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Problems with IFTTT and Smart Home? Are you finding you are troubleshooting and having problems with your Echo? If you have Smarthings, Nest, Vera, Nexia, Harmony, Almond Hub & Wink- then you should read this

Are troubleshooting and having problems with your Echo?  Not understanding you? Not working correctly?  What about problems with IFTTT and Smart Home?  Are you finding you are troubleshooting all the time, having to setup everything again?  Having to reboot your router or individual devices or even restart your phone?

Let’s get something straight- If you have nearly any Hub or Ecosystem like these:

  • Smarthings
  • Nest
  • VeraEdge & VeraLite
  • Nexia
  • Harmony
  • Almond 2015 & Almond Plus
  • Wink

Then you should definitely read this.  Take with a grain of salt if you are highly-technical, a developer, or somebody that knows exactly what you are doing.  Because this is for the beginners, the newbies, or even the intermediaries sadly – as Smart Home IS very technical and confusing because manufacturers don’t seem to play along when it comes to competition- regardless of the consumer.  However, if you are a manufacturer, this doesn’t apply to all and if you have 100% tested reliability, QA and know for a fact that this isn’t occuring with your products, then be my guest and correct me where I stand.  Because it is possible to do this with nearly any integration out there regardless of brand or device, unless every endpoint and device involved is proprietary….  If it still does this- then you’re products just plain suck and you should have done a little more R&D…

The best part, IS that this ALSO goes to speak for any software or app-run ecosystems as well for your smart home. I’m talking about ecosystems like:

  • Home Assistant
  • Alljoyn
  • Nest
  • Yonomi
  • Homekit
  • Google Home
  • Wink
  • Yes, even your Razzle-dazzled razburrito Pies out there.  Those too.  Show off…

I’ve been coming across a common theme that a lot have been struggling with and am not sure if any manufacturer has nailed it and actually dialed in on this (as well as solved it).  The solution is super simple too.  I’m about to solve it right now by just explaining it in a very detailed and all-encompassing manner.  That’s why I basically left it as “limited to everything.”

It sadly- would be as easy as having a “CTA,” or in the creative and digital content world, a “call-to-action.” A CTA is described exactly how it is- in a literal-sense.  It’s almost like a symbol, or a sign that “calls out” your attention.  You know, like a PSA aka Public service announcement is on a billboard or a radio show.  So damn obnoious that you can’t ignore it or go without noticing it?  That’s similar to a call-to-action.  We need more of those in smart home.  But unfortunately we don’t have somebody to lead us with a sign that says “follow the yellow brick road.”  Nevertheless, we still need one – so we know the trials and tribulations of smart home – especially when every new device added, makes shit a bit more complicated on our setup and infrastructure.  One little switch can change your life or ruin it if it is positioned correctly- physically speaking with wireless interference.  Why can’t the same be true with software?  If we have one more app in-between, that is… Things get a heck of a lot more complicated.  Ugh… I digress.  However, this CTA needs to be within the install or skills page – with a robust experience on linking Logitech to the Echo, and how its actually easier to setup with echo- at least it seems like, than some of the individual brands like LIFX or Wemo.

When I link pre-existing integrations first (which mostly everyone does, especially a new adopter in the smart home space…) we tend to forget that we set those up later down the road.  Brands like Philips hue, lifx, Belkin wemo which already have integrations with alexa also have integrations with ecosystems like Smarthings, Nest, Vera, Wink, and so on… Im finding that a lot of people are using some sort of  integration or even an “ecosystem” prior to setting up harmony or alexa echo integrations.

Ecosystems like yonomi, or smartthings for instance – people seem to not get that these individual integrations can be wrapped under ANOTHER ecosystem even(it can get confusing so bear with me here, I’ll get to the point- I promise)!

What I mean is, Philips hue, lifx, and Belkin can all wrap under smartthings, or nest, tp-link and hue can wrap under yonomi or smartthings… But why do that you say?  Well not all products work together that a customer wants these days.  So they get yonomi, or logitech harmony if they want entertainment devices to work, or IFTTT if lets say- they want a trigger to turn recording on their security camera.  One simple step that a manufacturer can do by solving this- is literally only by adding notes, disclaimers and careful setup instructions…  Here’s the best part though.  They can increase the “perceived” positive reviews and stand out as one of the best (if not the best) integrations with alexa by far.  I say perceived, because they may not work better than other integrations, but the fact that they gave solid instructions, and layered it in sequential order- while clearly defining every step along the way…  It will increase the positive reviews and the perception as a whole will be more positive than other brands.  All of this occuring, simply if there was more content and elaboration on setting it up.

