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Voice Control Introduction

1. TELETASK VOICESOFT


Voice commands like “dim the living room main light to 40 percent”, can be given to voice assistants like Alexa and Google home. To make your customers voice assistant work with your TELETASK system, some actions must be taken:

  1. Configure and connect your voice assistant and test if the basic recognition works (e.g. “Alexa, what is the outdoor temperature in Paris”)
  2. Configure the functions and their recognition words in PROSOFT- VOICESOFT (e.g. to control the living room main light, connect the recognition text ‘living room main light’ with the specific dimmer output.
  3. Connect the voice assistant with the TELETASK voice functions.

1.1. Which functions can be controlled with an Alexa//Google voice assistant?

1.1.1. General

First, we recommend to only use Amazon Alexa assistant(s) or Google Home assistants and not to mix them. This is mainly because the devices react on the
same items in a different way, so what you say should be different depending on the used device. For a light it is still OK, but if you have also devices, moods, temperature control… it may become very confusing to use different assistant brands.

Most important home automation voice controls are the control of lights, motors and temperatures. See detailed overview for each voice assistant what it supports and what not. In general, you can solve items which are not supported by using MOODs. In a MOOD you can put any function you like.
In PROSOFT we wanted to have a universal configuration independent of the difference in features available from Amazon Alexa, and Google Home voice assistants. Today, Alexa doesn’t support the control of motors, so we don’t support this in PROSOFT either. We think this is not an everlasting issue, because Alexa and Google Home both support the necessary up/down words to control a curtain, shutter or sun blind. So, it is a matter of time before TELETASK also supports motors on both assistants. For a good workaround see below.

In order to control multiple light circuits with only one control, you can group them in a LOCAL MOOD. We recommend to give this MOOD the Icon ‘lights’ so your assistant will understand that this mood is to be considered a light and you can control it accordingly.

Example of a group of lights:
In the dining room there is a LOCAL MOOD to dim some lights.
Important here is to use the Icon ‘Light’ for it, so your voice assistant will be able to control it like a single light.

VoiceControl Intro (1)

Important general notice: We advise you never to use the voice recognition name “lights” but “light’. If you say ‘….’ (e.g. ‘living room lights’) the assistant will start looking for multiple light circuits and switch ON/OFF all lights in the house.

1.1.2. Specifics for Alexa

Supported functions:
-Lights: on/off/dim (to x%)
-Moods: on/off (can contain everything you like)
-Basic temperature control: zone ON/OFF, set zone temperature to x °C
Remark: mode (cool/heat) and fan speed are not supported by voice control.
-Motors
Problem: Alexa doesn’t support motors
Solution: you can put motor(s) in a mood and control the mood
Disadvantage: you must control the motors ‘on’ and ‘off’ instead of up/down or left/right
A solution is expected to come.

1.1.3. Specific For Google Home

Supported functions:
-Lights: on/off/dim (to x%)
-Moods: on/off (can contain everything you like)
-Basic temperature control: zone ON/OFF, set zone temperature to x° C
Remark: mode (cool/heat) and fan speed are not supported by voice control.
-Motors
Problem: Alexa doesn’t support motors, and on Google Home we don’t support these either (see above). But we are working on it and will add it asap.
Solution: you can put motor(s) in a mood and control the mood
Disadvantage: you must control the motors ‘on’ and ‘off’ instead of up/down or left/right

2. Setting Up Your Voice Aassistant


Below, you can find the (short and detailed) different configuration steps to take to use Alexa/Google assistant voice control on a TELETASK DoIP home automation system.
Before you start:

  • The central unit(s) which you want to use for voice control, must be TTcloud connected. If not, do so before you proceed.
  • Be sure that the Amazon Alexa /Google Home service and your desired language for your voice device is offered in your country/area. If not, you can’t use the TELETASK voice control either.
  • Buy the VOICE CONTROL subscription on the TTecomm platform (www.teletask.be – TTecomm). You can login with your System Integrator TTcloud username and password. For first time users of TTecomm, the platform will ask you to complete your account information (for invoicing), including your credit card information.
Remark: the subscription fee will be taken from this (your) card, including the yearly renewal fee in the future. As SI you are supposed to invoice this charge to you customer end-user (including your service costs if applicable). Your company information and Credit card information is needed to check your identity/country of origin and give you access.
  • If a customer (end-user) has more locations (homes/buildings/apartments) with TDS, you will need to make a separated Alexa/Google account for each installation. This means that you will need to have as many different customer e-mail addresses as there are installations. For example, if your customer (the end-user) has a home and a weekend house which are both equipped with a TDS installation, he will need two different e-mail addresses connected with two different TTcloud user accounts.

