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Smart home web access

Smart home manufacturers usually provide a mobile app allowing the users to manage the smart devices. Mobile apps use web services made publicly available by the vendors. Of course, authentication mechanisms are used.

In an attempt to understand better how the smart home world works, I developed some forms that would let you manage your smart home devices from the web.

  • Lightify is the smart home brand by OSRAM.
  • TP-Link. Web services API is not fully documented and I had to pick bit from different places.

I developed it just for fun and out of curiosity, if you are interested in getting a copy of the PHP code, just drop me a line. I hope I will find the time at some point to upload it to GitHub

Trying to sort out my thoughts on smart home, I wrote a few non-technical articles – in Spanish.

Amazon Alexa skills

If you play with smart home for a while, you will understand that the main issue is the integration. You buy a couple of smart bulbs from here, a smart switch from there and would like to setup a combined scene but you find yourself stuck. Proprietary mobile apps and web services will stop you right there !!!!

But smart speakers are coming to safe you. Alexa does exactly that, among many other things. You will be able see all your smart devices together and setup combined groups. So I jumped to the smart speakers area, starting with Alexa.

News delivery

This Alexa skill reads a RSS feed and delivers the article in an interactive fashion. Offers to read the headlines and, if the user is interested, the full article is read for them. Instead, the user can choose to get next headline. It provides pretty much the same functionality as a “Flash briefing” skill with a key difference, this skill keeps the navigation usage pattern. It enables react to the user’s preferences, tailoring the news feed, avoiding certain topics and so on.

Some examples of skills built using this engine:

Lukaku – linked words

Skill for a simple game but very addictive. User plays against Alexa who kicks off the game saying the first word. The user replies with a word whose first letter must be the same as Alexa’s word last letter. Then Alex replies and so on. An example shows off how simple it is:

  • (Alexa) loyalty
  • (user) year
  • (Alexa) role
  • (user) eye ….

NewChest – Automatic news curation

How can one make a robot understand concepts like relevancy and interest? That was the question that triggered this project.

NewsChest is a curation engine that gathers news articles from all over the internet and qualifies them based on a number of properties. Then, the best runner of each category is posted to the blog and will be picked up by the News Delivery Alexa skill mentioned above.

Robot is gathering and curating news on a few topics: FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Amazon Echo and Elon Musk. Feel free to use the feeds as you prefer.

I would not say this curation engine is complete, it needs some new features and refine existing ones.. I am on it.