Amazon Echo- worth it? Or something else

Hi Guys,

Have had a quick look around and Amazon Echo seems to be quite popular choice for voice control… Is it worth getting? Whats the current user experience like?

Are there other alternatives that you can recommend?

Echo not currently available in Australia but I am seriously considering investing in one!


Absolutely - run up the ha-bridge and you can use the Echo to control anything that openHAB has access to. We use it for turning the TV on and off, firing up the coffee machine, turning lighting scenes on/off, etc etc. All pretty easy to setup and the voice recognition on the Echo is like nothing I have ever experienced. Even with my Kiwi accent!

Just keep in mind the privacy aspects of Amazon Echo. Anything you ask will be run through their harvesting data farm.

You could wait for a less privacy invasive alternative. I suspect Apple will join in the coming months.

The whole family loves ours even though most of the stuff doesn’t work here in NZ. But the voice recognition from across the room is pretty amazing.

We don’t use it very much for music so if I could do it again i would buy the smaller version. It still has a speaker just not as big…

thanks for the comments guys. Agree there will be a few players in the same market position soon with Google making announcement of Google home and appears Apple will release a solution soon.

Couple more questions… is it compatible with OH 1.8 and can you use Echo as a TTS service?

Yes and no :slight_smile:

Hi Sam, I’m using the Echo in Australia and am pretty happy with it. When used with the HA-bridge your experience will be the most satisfying (not saying “ask openhab to”)
I was using it successfully with OH1.8 and am currently using it with OH2.

There is only one way i know of using it as a TTS service and it is very “hackey”. It involves using a pi or arduino to activate the button on the remote and speak a “Simon says” command to the remotes microphone through a speaker placed right next to it. It’s not very elegant and for me not worth the trouble. Plus you also need to have the Alexa remote, which I don’t have. But there is a video of it on youtube somewhere if you do a bit of a search.

Cheers, Liam

I have an Android tablet connected to the Echo via Bluetooth and it announces OpenHab notifications via an app called Out Loud.

thanks for the replies guys, it’s really helpful to get other peoples opinions… I’m still in 2 minds about getting a Echo. I will continue to build my system and see where that takes me before going down the echo path even though it’s very tempting!!

Another Aussie here… Yeah im getting tempted to get an Echo …actually I think id prefer the “dot”.

But it seems you need to be an existing Echo owner to buy a Dot…so that kinda sux…

Also curious about multiple users…ie: How to handle “Alexa - whats on my schedule today?” from my wife or myself…or kids.
I’ve done a bit of research and seems you can “Switch Profile” …but it would be super cool if it recognised the user and answered accordingly. …in time I guess!
Oh and does each user/profile need to be an Amazon “Prime” subscriber?

Perhaps ill continue to sit and watch and see what Google’s device can do…

All - in case you haven’t seen a few mobile apps have been released which mimic the Amazon Echo:

Android - Alexa Listens
IOS - Lexi

With Alexa Listens, I was able to get both Alexa HA and our forthcoming official OpenHAB Smart Home skill to work with it right out of the box! Eeexcellent :slight_smile:

Best regards,