People are literally setting up an entry home brand first (like hue), then they go and buy another brand as almost like an attachment product (bc they were so satisfied of their first purchase, why not get another smart product)… This is where they realize amazon alexa/echo can control via voice and that siri, and google home suck and that there are obviously more integrations with alexa… So, in suit of this- they get an echo. Awesome, now I got my products setup and now I have voice control and have linked them all individually to my echo, sweet. But wait- then they realize that there are gaps. IR receivers aren’t automatable, or the sweet sweet electronic keypad that those extra paranoid smart home junkies absolutely NEED isn’t integrated with echo, or with yonomi. So guess what, they get a harmony! Because it is integratable with harmony, and harmony is integratable with echo as well (but it isn’t with yonomi – and this is just an example, not true story as I am not sure if harmony works with yonomi)… So awesome, now they have literally 15 different touchpoints from alexa to smart devices and now two ecosystems and they decide to link everything to harmony. But then when they link their harmony skill, they realize (or actually more-often-than-not they do not realize this) and they decide to link the deadbolt from their harmony ecosystem to the echo- but wait again… They look at everything else and unsure about the decision… They link everything else (while yonomi is already linking everything else as well as each individually skill/integration i.e. lifx, Philips hue, Belkin + now they have echo>yonomi>lifx,Belkin,Philips and echo>lifx, echo>Philips hue, and echo>Belkin. Are you following me here? They now already have 4 different ways of connections from the echo to the end-points/smart devices… So that one light bulb by hue actually is connected to the echo twice. Until they get their harmony and wrap it all in there again. Now they have 3 different integrations for that one device.. SO they’ve essentially de-dupped the shit on their own behalf. Then whenever they need to add/remove something, guess what. They need to re-sync the hue integration, yonomi integration and the harmony integration. But if they have harmony wrapped under yonomi and hue wrapped under harmony – then they also have to re-sync the hue>harmony, harmony>yonomi and yonomi>echo on top of already in the previous step re-syncing the hue>echo and hue>yonomi. Lets just imagine if they also use nest, ifttt, smartthings, or vera.

They’ve literally just created an exponential amount of mindfucks that they haven’t even begun to realize – let alone hours (maybe days) worth of work to fix it all. IF you’re all wondering out there why customers are having problems with the echo that you don’t understand- it’s because they don’t understand and that they don’t realize they’ve essentially just re-wired one thing to another wayyy too many times, let alone added extra variables in the picture. So, in the end – moral of the story… Make sure you get precise, specific, and very practical on instructions, as well as integrations, both internal for your products and also external- because unfortunately Smart Home has complicated things so much due to the lack of cooperation between competitors (who ultimately should be partners and merge as one unit) has created a massive grey area in smart home interoperability.

Why does the customer have to suffer in the end? However, I don’t think that way. How I think – who’s going to be the first lucky one to jump on this opportunity to break out a ROBUST story of the mappings between products regardless of in/out of their brand – so that these customers get the TLC that they need, while also improving the overall performance of the setup, thus increasing the product and brand reviews- ultimately leading to a better product and implementation in the eyes of the most important piece of this smart home puzzle. The consumer.  But specifically – the way the consumer thinks, and how to achieve that nirvana of figuring out how to make a rather complicated process- simple that anyone could understand it.  Your thoughts on this?  Agreements?  Disagreements?  How about stories?  I like to hear those shitshow stories and nightmares of smart home, because I’ve got quite a few myself… 🙂

" The SmartHome Ninja : Owner, creator, imagineer, smart home enthusiast, tester, practical applicator extraordinaire.."

View Comments (1)

  • Agreed - this SmartHome stuff is still for nerds, or people with nerd friends or family, or rich people who can pay nerds. I was reminded of this fact recently when all of my z-wave devices stopped working. It took me a couple hours of troubleshooting to fix it. I actually made the mistake of thinking it was simple enough to recommend to my 70+ age neighbors (oops). As a nerd though, I've been very happy with my SmartThings hub, IFTTT, and my Echo Dot - I'd recommend them to any nerd.

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