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Two locations, two Echo's, two sets of smart home devices?

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Two locations, two Echo's, two sets of smart home devices?
« on: February 07, 2017, 08:20:24 pm »
Suppose you have 2 or more Echo's in 2 separate physical locations (home and vacation home), not connected by a local LAN, and you have devices in both locations that the Echo's can control and 1 Amazon account.  Does this work?  Do I need more than 1 Amazon account for this?  Do both Echo's know the devices on the other LAN?  Do they only know about the local devices?

I've heard rumblings of using 2 Amazon accounts and using a different profile at each location.  Does that work?

thanks

Re: Two locations, two Echo's, two sets of smart home devices?
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2017, 09:09:20 pm »
Think about it; why wouldn't it work?  Based upon a recent experience, it works fine. We took a Dot and a Tap on a recent vacation during TG time. I plugged in the Dot, reset the wireless to the router wi-fi at our location.  It worked, although the time and weather report was for our home location, so I changed the location to the location's zip code. 

Meanwhile, 3 more Dots and an Echo guarded our house while we were away, and no one but the mice asked Alexa any questions at home.  When we returned home, I switched back to our home wi-fi and put in our zip code.

Re: Two locations, two Echo's, two sets of smart home devices?
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2017, 11:41:04 pm »
But did you have smart home devices at both sites?  Did you ask Alexa to discover these devices in both locations?  And then how would Alexa know which devices are in each location?  I don't see anything in the Alexa app that indicates the location of the devices.

thanks

Re: Two locations, two Echo's, two sets of smart home devices?
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2017, 01:55:48 am »
Do you have any smart devices, or do you know how they work?  If you did you could probably answer your own questions. Suggest you go read up at TP-Link website how their smart plug works, and meanwhile here is a short description.

Forget for a moment about them working with Alexa; they don't need Alexa to work; they just also work with Alexa.  Big diff.  They have their own app which enables you to turn them on and off from the app.  Also each plug has it's own name you give it, you see name in app and can operate it from home wireless OR cell data. And, when you walk past an Echo you can tell it to turn on/off the plug.

OK, so let's setup the first smart plug with the app, we give it a name "Fred" and that name shows up in our app.  Now, plug a lamp into Fred; turn it on/off from the plug's app.   Next, tie it in with Alexa through the Smart Home section of Alexa app, and have the app discover Fred.  Now, you can control Fred via Alexa. (Alexa, turn off Fred.)  Now, go have dinner at your favorite restaurant.  You get in there and realize you did not leave Fred's lamp on so that you don't walk into a dark house when you return, so turn on Fred from your plug's phone app from restaurant; it uses your cell connection to do this. It sends the command in your home via your wi-fi.  (So know that if you have a power outage at home you cannot control the smart plugs, even if you have cell access because you need both cell access and wi-fi at home on and working.)

When you get home, set up another plug named Wilma. (All plugs must have a unique name.  OK, now you have Wilma set up like Fred.  You can control each with Alexa. 

The next day go to your second home and take Wilma with you.  Plug her in, plug in a lamp and if you have the wi-fi on in house, you can control her with the app and even Alexa if you have one of these there, too.  You can also control Fred at home from here, too, (like you did from restaurant). 

Now set up a third plug named Pebbles, and it will work as the others do.  Set up all three as you did Fred (including the Alexa discovery step) Just know you need wi-fi at any location and decent cell reception anywhere you go to controle plugs remotely.  Oh, and you could set ALL of the plugs at a single location and take setup ones with you to the other location.

OK, you should be able to set other TP link smart things, and even can set up plugs named Barney and Betty on your own!

Offline kevb

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Re: Two locations, two Echo's, two sets of smart home devices?
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2017, 08:20:06 am »
In my experience, with one Amazon account, the echoes will see and control devices at both (either) locations. You would need to give your devices distinguishing names, like "Home entry light" and "Cabin entry light" to know which is which. To separate the two locations from Alexa, you would need two amazon accounts, separate accounts for your smart devices, and have each locations' devices discovered separately. This is because, for the most part, when you tell Alexa to turn on a light, the echo sends a message to the Amazon server (your amazon account), which then sends a message to the 'smart light' server (using your account info), which then sends a message to the device to turn on.

