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Home Control Assistant Newsletter for Apr 3 2022

Have you read the Important Announcement posted on August 1, 2021? If you haven't you need to.
Voice control of HCA devices and programs without the HCA Cloud
I’ve written previously about the Hubitat whole home controller as an HCA replacement. While it lacks the ability to directly control many types of devices – it is mostly a z-wave and Zigbee controller – it can work with other protocols via an add-in feature. It also has Alexa and Google Assistant features.

A while back I created a Hubitat add-in so that it can control HCA devices and programs. Today I want to talk about using Hubitat to get a voice interface that doesn’t use the HCA Cloud.


If you review HCA Technical note #700 you will see it isn’t hard to create Hubitat managed “virtual devices” that are dimmable or non-dimmable. These Hubitat virtual devices use a driver to send messages to HCA so they can be controlled. This makes it possible for all the Hubitat facilities to be used with HCA devices like the Hubitat Rules Machine to create automation.

To have Alexa and Hubitat connected, it is a few steps and is well documented on the Hubitat support site:

https://docs.hubitat.com/index.php?title=Amazon_Echo_Skill

If you are a Google Assistant user, there are instructions for that as well
https://docs.hubitat.com/index.php?title=Google_Home

One advantage of this is that there is nothing like the HCA Cloud account so no “subscription” needed. 

Please do note that Alexa wants to interact with one “interface” for each device. So, for example, if you have a voice name “Kitchen Lights” that was known to Alexa as being managed by HCA, you have to remove it and then rediscover if you set it up as a Hubitat managed device with that same name.

To experiment I removed some of my HCA devices from Alexa control and set them up using Hubitat with the same voice names. Voice control worked fine and appears quick and reliable.

If you want more information on Hubitat, it is available direct from them and of course also on Amazon too.
https://hubitat.com/products

https://www.amazon.com/Hubitat-Elevation-Home-Automation-Hub/dp/B07D19VVTX

And Hubitat have a reasonably useful web site (https://hubitat.com/)

Just an idea you may want to give a try. 
If you are using a version of HCA prior to version 17, you may have questions about the wisdom of upgrading to version 17 given the future of HCA. Here is something to consider:

The support policy for older HCA versions has been changed
 as I can no longer devote time to past version users. Support will only be available for HCA 17 users.

If you are on version 16 or earlier and want to continue using the cloud features and want to be assured that if you have a question that it gets answered, it is indeed time to upgrade.

HCA is fully operational for several more years so the update cost, spread out over that time, is very little. Knowing support is available when you need it is worth it.
Upgrade to HCA 17
Anyone who is using Hubitat with HCA – not SmartThings – please drop me a note as I would like to add you to a discussion list for those users. I have some Hubitat ideas that I would like to “kick around” and it would help to have a group of users who have experience with Hubitat. Please just send a note to the regular support address saying you would like to be added to that discussion list.
Copyright © 2022 Advanced Quonset Technology, Inc, All rights reserved.


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