Who's interested in beta testing my Amazon Alexa / APEX skill?

Discussion in 'Reef Aquarium Discussion' started by Joe Carioti, Dec 7, 2017.

  1. Joe Carioti

    Joe Carioti Active Member

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    Hey everyone. I've been working on an Alexa skill that allows you to use voice commands to control outlets on your APEX controller. I think the app is ready for some real world testing, so I'll need some daring participants to test it out.

    Here are a few live demos from my last build:
    https://www.instagram.com/p/BX0OOv5lJzP/?taken-by=nullreef
    https://www.instagram.com/p/BX0N2WEFESY/?taken-by=nullreef

    For anyone that's interested in testing this skill, I only ask that you report back any bugs, comments, or concerns that you have with the app. I will have to add testers on a per-person basis, and all that's required is an active email address.

    Let me know if you're interested!
     
    JaCkYl321, tupes, Tuffyyyyy and 6 others like this.
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  2. Joe Carioti

    Joe Carioti Active Member

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    Here is the currently supported commands list:

    Toggle power to your return pump:
    "Alexa, tell my reef to start up"
    "Alexa, tell my reef to shut down"

    Toggle any outlets:
    "Alexa, tell my reef to switch off the *LED Light*."
    "Alexa, tell my reef to switch on the *Reactor Pump*."
    "Alexa, reset the *Calcium Reactor*."

    * Outlet names are based on your personal APEX configuration.

    Toggle water current:
    "Alexa, tell my reef to stop the current"
    "Alexa, tell my reef to reset the current"
    "Alexa, tell my reef to start the current"

    Feed:
    "Alexa, tell my reef I'm ready to feed"

    Log and read test results:
    "Alexa, ask my reef for the latest alkalinity trend"
    "Alexa, tell my reef that the calcium is 420 parts per million"


    More commands will be added in the future including the ability to read and log test results and get test trends (these commands are currently still being optimized to be more consistent).
     
  3. andyg1960

    andyg1960 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2018 Build Thread Contributor

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    Im interested. Im a new Apex user, and an old Alexa user...
     
  4. coil1002

    coil1002 Active Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    Would love too have an echo in every room of my house.
     
  5. Joe Carioti

    Joe Carioti Active Member

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    Awesome! Just send me a pm with the email address you'd like to use and then be on the lookout for an email from Alexa Skills Kit.

    Once you're in the Alexa app, it will bring you to the APEX connection screen:
    [​IMG]

    Select your return pump, skimmer, and powerheads so the commands know which devices to control. Be careful! Make sure you have extra safety precautions programmed into the APEX itself. (If you need to turn your skimmer along with the return pump, you can add both devices under the "return pump" section.) Of course let me know if you have any issues.
     
  6. kamike91

    kamike91 Active Member

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    I'd like to try it out. I'll buy Alexa just for it.
     
    radiata likes this.
  7. Joe Carioti

    Joe Carioti Active Member

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    Let me know when you have one and I'll get you hooked up.
     
  8. GK3

    GK3 Active Member R2R Supporter

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    A) impressive
    B) I can’t believe Neptune didn’t do this a while ago
    C) really glad someone finally did this.
    D) this is really cool, way to go.
     
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  9. Joe Carioti

    Joe Carioti Active Member

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    Thanks! It's pretty useful when you're elbow deep in a water change you want to turn off the wavemakers as the water level drops, or if your skimmer starts overflowing and you don't have your APEX app handy.
     
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  10. Daltrey

    Daltrey Valuable Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Interested, I use Alexa with smarthings to control my lights, door locks and thermostat already.

    Screenshot_20171113-133729.jpg

    My apex

    Screenshot_20171113-203758.jpg

    Screenshot_20171113-203813.jpg
     
  11. Joe Carioti

    Joe Carioti Active Member

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    My SmartThings system is what gave me the idea to integrate with APEX. I realized that our APEX controllers are basically little Internet of Things hubs just like the SmartThings hub.

    Please post here if you guys have any questions or feedback.
     
  12. kamike91

    kamike91 Active Member

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    Also.. I'm not familiar with Alexa, is there any user lock for voice command? I don't want my little kids walking around saying "Alexa turn my reef off". Lol.
     
  13. Joe Carioti

    Joe Carioti Active Member

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    I believe there are voice profiles so it will recognize different people, but I'm not sure if they have any child lock features or anything.
     
  14. kamike91

    kamike91 Active Member

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    Oh ok. I'll just unplug it when I'm not working on the tank. I'll order it tonight, any specific model?
     
  15. zeroc0o0l

    zeroc0o0l Member

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    Got it hooked up and working - pretty cool. Was able to control return, skimmer and wave makers. How do I enable the rest of hardware plugged into the Apex ? Any logs to look at while this is going on ? How are you talking to the Apex l, via the API ?
     
  16. Joe Carioti

    Joe Carioti Active Member

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    All of your outlets (virtual and hardware outlets) are controllable by saying "Alexa, tell my reef to switch (off/on) the (outlet name)" or "Alexa, tell my reef to reset the (outlet name)" to set the outlet to "AUTO" mode.

    The setup process adds a new authorized user (named "alexavoice") to the APEX that you linked during setup. When you ask your Alexa to perform a command, my system logs in with the "alexavoice" user and sends a request to change your outlet state through APEX Fusion's API. If at any point you want to stop using the skill, all you have to do is "Unlink" the skill in the Alexa app. As an extra precaution, you can also remove the "alexavoice" user from the authorized user list of your APEX if you don't plan on using the integration any longer.
     
  17. zeroc0o0l

    zeroc0o0l Member

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    Ok this is awesome!! Everything is working as expected, now where does one find the API documentation? Or did you spend some quality time with curl / postman using GET + POST ?
     
  18. Joe Carioti

    Joe Carioti Active Member

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    Glad to hear that! I don't think they've made their documentation public. The network monitor in Chrome dev tools were extremely helpful along with Postman.
     
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  19. zeroc0o0l

    zeroc0o0l Member

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    Thanks again - no more excuses I need to start building my own skills!
     
    Joe Carioti likes this.
  20. Joe Carioti

    Joe Carioti Active Member

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    Let me know if you want any help or have any questions if you do :)
     
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