LIFX Developer Zone

Amazon Echo Integration Barely Works

Has anyone had much success using the Amazon Echo to control your lights? I say “Amazon tell Lifx to turn off Bedroom Fan”. Echo: “What light would you like to turn off? Bedroom Fan, Bedroom nightstands, living room…all?”, Me: “Bedroom Fan”. Echo: “What light would you like to turn off? Bedroom Fan, Bedroom nightstands, living room…all?”. Seriously?!? How can you not do that? The only time I get it to work is if i say to turn all lights on or off. If I try to say specific light groups I just get a repeated list of the groups.

Sadly, yes. I have had the exact same amount of luck with the skill. It clearly knows your list, because the randomly selected commands they give you when you open the skill are based off of them. It’s giving Alexa that list to recognize the actual room in the command that seems to fail. My total off the cuff guess is that their intent setup isn’t giving Alexa enough possibilities to make an educated guess. I’ve a got a custom skill to control my lights and since I know all of my room names, I just give each one as a possibility in the intent. When you are dealing with a random set, obviously that gets harder … but I would think if the intent was built out with common room names it would at least be a little more successful.

Again, just a guess.

Unfortunately, the problem stems from Amazon not providing us with the ability to supply their intent engine with possibilities for a particular user. We have supplied them with a sizeable list of possibilities, but this only gets us so far.

We are working on a Connected Home integration which should theoretically work a lot better, but you won’t be able to control colour as their Lighting API currently doesn’t support it. The best part about this method is that there won’t be a need to say ‘Ask LIFX’ anymore!

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Not to sound snarky, but if the list is sizeable why doesn’t it hear room names like “Living Room” or “Study”? What kind of groups are supported?

I just checked the actual list we use and “Living Room” is definitely in the list and was part of our test case, so I’m not sure why it’s not working there. However, the list was smaller than I previously had imagined, but we did do testing with names that weren’t in the list and they worked fine. The Alexa integration knows your lights, and ideally we would be able to send this list to the Alexa API to assist in the speech recognition process, but unfortunately the Alexa API doesn’t allow us to do this.

I just double checked Living Room and it is indeed the only room that seems to respond, I could have sworn it didn’t with my earlier test. But it did power on/off, change brightness and change color without fail when I tried it this morning.

These don’t:

Bed Room
Study
Window
Hall
Bathroom

So I don’t know if that means those are just not on the list or if they’re getting lost in Alexa’s detection. The part I find weird is not when it fails at a full sentence like “Ask LIFX to change the Study to Blue” but when it fails after presenting the list of rooms and asking for the room name. My custom skill can change scenes based on names, and the underlying code does it dynamically by getting the list via API but the interaction model only has a subset of the scene names. I use short phrases and they usually work, although Alexa has some odd quirks like never quite wanting to hear “Forest View” - despite it being in the model. She kept hearing “Forest Dew” or “Forest of You”.

Alexa can be weird sometimes.

“Bedroom” should work (without the space).

Yeah, until Alexa supports the ability for Skills to provide slot choices dynamically, the recognition accuracy won’t be as good.

The good news is that the Connected Home stuff does seem to work a lot better with figuring out which light I meant, so stay tuned for that.

Can you guys take some of the code I used for my skill and integrate it into yours? I like yours because of the native integration, but you guys are missing some of the features that I have, such as dynamic dimming/brightening lights, controlling multiple lights at once (by saying their names, “Alexa tell Life Ex to turn desk and hall off”) without having to specify a preset group, and scenes? The last time I checked you weren’t able to do this, so I’ve since then stuck with mine.
Steal my code please.
github.com/Seechay/LIFX-Alexa-Skill

About how long until you expect to have a Connected Home integration?

We are working on it, but from past experience the time it takes to go live to users will depend on how well the Amazon approval process goes. So I wouldn’t be comfortable giving a date. Suffice to say it is important to us and we are doing everything we can to get it to you.

I’m not going to repeat what was previous said but I too have the same issue and I do appreciate
that it was recognized and you are working on the problem. Thank you very much for your
attention on this. I do want to mention that as a ‘bandaid’ I have trained myself to understand
what combination of phrases work & have written them down so I don’t forget
what to say to get Alexia to light the correct bulb. (Not to mention change color/brightness)
Yes, it is a lot of trial & error & takes some time but if a command phrase finally works
a few time in a row, then I will stick with it. Anyway, I love both products & when they
are finally seamlessly integrated, it will be a most beautiful thing.
Thanks for getting it this far & keep it up.

Is it possible to get this list posted somewhere, sounds like it would benefit us to name our groups these exact names when it makes sense.

Good Idea! Here is the list:

  • all
  • office
  • kitchen
  • lounge
  • lounge room
  • living
  • living room
  • bedroom
  • hallway
  • my room

Some things outside this list work, if Alexa hears the name really clearly.

We are still working on the Connected Home integration. I don’t have an ETA yet, but it is progressing. Our testing shows that the Connected Home integration works much better. :smiley:

Do you expect to have Connected Home integration within days? Weeks? Months? I understand you don’t have an ETA but a scale of how long you think it’ll be until it is available would be great!

My bulbs arrive today (and my Amazon Echo has been up and running for a week) and I am capable of waiting patiently for proper Connected Home integration but not forever! : ) I love how effortless my WeMo Outlet works (just say… Alexa, turn on the Living Room light… and that’s it) and controlling the LIFX bulbs via the current (clunky) approach will be annoying.

We are working closely with Amazon to make sure that the integration is as good as we can make it. We expect it to be released early next year. I’ll update this thread as we get closer to release.

I’m just as impatient as you guys. My Echo controls my Wemo better than my LIFX lights, and its just so frustrating.

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Cool. I can wait a month or so. Longer and I’ll be considering switching over to the other guys (which, really, I’d prefer to avoid).

I’ve got a little Python script that simulates a Philip bridge that the Echo sees nicely. This is always an option if you want to run it up on a RPi (I’m going to package mine up and put it on an Ubiquiti edgerouter)

…I know it’s about as “early” in the year it could possible be but are there any updates on this? Thanks!

Its still in progress and getting closer. I don’t know when it will be complete, but as soon as it passes Amazon’s certification we will be setting it live. We don’t want anyone to wait longer than they have to.

Can you guys post the updated list of groups that Echo will know here after it’s updated?