Difference between Hue Emulator binding & new Openhab Alexa Smart home skill

I just updated my OpenHAB2 for the new my.openhab service. It mentions a new a new OpenHAB Alexa smart home skill is coming when amazon.com publishes it. I currently use the Hue Emulator binding. I am able to tell Alexa to turn off, on or dim any light in my home. What exactly will the new skill do that the Hue Emulator isn’t already doing?

Good question, i just went through this decision myself. The alaxa’s ability to control the actual philips hue device is rather limited. The hue supports color change bulbs, but alexa does not know how to “set the kitchen bulb to purple” for example. Even though the philips hue is quite capable of changing the bulb to purple via the smartphone app.

So the hue emulator is also limited to a small subset of commands, like on/off and dimming. Which is enough for most z wave switches and such.

I went with Alexa-HA so i can customize and teach Alexa any command i want:

Alexa-Ha sounds similar to the my.openhab app that you mentioned, where it is extensible to any command you want.

openhab-alexa is a smart home skill, which can do more than the hue emulation (e.g. it supports thermostats as well), but it still is constraint to a vocabulary defined by Amazon.
alexa-ha seems to be a custom still (which requires something like “Alexa, tell openHAB…”) - this is something I would love to see integrated in myopenHAB as well.


Sorry for maybe hijacking this thread a little bit.

Is there anyone around who can answer if any of the existing solutions (Hue emulator, unityfire/alexa-ha) or the upcoming openhab-alexa skill is able to act in german language?

My four years old daughter isn’t yet skilled enough to talk to Alexa in english. :wink:

Thanks for clearing this up for me. I can’t wait to try out the new openhab-alexa smart home skill.

Yes this works pretty good with the Hue Emulation.
You can say “Alexa, schalte das Licht ein / aus”, if you have an item labeled “Licht”.

I use a virtual switch item which fires a rule that opens / closes all my roller shutters. It is a bit weird to say “Alexa, schalte die Rolläden ein”, but it works. As i found out it is also possible to say “Alexa, schalte die Rolläden”. This always turns the switch on but not off. But if you implement an own toggle mechanism rule this would work.

You could use the new “expire” binding to turn it off, instead of creating a rule. You would just have to add something like this to the switch in the items file: { expire=“10s,command=OFF” }

Does anyone know if this is still being evaluated? How long I wonder until the alexa home skill is available? Using IFTTT now and it just doesn’t seem very natural and there are multiple points of failure.

Kai wrote in another thread that it is still under review from Amazon. Since two months now…

I think OFF should be used to order the blinds up, otherwise you are just able to drive them down.
In your case this would mean, after 10s open the blinds again :wink:

yes, the openhab-alexa skill is already able to act in german language.
as it’s using the amazon smarthome API

my kids are already using it like

"Alexa, schalte xxx ein/aus"
"Alexa, fahre Rolladen hoch/runter"
"Alexa, stelle Rolladen auf 50%"