hear all about Amazon and their Alexa. Well the good news is that we can now control your Cbus and AV systems with voice control.
Many people may have seen this already in shows the like the “BLOCK” and it is not just a gimmick but a reality. Voice control can be achieved several ways but our preferred method is currently using the Amazon range of products like Alexa and Dot. While these are not readily available in Australia they can be purchased and set up to work in Australia quite easily.
They do not work on their own in the native C-Bus world but do work In conjunction with certain C-Bus products you may have installed already. It can also work in conjunction with PUSH control systems and RTI’s range of XP processors which we are big fans of.
One of the big reasons we are fans of RTI is their suite or compatible products such as LCD touchscreen remote controls, hard button remote controls, panel interfaces for apple and android phones and tables plus their own range of touchscreens. RTI is a very successful company focusing on control products and their gear is a well-designed and a quality product that works great. RTI also works very nicely when connected to Clipsal C-bus home automation products offer 2 wayfeed back and control. Two wayfeed back means that if the switch is showing that it is “on” with C-bus, it will show that it is “on” within RTI, say on your ipad running the RTi software app.
One other nice thing is that if we have an RTI touchscreen remote or ipadthat is controlling your AV gear, we can even dedicate a button on a Cbus switch to turn on the TV or have volume controls on the Cbus switch. Now add voice control and you can then say,” turn on the kitchen lights” or “turn off the TV” etc.
The Amazon Alexa is a very intuitive product that easily understand accents and voice types. Recent testing we did saw it respond just as well to an adult voice or to a 6 year old childs voice. It also makes a great little Bluetooth speaker. Once you have the Alexa app installed, there are many options for adding “skills” or “apps” to your Alexa.
Even straight out of the box and once connected to your network, Alexa can do some really helpful things. I know one thing I like is to be able to set a timer with my voice when cooking while leaving my food covered hands free. Another great one is creating shopping lists that you can share between you and your partner. Just call out “ Alexa can you add milk to my shopping list” and its done. It appears straight into your Alexa app list or even links to other well-known app lists that you may share with your partner.
Some people may think it is all a gimmick, and I did at first but as you get into It, it is really quite a clever and useful device. You do keep thinking of more ideas of how you can use it. I could easily see another few of these around my house.
The Clipsal C-Bus home automation system is a very powerful well proven product and so are products from RTI such as their remote controls and XP range of processors. Add the Amazon Alexa and you really add value and further usefulness to what you already. On top of that there is added “cool” factor to your current home automation and AV control system.