Home Control Assistant Newsletter for Jan 8 2023

Have you read the Important Announcement posted on August 1, 2021? If you haven't you need to.
Adding Alexa into the HCA - Hubitat mix

There are two new technical notes available today that at first glance may not look useful to you. But I highly recommend that you give them both a look as they show general methods that you may not have seen before. Even if the problems they are used to solve aren’t applicable to your automation solution, in the future you may have a similar problem to solve.

Blink Cameras
An HCA user wanted to have HCA receive motion reports from these cameras as well as be able to Arm and Disarm the system. To get this to happen required that HCA, Hubitat, and Alexa work together. How that was done is the important bit. If you are not into Blink cameras, then you may want to first look at the “some additional ideas” section near the end before you dive in at the start.

As an aside: I continue to be stunned at the whole Alexa “routine” user interface. Hard to use. Must be done from the “app” and not from the – now limited – Alexa browser interface. Just so many pages, so many “tap here”, so many “done” or “save” buttons – or places that lack either of those. Really just hard to use. Again, I am confronted with the fact that all these products are oriented at “control” rather than “automation”. With “automation” just tacked on. But it’s the world we live in.

Technical note #709
ZWave Keypads
I covered this in a weekly message a while back but expanded it a bit and changed it to a technical note. The key methods used in interfacing to Hubitat managed ZWave keypads are tags and tag-change triggers. Really useful stuff to understand because much of the HCA to Hubitat communication for data happens using tags.

Technical note #710
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.
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