Home Control Assistant Newsletter for December 27

Have you looked over the version 17 release notes? Lots of changes that you can incorporate into your designs right away. Easy upgrade.

Looking for answers to the most common questions about HCA? Check out our
Frequently Asked Questions page.

New HCA Action for Google
A few weeks back I wrote about the process of “continuous improvement” and changes that we make in HCA even if they don’t directly add new function. If you use Google Assistant as your voice interface to HCA, this last week a new HCA “Works with Google” interface was released for use that offers some of those improvements.

Up until now, when you wanted to connect Google Assistant to HCA you added the connection – called an “Action” in Google-ese – not named HCA but “Voice UPB Bridge” – one of our company’s other products. This wasn’t really an issue because both products control HCA, but it was a bit odd I agree. Anyway, we now have officially released the “Works with Google HCA Action”. In one way this is just a name change but there were reasons beyond that.

One nice feature of the way Google manages devices is the method it uses to keep track of device state. Unlike other voice assistants, Google expects those devices to report changes to their state when they are controlled by means other then speaking to Google.

In the Google Home application you can view all the devices, control them, and view their current state. With the new HCA Action, the state reporting mechanism works better than previously. Also, the responses to commands – spoken and by the app – should appear faster.

In addition to these immediate changes, when the next point version of HCA is released – expected directly after the New year – additional state reporting pathways will be in place for even greater improvement.

Are these changes “major”? No, I wouldn’t say so. But slowly, piece-by-piece all these automation facilities improve. If you are an HCA and Google Assistant user – and you probably are by reading this – you may want to consider unlinking the “UPB Voice Bridge” Action and then relinking to the new HCA Action. The updated technical note has unlinking and linking instructions.

In the same way, did you note that Alexa is continuing to evolve into a more complete automation controller in that they support some simple scheduling? Worth checking out.

In 2021 I expect this trend to continue with Alexa and Google Assistant becoming more like central controllers.
This is the last weekly message for 2020. See you in 2021 for more “tips, tricks, and philosophy”. 

Stay safe.

(If you want to know what's up with the picture at the top here is a link. Here at HCA Central we just like the symbolism and tasty too. Kanpai!)

User-to-User forum

An HCA User who wanted to set up a forum for user-to-user communication. I'm passing this on, but please know that this is not a HCA company project and I will not be spending much time there so I don't know how this will work out. Here is a link to what he set up.

Want to take the next step in automation? Want to get started with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant and control HCA by voice commands? Even if you are a long-time user of HCA, the Getting Started guides have all the info you need on client-server, mobile applications, DDNS, and voice assistants.

All of the
Getting Started Guides are available on the support website.
Copyright © 2020 Advanced Quonset Technology, Inc, All rights reserved.

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