Alexa (Virtual Assistants) and Zway

Discussions about Z-Way software and Z-Wave technology in general
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Sparkacus
Posts: 24
Joined: 26 Nov 2015 16:19

Alexa (Virtual Assistants) and Zway

Post by Sparkacus » 08 Mar 2017 11:56

Hey,

I've developed a web service which I aim to offer as a bridge between virtual assistants (Alexa, Google Home etc) and home automation controllers. For now it only supports Alexa and zway.

I will be looking for beta testers in the near future, once I've ironed out a few things. I need to get the Alexa skill certified first. Let me know if you're interested.

To keep it simple my app:

1 - Pulls all devices from a controller
2 - Displays each device sorted by location
3 - Allows the user to easily set a friendly device name which the virtual assistants will use when reading a device
4 - Accept commands from the virtual assistants, such as turning on/off a device, setting device level e.g. dimmer

My app should also support multiple controller configurations, even multiple z-way controllers, which I thought could be useful for some users.


This hasn't been easy. I've had to study the Amazon home kit API, setup a Lambda service and an OAUTH server, code my app and study the Z-way API. In time I do aim to make this a paid for service (small yearly fee), but only if it's of interest to the public. If not, it's been an interesting leaning curve.


So far it works really well. When I get time over the next week or so I'll try and post some video examples.


The problem I have at the moment is with how my app connects to a users controller. Currently you have to store your z-way username/password in my app, which then stores your password within a DB in cleartext....urghhh. I have secured the service the best as I can, but regardless I still do not like this.

Do Z-Way have any plans for a Cloud solution that would be more appropriate for integrating 3rd party apps?

So far my app also requires the user to input their IP/Hostname (Dynamic DNS should be supported). This isn't ideal, as it requires router adjustments. I believe Z-way has a Cloud service at https://find.z-wave.me, but so far I cannot even login...no do I know if the Z-WAY api will allow me to use that as the end point.

One thought I did have was to develop some form of module for each controller which can then connect to my app and act as a relay, maybe via a web socket or something, but I'd rather avoid that route.

Please let me know your thoughts.

enbemokel
Posts: 90
Joined: 08 Aug 2016 17:36

Re: Alexa (Virtual Assistants) and Zway

Post by enbemokel » 13 Mar 2017 16:22

Hi Sparkacus,

this would be a very nice idea, at the moment i use some D-Link DSP-W215 and it works like
a charme with Alexa.
If you can integrate it like you wrote, it would be perfect.
To be honest, I expect this from the Z-Way Team.
Sorry, no more ideas, but add me to the beta tester :-)
Nico

Sparkacus
Posts: 24
Joined: 26 Nov 2015 16:19

Re: Alexa (Virtual Assistants) and Zway

Post by Sparkacus » 14 Mar 2017 10:43

Sure thing.

I'll try to get some video examples ready for the weekend.

I'm currently testing the features I've written to be sure they work correctly and are secure. Once I feel confident enough I'm going to start looking through the Alexa certification process (hopefully there will be no surprises).

Once certified I can then setup accounts for users to test. No idea how long this whole process will take, but I'll post when I know more.

What I would really love to solve is a better way for my service to communicate with a z-way controller. I need to think about this some more as I really do not like storing user/pass in my DB, but have no choice at the moment. If the Z-Way team are reading this, I'd appreciate your thoughts.

Sparkacus
Posts: 24
Joined: 26 Nov 2015 16:19

Re: Alexa (Virtual Assistants) and Zway

Post by Sparkacus » 19 Mar 2017 13:48

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKmX8awWXrs

^ Is a prototype demo which shows how to:

Create a z-way configuration
Pull in devices
Set custom device name (Optional)

The rest of the video shows how Alexa finds the devices and a couple of live demonstrations.


There are are a number of things I need to tweak and improve etc, but it's a fun project so far.

I'd be interested to know peoples thoughts.

enbemokel
Posts: 90
Joined: 08 Aug 2016 17:36

Re: Alexa (Virtual Assistants) and Zway

Post by enbemokel » 20 Mar 2017 13:55

Hi, good work. If you get rid with the user/pass in the cloud database, this would be the skill for me.
Maybe the Z-Way team can give some hints.
Thanks
Nico

Sparkacus
Posts: 24
Joined: 26 Nov 2015 16:19

Re: Alexa (Virtual Assistants) and Zway

Post by Sparkacus » 21 Mar 2017 10:15

enbemokel wrote:Hi, good work. If you get rid with the user/pass in the cloud database, this would be the skill for
It's certainly something I wish to avoid. So I'll give it some thought over time.

I'm just improving on features and error handling at the moment. I have now integrated an enable/disable button for a device which stops a virtual assistant (alexa) from being able to read or action a change relating to said device.

I'll post more updates in the near future.

Onanov
Posts: 1
Joined: 15 Apr 2017 01:48

Re: Alexa (Virtual Assistants) and Zway

Post by Onanov » 15 Apr 2017 12:14

This looks like a really interesting project. I have done a bit with Alex and Zway, including writing a skill to allow control via the command Alexa tell zway to .... using an adaption of a roku skill I found on github

https://github.com/julianh2o/RokuAlexaLambdaSkill

But yiou project looks much more sophisticated. I would love to get involved and would be delighted to help you test it. Any plans to publish the code on Github or similar.

RottenMutt
Posts: 100
Joined: 31 Jan 2015 21:09

Re: Alexa (Virtual Assistants) and Zway

Post by RottenMutt » 17 May 2017 06:57

good work so far. :D :D :D

larry1
Posts: 2
Joined: 24 Apr 2017 12:28
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Re: Alexa (Virtual Assistants) and Zway

Post by larry1 » 03 Aug 2017 15:40

I could recommend you read this article called How to Create Virtual Assistant Apps like Siri and Google Assistant
Hope it will be useful!

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