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> The goal of the Connected Home over IP project is to simplify development for manufacturers...

> The industry working group will take an open-source approach for the development and implementation of a new, unified connectivity protocol and increase compatibility for consumers.

Curious if I as a hobbyist will benefit from this? Or if this will become a: it works perfectly, but only if all your devices connect to our certification servers kind of thing, like Chromecast is becoming.




My guess: first of all, "for security reasons" your DIY device will need to be certified, any existing SBCs will need to be replaced/extended to support new type of network and due to bloated protocol specs with a myriad of abstraction levels will render it almost impossible to implement it on your own and the open source library that can do that will implement the standard as specified whereas all proprietary solutions will have some quirks and little differences from official standard making it very hard to connect to anything from your open source lib. Also the sophistication of the new standard will exceed the capabilities of any arduino forcing you to replace any boards you have with new ones that have AVR uc with Connected Home hardware support.


Believe me, they will it will never find adoption. How to say, they are free to make whatever standards, but they will not matter much if nobody will use them.

Their entire ecosystem together have less devices shipped than even some OEM nonames, not to say of Xiaomi or Huawei or Tuya who tower over them.

All kinds of "smart assistants" like Alexa end up in drawers very quickly after initial novelty passes, and it creeping up you in the middle of a conversation gets annoying. From data I have, sales of those smart speakers is already starting to taper off.

In Russia, there is an idiom "to divide the cake before it's baked." And those guys are doing exactly that: people don't even know what those "connected home" devices are and which ones sell well, yet they are already eager make up standards for them.


Apparently at least Apple is turning over a new leaf; they just open sourced HomeKit: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21831259


Andreas Gal? What a surprise.

That's the guy who flopped with Silk Labs labs.


I thought the russian idiom was something about splitting the hide before youve shot the bear.


Don't know much about russian idioms, but "splitting the <rewards x> before <accomplishing risky thing y>" sounds a lot like that stock thing the dutch east india company created


My experience is the opposite, basically every home I go to has an Alexa or a google home. It’s not doing too much typically managing lights/smart switches, and playing music.


Can confirm. My alexa went in the drawer after she was offering to call the crisis line for me during a spirited session of gaming.

I genuinely think the Amazon team (at least in that particular regard) want to do some good. But until they can teach their machines how to understand context, I just don't want my unfiltered conversations going around potentially to medical institutions or law enforcement.


I am surprised this is how we have ended up. We have already had a pretty good looking model for this sort of voice activated computer interaction thanks to Star Trek: TNG.

It would be far more palatable for the devices to wait for a command cue ("Computer--") to respond with an activation bleep. After the bleep, the commands begin to be interpereted.

Instead we have a listener always awaiting commands. What could be a helpful and invisible servant is instead some kind of jerk who interjects with the most literal interpretations of normal conversations.

If I wake up in the morning feeling grumpy (every day) and say some crazy crap (totally possible) on my way to the can, will an apple contractor employee be able to figure out what the hell I really wanted by reviewing the seconds of audio?

I have made death threats to wall hanging photographs in those 30 minutes before my medication kicks in. There is no checkbox for this in the privacy settings. I know with some of these smart things you can change the prompt, but this feels like not the best we can come up with.


> command cue ("Computer--") to respond with an activation bleep

This can be turned on in the Home app → Accessibility → "Play start sound" (as well as "Play end sound").


> Can confirm. My alexa went in the drawer after she was offering to call the crisis line for me during a spirited session of gaming.

Wait, what? Please explain more.

It feels like you're saying Alexa heard you being ... passionate, and got concerned. But my understanding was that Alexa listens only after the trigger word. I'm really confused by what you've said and wish to know more context.


If you've ever owned a device like Alexa or Google Home what he said isn't confusing at all. They trigger accidentally all the time. His Alexa simply triggered when it wasn't supposed to and then reacted to what he was saying. Given he was gaming it was likely something about killing himself or someone else.


Huh, interesting. I have an amazon echo. My problem with it is not that it activates when I don't say trigger word, it's that I have to try very many times to get it triggered (usually by speaking louder).


It's impossible for me to say with certainty if it didn't just interpret something I said as it's trigger. Nevertheless, I was playing Halo online and yelling about a match going badly, saying something to the effect of "we might as well kill ourselves, this match is just not going our way" while laughing, and Alexa interpreted it as me contemplating suicide, and offered to connect me to a crisis line.