Example:
Home: end-user e-mail address is home.johndoe at gmail.com
Weekend-home: end-user e-mail address is weekend.johndoe at gmail.com
This is the only way for Alexa/Google to distinguish these two (or more) installations from each other.
Some general recommendations and remarks:

  • Use the word ‘light’ instead of ‘lights’ in your PROSOFT- definition. Your voice device will recognize ‘light’ as a single control while the word ‘lights’ can be interpreted by your voice assistant as multiple light circuits. So, if you avoid the word ‘lights’ in your individual control this may increase the recognition quality.
  • If you use the sentence ‘switch-on all lights in the living room’, the voice assistant device will not have a defined outcome (as we experienced in Autumn 2019). You can use ‘switch-on all lights’ but then all lights in your home, which are enabled for voice control, will be on. So, this function is rarely useful. Except for example maybe in a loft application (one large area). It is better to use a ‘mood’ function with multiple circuits in it instead and call for that mood to be on or off.

Remark: Google and Amazon make their speech recognition (AI) engines better every day, so we hope some limitations may disappear in the future. Anyhow this is not depending on TELETASK VOICESOFT because the recognition engine is Google/Amazon owned.



3. PROSOFT – VOICESOFT Configuration


After having made your TDS system operational, you can now configure voice control in VOICESOFT.

VoiceControl Intro (2)
Now you can see all rooms and in every room you can see which functions are available for voice control. Be aware that not all functions may be supported (yet).
Also keep in mind that a house in which too many functions are controlled by voice may not be very user friendly anymore. Finally, as natural language speaking is not yet as intelligent as a human being, it may become too complex to memorize all functions. You may be better off by limiting the voice control to what is really needed. It is important to know who is to control this environment by voice. You, the people living in the house or apartment, the whole family, even visitors and employees, … The more people who are supposed to use voice control the less functions you should configure.

IMPORTANT REMARKS and POSSIBLE DANGERS !!!

VoiceControl Intro (4)
Be aware that with voice you can control equipment which is connected to a switched or dimmed wall socket. If this can generate any danger in your situation, never configure such voice controls.
Example: swimming pool curtains, kitchen equipment which may overheat, cook and boil… and generate safety risks.
This is also particularly important if you can give voice commands from other rooms than the one where the equipment is installed (or connected via a wall socket). Wall sockets can be provided for an uplighter, but somebody may have plugged in other equipment! Especially high-power heating equipment like irons, room heaters, heat radiation equipment any type, cooking and frying equipment, toasters, coffee machines, etc…. are to be avoided being controlled by voice.

Voice can also go through windows and walls. Therefore, it is better not to control doors, motorized windows (on ground level), gates, outdoor wall sockets, etc…
That is also the reason why TELETASK only allows professional Electrical installers and System Integrators to do PROSOFT and VOICESOFT configuration.

Assuming that the voice assistants can understand something different than what is said, you may generate actions which you don’t expect. So, consider it as necessary that any voice-controlled function in any situation should not generate any danger. If not possible, you absolutely need to delete that (these) function(s) from the voice control list (in VOICESOFT).
Example: You say ‘Alexa switch off the main light in the kitchen”, but Alexa misunderstood and thinks you said ‘Alexa switch off (or on) all devices”. There is no doubt that such mistakes may happen from time to time! So please consider your configuration very carefully.

Example: Someone may step down the stairs in the dark, while somebody else switches off all lights because the voice assistant misunderstood. The TELETASK system will not be able to avoid that such unwanted function is activated and generates a danger.

3.1. Configurating The Recognition Text (words)

Open your .nbt file and click the VOICESOFT button on the left of the PROSOFT screen.

