Today we are going to use the Yonomi app to better integrate Alexa with your smart home hub. The Amazon Echo is probably one of the coolest new smart home tech devices. Today we are going to look at how you can make the Echo even smarter using the Yonomi Skill and the Latest enhancements to the Wink Skill.
In a previous video, which you can find here I showed you how to set up your Echo and connect it to a smart hub, in my case, the Wink Hub.
Until yesterday, you could only use Alexa to turn lights or Echo created light groups on and off. It wasn’t possible to create “Scenes” that would allow you to turn some lights on and others off with a single command. Scenes are a big part of smart homes.
Today, as I just posted on Twitter – all that changed. There are now two ways to control scenes using Echo voice commands.
The first is within the Wink Hub where every connected device in your home is available in the app. And from here, you can control each item individually or as a group. With Groups, you can only turn devices on and off together. You will find this same feature in the Echo.
If you want to create a Scene, in the Wink App you will create a Shortcut. For example, I have a shortcut called leaving home that turns an entire group of lights off, sets my entry light on to 75%, and locks my front door. I have another scene called Movie that turns a bunch of lights off, and turns other lights on to 25%.
As of today, the Echo finally has access to the Shortcuts in the Wink Hub, so now, you can do this with your Echo using voice commands. The wink will allow the Echo to use any shortcut that does not involve locks, alarms or garage door openers.
So let’s take a look at what you can do with your Echo app.
In the Alexa app, you can see that under the smart home option, I have the Wink skill enabled, and through the Wink, you can see that 38 devices are connected to my Echo. This does not include my alarm system, door locks or garage door openers. This is for security reasons that I will get into later.
As we scroll the app, you will see my groups. Now, just like the Wink Hub, Echo groups can only turn an entire group on and off. It can’t mix on and off into a single command.
You will also notice that I have everything named as easily remembered sayings, for example, “My office”. The command is, Alexa, turn my office on – and the lights come on. The other common group command we use is “Alexa, turn on the fountain” to do just that.
As of today, Wink shortcuts are exposed in the Alexa app as devices. As you can see here, I have six shortcuts on my list. And as I said earlier, this means you now use a single voice command to turn some lights on, some lights off and other to a dim level.
But as I said before, Alexa does not have access to my locks. Which is a pain in the ass if I want to have a voice command that locks the house and shuts off all the lights.
To get around this, you can use the Yonomi app. Yonomi is a hubless controller for your smart home, but it also works with smart hubs. It exists as both an app for your smartphone AND a skill for Alexa.
This is powerful!
In the Yonomi app, you can see that all my devices are visible, including my door lock. And over here, you can see a tab called Routine, which is the same as a scene or a shortcut in other hub language.
When we look at my Movie Night routine, you can see that I turn certain lights on to 30%, and a bunch of other lights off. I also have this routine lock the front door, which I could not do with the Wink shortcut inside my Echo. Now, I simply have to say, “Alexa, turn Movie Night On”, and the Alexa – Wink – Yonomi combination does the rest.
I can also use my Leaving Home routine to lock everything up and shut off the lights. “Alexa, turn Leaving Home On.” and the routine does the rest.
Now – you can use the Yonomi function to unlock your door via Alexa. But first let me caution you, this could be a very BAD idea. If you do this poorly, anyone outside the home can yell the unlock command and gain access to your home. “Alexa, turn Unlock Front Door On”.
So, if you are going to do this, which I recommend you don’t, pick something obscure. Like cupcake or smelly feet. Something that will be impossible for a would be intruder to guess.
I would say not to even do this. Your Echo will be a show piece, and you will show it off. You will show all your friends how all you have to do is say, “Alexa, turn gravity on.” and she unlocks the front door. Cool trick, but now everyone knows.
The Yonomi app is available for both iOS and Android and hooks into the Echo pretty easily. It’s a great way to extend the power of Alexa in your smart home.