Great, now we need another device recording all sounds so we can play then back to reverse engineer smart speaker behavior :(


Has anyone found Alexa way too easy to trigger? As someone who frequently talks about people with a similar name, I'm amazed at how often Alexa chimes in. I think 'OK Google' is at a sweet spot (although my parents for ages were convinced 'hi google' would work if they tried enough :)


Don't have an Alexa so can't comment on how easy it is to trigger, although I don't know any Alexes so it'd unlikely be a problem for me.

What I can say about the google equivelent is that I find saying 'Hey Google' everytime I want it to do something is a bit of a mouthful especially if you want to do several things is shortish succession.

And my other problem is that I apprently say 'OK Cool' too often when I'm on the desk phone at work as my google account is full of recordings of bits of my work phone convo's where I've triggered it unwittingly.


Sometimes mine starts responding to... nothing. As in, in the midst of silence in the middle of the night, like a dog barking at ghosts, it'll answer a question literally nothing asked.




Id say yes. I just switched from google and feel like google was too buggy and slightly too hard to trigger. Alexa is too easy to trigger and has too many notifications.


"Hey Google" is a valid trigger for some versions of the assistant, so they weren't that far off and may have seen that in action before.


Pretty sure you can change the name she responds to.


It's a limited set of options though, like 'Computer', which is hardly an uncommon word.


For clarity, Alexa responded to my comments without being triggered. It's always listening (which makes sense, by virtue of listening for the trigger) but in this case, it reacted without the "Alexa" key word.


> any existing SBCs will need to be replaced/extended to support new type of network and due to bloated protocol specs with a myriad of abstraction levels will render it almost impossible to implement it on your own and the open source library that can do that will implement the standard as specified whereas all proprietary solutions will have some quirks and little differences from official standard making it very hard to connect to anything from your open source lib.

Whoa, is it really necessary to call BlueTooth out like that?


BT v1 to v3 maybe, but BTLE/v4 solved a lot of the problems afaik.


You're probably right. It's been a while since I had the misfortune of working with BT.



For anyone not following the the link, cptskippy has given a user perspective that summarises things nicely in my view:

“It's easier to tell when you're not using BLE. :) The Tesla Model 3 uses traditional Bluetooth for phone calls and streaming but the Phone as a Key functionality is BLE. When you walk up to the car and try to open it and the car says FU then BLE isn't working. When your Xiaomi Mi Band smartwatch hasn't buzzed all day but you pull your smartphone out of your pocket and have 8 missed calls, 100 messages, and 500 emails then BLE isn't working. When you're at a Tech Conference and the Conference App uses BLE Beacons to help navigate you indoors and it can't determine your location then BLE isn't working.”


Apple's existing standard (HomeKit) is relatively 'open' - the specification is published, and several open source implementations exist. I've used the Python one to implement automation on the smart-home devices I've built myself. However, you do need to be certified to distribute a product otherwise you get a warning in the app when you add the device.

This seems like a fair compromise to me.


A self-plug for my own HAP C library: https://github.com/andoma/libhap

I've been using it on a Raspberry Pi to control various things and recently decided to shape it up and release it to the public.


Seems fair indeed. I did a quick search and HomeKit seems to work without an internet connection (on lan at least, not remote), what's your experience with that?


Yeah, it works completely locally on the lan - there's a MDNS discovery and then pairing process between devices and the phone.

You can access stuff remotely if you have an Apple device which is paired to the homekit stuff and connected to the internet (e.g. an Apple TV, we use an iPad which is always at home).

I've deliberately designed my system to work offline as while our connection's pretty reliable I don't see why I should need an internet connection to turn on a light! :)


> I don't see why I should need an internet connection to turn on a light!

I hope manufacturers see it the same way.

I don't mind devices having to be certified, I mostly want to buy hardware of the shelve anyways for safety and convenience reasons and build the controlling/automation part myself. So my biggest worries are not having a local API, data exposure and having to invest in a ecosystem and having the manufacturer brick it remotely, wasting my money.


At least for HomeKit, manufacturers have no choice but to support local network access to get certified. This has cause issues, especially with Cameras since HomeKit requires that camera streams not go through the cloud first.


HomeKit is now open source: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21831259


> The HomeKit Open Source ADK is an open-source version of the HomeKit Accessory Development Kit. It can be used by any developer to prototype non-commercial smart home accessories. For commercial accessories, accessory developers must continue to use the commercial version of the HomeKit ADK available through the MFi Program.

So only the "device" part, sadly not the "controller" part. So you'll still need a iOS device to setup stuff in your house, I tried it yesterday with only my iMac to no avail.

But still it's a step in the right direction.


FYI: Homekit requires you to by a DRM chip from Apple to basically do a hanshake with Iphone and nothing else.

