/ home automation

Bridge your smart home with Google Home (or Alexa)

A long time ago, and as soon as it was commercially available, I purchased an automationbridge. I was so stoked about this product, and it's been a central but silent part om my smart home ever since.

The reason I was so stoked was because at the time my main smart home controller was a Fibaro Home Center 2. Which is a great device, and I highly recommend it if you want a perfect balance of things that just work, but still be able to do things your self (using LUA, which off course isn't optimal, but hey it's better than nothing). But let's face it. Fibaros Google Home integration sucks big time.

Which leads me to the automationbridge. This fancy little device (it's a raspberry pi with custom software on an SD-card glued stuck), bridges your smart home controller with Google Home or Alexa, and lets you easily do anything you can do in your smart home through voice commands (and much much more). It gives you Google Home and Alexa integration the way things should have been done.

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Currently the supported smart home controllers are Fibaro Home Center HC2 & HC3, Fibaro Home Center Lite, Vera Edge/Plus/Secure, HomeSeer, Home Assistant, RTI XP Controllers.

But it can do a lot more. It also has modules for a bunch of third party integrations such as Logitech Harmony Hub, Netamo, Belkin Wemo, Bose SoundTouch, Sonos, LIFX, etc. The list is way to long to show everything here. Just be aware that these additional plugins cost extra, and you purchase them individually. I haven't used any of these, but one of these days I'm going to pull out my Harmony Hub and connect it, and find something smart to use it for.

The automation bridge is super easy to use. You simply plug it in, connect it to your network, and run through a very easy to follow setup. This is a true plug and forget device. The only problem with that is I log on to it about once a year, realize it has a bunch of firmware updates to be installed. I install them, and realize that they have added a bunch of new features that I probably should investigate, but never get around to.

A different, really great feature is the notification feature. This allows you to send audio notifications to one, or all of your google home devices directly from a script on your home automation controller. You can also set up default notifications that trigger based on events from your controller, with a custom message, and custom set of Google Home device targets, directly on your automation bridge. Only your imagination limits this. I've among other things used it to have a voice inform the burglar that the alarm has been triggered, and warn me if the balcony temperature is too high and my plants are going to be unhappy.

But notifications allow you to do more. Based on events you can also trigger sending a message to Pushover, or call any number of custom webhooks. I haven't used these additional notification features, as they were a later addition, and I already have my own custom Pushover and webhook integration I wrote myself running on the Fibaro Home Center 2.

Finally it also has a feature for building panels for use on wall mounted Android tablets or iPads. I haven't tested this feature as I prefer to make my own wall panels running on raspberry pi with my own custom software.

So yeah. If you use Google Home, and have one of the listed smart home controllers I highly recommend investing in one of these devices, as they make life easier and makes your smart home just that much more smarter.

By the way, the Fibaro Home Center 2 is still my main smart home controller, but it now runs in tandem with a Futurehome Hub.