Voice control choices

Right now I have HA managing a small but growing number of smart switches in my house, operated via the HA app.

I’d really like to add voice control when in the house. We have iOS devices, so Siri and homekit are one way to go, but I kind of like not needing to have a phone handy capability offered by Alexa and Google.

Has anyone used both of these in this context? How do they compare? Are there any alternatives that are entirely local, not needing to pipe audio to Amazon/Google/Apple?

And how do you deal with young kids? Mine is 7, and I really don’t need him to be able to turn off the bathroom lights from the living room while I’m in the shower. :slight_smile: I’m assuming none of these can discriminate voices well enough to be used as security?

I’m using Google Home(s), and have no experience with Alexa. You’d need to be pretty keen to have both.

You can train your voice, but that’s more related to accessing calendars & contacts, than whether or not somebody can turn lights on. In general I’m pretty happy with it. Here are some of my experiences:

  • I have one in the same room at the TV, and Google is currently running ads which trigger it, which is a pain. This might be worse with Alexa because it only needs that one word for triggering.
  • Sometimes it keeps on listening for 5-10 seconds after I’ve stopped talking even though there’s minimal background noise. This may correspond with crappy internet access. You can get it to beep after it hears “Ok Google” and/or after it thinks you’ve stopped talking. I use only the second because I found the first too interrupting. This gives me confidence it heard me from across the room, and is doing something.
  • I tried to get the Google Assistant component working and failed (I think it was because of the environment I’m using, but can’t remember and haven’t revisited). Consequently, see next point.
  • Google integrates easily with IFTTT, so I can say “Ok Google, I’m going to bed”. This is how I’m doing all my integrations. I understand the equivalent with Alexa requires you to say “trigger”, which seems a bit clunky (eg. “Alexa, trigger bed time”).
  • However, (with IFTTT at least) you can’t tell which Home a request came from, so “Turn on the lights” can’t turn on the lights for the room you’re in. Saying “turn on the kitchen lights” when you’re in the kitchen seems pretty dumb.
  • When I speak to the Home in the lounge, the one in the kitchen and another upstairs regularly listen too. Only once has the wrong Home responded.
  • I changed to a mesh wifi system, and despite having the same name and password, all of the Homes could no longer connect and it was harder than it should have been to fix.
  • The volume on two Homes seems to reset to really low sometimes (maybe daily). This might be a bad automation from me, as my daughters play music quite loud and it can be terrifying being yelled at when turning the lights on. However, you can’t retrieve the current volume level via HA, so I’ve had some difficulty tracking it down (coupled with laziness).
  • Internet dependence is a pain. I’ve looked for a local alternative and not found anything.
  • I don’t have young kids, but my adult son thinks it’s hilarious to ask Google to wake me up at 3am. This is not related to HA, although I could probably create an automation to clear it (but he moved interstate).

Got two Google home, a normal and a mini. It works pretty well, I integrated Google assistant and for commands with parameters I use ifttt integration.
As stated, Google home can discriminate between voices, but it is used only for calendars and other accounts, I don’t think it is possible to choose a voice for not executing a command.
Here in Italy Google Assistant is a bit better than Alexa, but this could be not true in other countries.
My kids AT THE MOMENT enjoy playing with it and don’t do anything particularly problematic, but this can change at any moment.

Google Assistant is quite neat, it even understands the room or devices once you connect your HA to it. Some examples:
Turn on all the fans (turns on the fan everywhere)
Turn off the bedroom fan (they’re all called the same, but I assigned the devices to rooms, so this is it how it knows where it is)
Turn off the living room (turns off every single device in the living room)

I had to be very specific when it came to the device I wanted to control such as “turn off the living room fan” if I say just “turn off the fan” it would tell me that it doesn’t know which fan I wanted to turn off.
Now here comes the latest blessing from Google, if you have a Google Mini in every room (and you’ve assigned them properly), I can just tell the Google Home mini in my living room to “turn off the fan” and it will know I wanted to turn off the fan located in the living room (because both of them were assigned to the same room in the Google Home app).
Also they added the continued conversation so now it can pick up several commands instead of saying
“Hey Google, turn on the TV”, “Hey Google, turn on the speakers”
Now I can just say “Hey Google, turn on the TV and the speakers”, and I could go on and on. It will also keep listening for 6-8 seconds, something like that for any other request you have.

I use alexa with cloud. works really great. The only matter is something it show device offline so have to discover device almost every 2 days.

I use google assistant component. works really great. The only matter is when add new device sometime have to unlink the skill and link again.

I use siri with homekit component. works really great. The only matter is support maximum 100 devices. So you need to config very carefully. Also homebridge as this support camera, so I can add camera in Homekit.

I use conversation component which come with shopping_list component. very useful. The only matter is it is not always listen and have to use from browser, not support on ios device.

Lastly, when you have all voices command needed. You will want them to works automatically with automation.

You can always tell Google “Hey Google, sync my devices”. It will update pull the devices from your HA, no need to unlink and link the service again

Mine sometime works but most of the time it doesn’t. So I have to unlink and link again.
I found that if it is new device from my own skill it won’t work. But if it is new device from other public skill like phillip hue, yeelight, sensibo it automatically sync new device.