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Thread: Wanted: beta testers for new visual/custom Alexa skill 'EvoControl'

  1. #1
    Automated Home Guru philchillbill's Avatar
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    Default Wanted: beta testers for new visual/custom Alexa skill 'EvoControl'

    I've created a new Alexa skill for controlling Evohome that's now ready for beta testing. Being a custom skill, it does a lot that the standard Honeywell skill cannot do. For starters, it turns your Echo Show into a display/controller with a full-HD capacitive touchscreen:

    bg-showcase-1.jpg

    it also adds support for multiple saved schedules to Evohome, in that the skill stores up to 3 complete JSON schedules (ABC) in its back-end for upload to TCC at will. Whether for summer/winter, if you're a shift-worker with days/nights schemes, or you just want a different schedule for when it's sunny and you want to save energy by using natural heat...

    bg-showcase-2.jpg

    You can also make non-immediate setpoint changes by editing the schedule for later today by voice:

    bg-showcase-3.jpg

    It's all demoed in the video at



    Some example commands:

    Set the system mode to Auto
    Set the heating mode to Economy until 9 PM
    Set the system to Boost for 30 minutes
    Set the heating mode to Away, ending March 5th
    Set the system mode to Day-Off for 2 days
    Set the heating mode to Custom
    Set the heating to Frost Protection (i.e. Off)
    Reset the system mode (cancels all overrides)
    What's the system mode?

    Set the Bathroom to 20.5
    Make it 19 (in the default zone)
    Make it 20 in the Livingroom and Kitchen
    Set the Studio to 18 until 2 PM
    Set the Guestroom to 22 for 40 minutes
    Set the Garage to 10 permanently
    Set the Bedroom to follow-schedule
    Raise the Bathroom by 1 for an hour
    Lower the Livingroom by 0.5
    Reduce the whole house by 1 for half an hour
    Raise all zones by 1 until 11 PM
    Cancel the Bathroom override

    What's the Livingroom temperature?
    Tell me the Kitchen setpoint
    What's the average temperature?
    What's the coldest room?
    What's the warmest zone?
    What's the heat-demand?
    What's the Bedroom climate? (setpoint/actual/mode)
    Give me a system summary (heat-demand/coldest/warmest/average)
    Show today's roster (next-switchpoint summary for all zones)
    What's next for the Bathroom?

    Show the Bathroom schedule (displays a full week in one overview)
    Make it 19 at 4 PM (adds a switchpoint)
    Make it 18 at 5 PM for 45 mins (adds 2 switchpoints)
    Make it 17 at 8 PM until 21:30 (adds 2 switchpoints)
    Undo (most recent schedule-change)
    Upload schedule A in the Kitchen
    Restore schedule B in the Livingroom, Bathroom and Bedroom
    Go back to schedule C everywhere

    The default zone is the 'Bathroom' (each Echo can have its own default)
    Help (lists all commands on your Echo Show's screen)
    Go Back
    Say that Again
    Cancel
    What's new?

    For any commands where you don't specify an until-time explicitly, the next scheduled switchpoint is automatically used as fallback. When you add switchpoints to today's schedule by voice, the total number of switchpoints for a zone will never exceed the maximum allowed (6). If necessary, existing switchpoints are intelligently removed to make space as needed. You can revert to your normal weekly schedule by using the 'Restore' command. EvoControl also has a settings screen so that you can customize what's shown on the main Dashboard view.

    If you're interested in signing up for a beta test, drop an email (with your Amazon/Alexa account-email details) to philchillbill@gmail.com. This is going to be a paid skill with a small annual fee to pay for the back-end/hosting but the beta (for up to 500 participants) is free. Also, be warned you'll really need at least one Echo Show device to get the most out of EvoControl. It's way more than just voice control and it really needs a display to make the most of it. It's only available in English for now but I may write voice models for other languages if interest is sufficient.

    There's now a website for EvoControl at https://smartskills.tech/evocontrol

    See post #17 in this thread for an announcement of support for Scenes/Activities !
    Last edited by philchillbill; 26th March 2022 at 05:37 PM. Reason: Added scenes/activities mention

  2. #2
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    That looks and sounds brilliant, I have always wondered why Honeywell never expanded their skill to allow set for time etc.

    Email sent.

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    and me - email sent.

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    I assume the existing controller is set to a Quick Action 'Off'?

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    Sounds as if it would be more useful than the current skill, which I found of very limited use.

    email sent.

  6. #6
    Automated Home Guru philchillbill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisgare View Post
    I assume the existing controller is set to a Quick Action 'Off'?
    Not sure what you mean by this? EvoControl is a custom skill and the existing Honeywell skill is a smart-home skill. They peacefully co-exist and have nothing to do with each other. There's no need to disable the regular skill to use this because there's no conflict.

    If there's demand then I can merge smart-home functionality into EvoControl (I have it anyway at home) so a single skill would do it all, but at this stage it's a little too early. I also have other cool stuff already working, like interacting with Evohome through the HGI-80 (if you have one connected to Domoticz) and also a linking to Google Calendar so you can play around with Evohome schedules in GC. I use it so that if any appointment in my calendar has the word 'Telco' in it, the Office is automatically set to 20 deg 15 mins beforehand. Very handy, since I also manage GC itself with Alexa. But that's all out of scope for this initial beta. It is, however, proof that there's life in the old Evohome girl yet, even if Honeywell doesn't give her much love any more.

    The first beta invites are out so if anybody who requested one did not yet get an invite email from Amazon, let me know.
    Last edited by philchillbill; 11th March 2022 at 02:53 PM.

  7. #7
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    Had a good look at the website and video.
    Looks excellent and very useful. Much better than the Honeywell skill which is very limited.
    I don't have an Echo show so not able to take full advantage of the skill but will be watching your progress with great interest.
    John

  8. #8
    Automated Home Guru philchillbill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by digital View Post
    Had a good look at the website and video.
    Looks excellent and very useful. Much better than the Honeywell skill which is very limited.
    I don't have an Echo show so not able to take full advantage of the skill but will be watching your progress with great interest.
    John
    Well the display is really only needed when you are using the extra-schedules features. If all you want is to change setpoints while specifying either until-times or durations, you'll still have that above the standard skill's functionality. If you want to try the beta and maybe provide feedback from the perspective of somebody without a display, that may be useful to have. Just email me if you want to participate.

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    Just signed up. Looks great.

    When the app is on the screen, the Back button on the Left top doesn't seem to do anything.

    No HW?

  10. #10
    Automated Home Guru philchillbill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bruce_miranda View Post
    Just signed up. Looks great.

    When the app is on the screen, the Back button on the Left top doesn't seem to do anything.

    No HW?
    That's due to an Alexa bug. I'm supposed to be able to determine what event is sent when the back button is pressed, but it's always 'goBack' even when I specify otherwise. There's no screen to go 'back' to from the Dashboard as it's already the top level but I had intended that when you press back when on that screen it would forced refresh from TCC immediately instead of waiting on the 30 sec poll. Just as an extra reassurance when you've changed something that TCC processed it.

    I reported a bug to Amazon and they may fix it in which case I'll leave the back button. If they don't then I'll just remove it from the Dashboard but leave it there for the other screens because it does work on those to take you back to the dashboard.

    Did you happen to play with the settings cog on the top right?

    p.s. I presume you mean that the back button does not work on the main Dashboard but does work on e.g. the settings or schedule screens? Or do you mean it works nowhere for you?
    Last edited by philchillbill; 13th March 2022 at 08:00 PM.

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