Not a good idea with OEMs, and that's why I believe they gave up the white flag now: no adoption.

They are either jump on the smart home bandwagon now, or never.


It was a hardware auth chip, not DRM and it hasn’t been required for 2 years now. Software auth went live in iOS 11.3. Apple doesn’t encourage the chip anymore and AFAIK no one uses it (except legacy devices obviously). Software auth rules the day.


Well too late now, the boat has sailed.

Most OEMs chose APP + own protocol approach


I think most major HA hardware providers support Homekit at this point, with the exception of ones that don't because of competitive reasons (Nest, maybe Ring, etc) or because of strict certification requirements (like camera streams being local, $$$).


Perhaps. The Phillips Hue lights use an open standard, I bought a usb device that could talk it (ZigBee Light Link) but then it turned out that production devices used a master key.

Here's a discussion of the master key being leaked:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9249753

But I looked it it before that and never tried to look it up again.

So likely so, and with today's encryption it probably won't get hacked for hobbyists to use/learn/play but of course I guess the argument is that the Hue Bridge and other devices will have an API.


I can recall something along the lines: used to be like that with Light Link but as of Zigbee 3 it’s really interoperable all round (Hue hub registering third party devices and Hue lamps working with generic hubs.)

I’m still looking for other devices to mesh into a ZB3 network: I’d love to see an Opentherm capable controller able to use any connected thermometer and heating element valves to modulate heat flux production and distribution around my flat. Might be overthinking though... it’s so well thermally insulated.


> This Tweet from @MayaZigBee has been withheld in response to a report from the copyright holder.

oooooo.

Also, using mobile.twitter.com (as linked) I see a single reply, if I delete `mobile.` I see no replies. Interesting.


I really hope they recognize the need that people want to keep their data on their lan. Actually that would be required by the GDPR if they won't let me sign anything. My derived data is my own people, it does not belong to who ever collects it.

I.e. I just want a thermostat the is a big rotating button and speaks mqtt. It does not exist. If you want it to look good you end up with a Nest thermostat. Home Assistant needs to talk to the Nest online API, not to the device itself. Really annoying and unnecessary. I wish I could just pay 50$ more and get a Nest that does let me talk to it locally. Or whatever are they going to earn with my data? I'd probably pay it straight up.


https://iot.mozilla.org -- can easily install the WebThings Gateway on a Raspberry Pi, or in a Docker container, or CLI install to a Linux box. It runs locally in your home. No cloud account, no cloud data center dependency, command and control accessible from the web UI served up by the home gateway. Local voice commands are possible too. My "home smart home" stays in my home. :)


Hubitat seems to be trying to be a SmartThings without the data in the cloud [1]. They seem to have a pretty active community.

[1] https://hubitat.com/


If your device supports opentherm (which is not as open as you might think, btw) you might want to look into OTGW [0]. It probably works with Nest to if the Nest allows to run without internet at all.

[0] http://otgw.tclcode.com/


My central heater is a simple on/off model. Nest will work offline with it but afaik you can't write target temperatures to it then.


To bad, my old heater had opentherm, with the OTGW I could intercept the packets between the heater and thermostat, change values (eg: date/time), issue commands (set room temperature) and add missing functionality (outside temperature for heating curve), it was ideal in every way. But I moved and my current heater has a proprietary protocol over rs485 so its a no-go for the OTGW.


In the EU there are no systems without opentherm by law luckily.

That does mean some systems are not available at all, so "luckily".


I use Venstar thermostats with Home Assistant. They're totally fine, but wifi only I believe. Local API, so no cloud nonsense. I've been running them for about a year with no major problems.


They don't seem to be available in Europe, the thermostat market is surprisingly local, i.e. we also don't have Ecobee here. The Venstars do looks nice indeed.


Hmmm maybe eBay (i got one of mine there)?


I had several Google Home devices, and you could not even boot them up unless you had a phone with an account that was opted into location history, web history, search history, and youtube watch history. Google has completely lost any concept of privacy.


At least for the ecobee, hass can add it as a local homekit device


Yeah I hope ecobee gets to Europe before I get a nest :)


>I really hope they recognize the need that people want to keep their data on their lan. Actually that would be required by the GDPR if they won't let me sign anything. My derived data is my own people, it does not belong to who ever collects it.

GDPR is a joke and easily bypassed because users are overwhemingly dumb and agree to anything without reading. By making it online service dependent they don't have to care, the experience will be horribly degraded without signing in.


Something tells me it won't work with privacy oriented systems like hass.io (https://www.home-assistant.io/hassio), but I'd be happy to be wrong.




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