VoiceControl Intro (5)
In the ‘Rooms’ column you select the room and at the right you can see the Items which may be controlled by voice. You mark every function you want to control and adjust the ‘Voice friendly name’ text in the far right column.
Keep in mind that moods which control lights should have been configured in PROSOFT with the ‘Light’ Icon. We also recommend not to use the word ‘lights’ but only use the word ‘light’ to avoid that your assistant is confused by the plural and starts looking for more lights to control.
When you have finished, don’t forget to Transmit your .nbt to your central unit.

4. Configuring your Voice Assistant

In general:
1. Connect your TDS system to the TTcloud
2. Configure in PROSOFT/VOICESOFT all voice commands and transmit to your central unit.
3. Buy the VOICE CONTOL subscription on TTecomm
4. Install the voice application on your mobile device (e.g. smart phone)
5. Add the TELETASK service and link with your TTcloud account.

Detailed:
Configuration of Amazon Alexa Voice Control

Configuration of Google Home Voice Control

5. Some more tips & tricks after you installed Alexa/Google HOME


5.1. General tips & tricks (valid for both assistants):

Backups: Your .nbt file is valuable because a lot of labor has been done to generate it. Therefore, always make a backup copy on a durable drive (for example Dropbox, in iCloud, Google Drive, an external HDD which is put in a safe or other place).

5.2. Specific tips & tricks for Amazon Alexa

Amazon may have broken the Alexa- TELETASK link if you don't use Amazon Alexa for a long time. In this case, your voice control will not work anymore, and you may get a ‘server error’ on your Alexa app. You can reactivate the link by a reset. Just disable/enable the link and the TELETASK Home Automation skill will work again.
How can you do this:

  1. Open the Alexa app on your mobile device.
  2. Select in the main menu (upper left corner) “Skills & Games”
  3. Your skills
  4. select ‘TELETASK Home Automation’
  5. click ‘TELETASK Home Automation’
  6. click the large blue button ‘Settings’
  7. click the large grey button ‘disable skill’

Now the voice control is disabled and you can enable it again:

  1. Click the large blue bottom ‘Enable to use’
  2. the Alexa app will ask you to log-in: log-in with your TTcloud (owner- or user-) account. If you are a professional TELETASK System Integrator, use you professional account login.

Alexa will now do an automatic discover, but if not you can do ‘Discover’ in the Add devices/Other menu). This process will take about 45 seconds.
Now you should again be able to control the devices and moods (with voice and in your Alexa app).

5.3. Specific tips & tricks for Google Home

Using MOODs with Google Home: If you experience problems with the control of ‘moods’, you may use the following clarifications:

1. If you made a mood ‘TV’ and you want to activate it by ‘Hey Google, TV MOOD’, there will be no result. It is necessary to say, ‘Hey Google, switch TV MOOD ON’.

2. In the Google Home app, you can’t see your VOICESOFT configured MOODs in the main app screen. But you can find these somewhere else if you like.
Where can you see your Google Home functions and moods:
- From the main screen in your Google app go to the Account icon (below) at the bottom right corner or your initials/photo at the top right corner (depending on the app version/language). VoiceControl Intro (8)
- In the next screen click “Settings” (or “Settings for Assistant”), then you get a screen like the one below:
VoiceControl Intro (6)
Click ‘Assistant’, and then you’ll get the screen below:

VoiceControl Intro (7)

Select Home control- Manage the devices in your home

Then you’ll get a list with all devices including the scenes.
There, you can now add them to a room.

3. Another remark: it is important to use the name of the device (e.g. “light”) in every command.
Example: If you say, ‘Hey Google switch-off’ living room (without any device word), Google will try to switch off all devices in that room. This may be a very useful or annoying function because it will switch-off all voice controlled lights, and moods but also lower the temperature settings to ‘night’ preset (if this is also incorporated as a voice controlled device in VOICESOFT). Your Google assistant will answer for example ‘OK, I switched-off 7 items’
To only control the living room lights, you should say ‘Hey Google switch-off the living room lights’. Google will answer (for example) OK, I switched-off 3 lights. The word ‘lights’ means light circuits, so it may be more than 3 lamps.
Remark: If you also say in between ‘…in the…’ , it will depend on the status of the natural language AI engine if it will work or not. Assistants get smarter by the day.



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