Re: Two locations, two Echo's, two sets of smart home devices?
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2017, 11:54:20 am »
Kev,

You appear to contradict yourself.  First you say a single account can control plugs at both locations.  Then you go on to say one still needs two accounts to keep them separate.  Seems to me this ought not be the case and that the plug app or Alexa just controls the plug with the unique name no matter where it is as long as it is all set up properly.  But, since I don't have two locations I can not check this out.

Re: Two locations, two Echo's, two sets of smart home devices?
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2017, 11:54:57 am »
In my experience, with one Amazon account, the echoes will see and control devices at both (either) locations. You would need to give your devices distinguishing names, like "Home entry light" and "Cabin entry light" to know which is which. To separate the two locations from Alexa, you would need two amazon accounts, separate accounts for your smart devices, and have each locations' devices discovered separately. This is because, for the most part, when you tell Alexa to turn on a light, the echo sends a message to the Amazon server (your amazon account), which then sends a message to the 'smart light' server (using your account info), which then sends a message to the device to turn on.
Have you tried this?  I have 4 Dot's and 1 Echo, with 1 Dot in a remote location.  I have an HA Bridge running on a Raspberry Pi at one location which connects to Z wave automation and wifi devices such a thermostat.  This is really great; I have voice control of scenes, lights, temperature, etc.  Alexa discovered the bridge without any problem and thinks I have a Hue device, but the bridge converts the commands into anything I want.

I've got a second HA Bridge on another Raspberry Pi at the second location but I haven't tried yet to have Alexa discover it.  (I will soon and report back.)  It would be less desirable to have to have different names at the 2 locations, but it wouldn't be that bad.  I'm more worried about discovering devices.  If I'm in location 1 and discover devices, that will work.  If I go to location 2 and discover devices, does it add on or use the new set in replacement of the original set of devices?  And does Amazon somehow remember the specific Echo/Dot that was able to find the device?  There's no indication of that in the Alexa app.

My guess is that Amazon blindly sends the device commands to the Echo that heard the command.  So that means I won't have to worry about accidentally turning on something remotely.  But I think the device discovery will be an issue.  Once location 2 runs discovery, location 1 devices will likely be lost.

I'm looking to hear from anyone who has tried this or similar.  I will report back shortly - just trying to understand what issues are ahead.  And it appears that Alexa is changing fast with updates, so whatever happened in the past may not be that relevant anyway.

I do know that this is a problem for Smartthings, but that involves the Samsung servers which adds another layer of complexity.

Re: Two locations, two Echo's, two sets of smart home devices?
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2017, 12:15:52 pm »
If I wanted smart plugs at two locations, I would set them all up at only one location with their unique names, and  then run discovery.  All have been discovered, and also NOT run discovery at the second location so as not to remove or replace all plugs discovered. Then I would take the plugs I wanted to the second location. The plug app should not care where the plugs are located, as long as there is wi-fi to connect to and send the command to plug and Alexa should not either.  It should command a discovered plug listed in Alexa app no matter where it is.

Re: Two locations, two Echo's, two sets of smart home devices?
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2017, 12:43:02 pm »
Additional info to my post directly above:

Of course, the plug that is relocated would only work if it connects to a wi-fi with same SSID and password as the home where it was set up. OR, the plug would need to be set to defaults and set up for the second wi-fi if it is different.  Just be sure to give plug the exact same original name, because this is the discovered name already in the Alexa app (and you don't want to run discovery at the second location).

Offline kevb

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Re: Two locations, two Echo's, two sets of smart home devices?
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2017, 01:30:57 pm »
I use several brands of HA devices. At home, I have Hue system as well as a VeraPlus Zwave system using a HA bridge by BWS. At work, I have some Wemo devices. I have Echos / Dots at both locations, using one Amazon account. I can control all of my devices from either location. Mike, no contradiction, but perhaps I was unclear. By "to separate the two locations from Alexa" what I meant was that an Echo at location 1 would only see and control devices at location 1, and an echo at location 2 would only see and control devices at location 2. I believe this situation would require two Amazon accounts. Of course this may depend on the brand or type of smart devices one is using. Jswim, I only use the bridge at one location, so I'm not sure how discovery works with multiple locations. That HA bridge is one slick piece of software though!

Re: Two locations, two Echo's, two sets of smart home devices?
« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2017, 02:18:14 pm »
kevb >>>  what I meant was that an Echo at location 1 would only see and control devices at location 1, and an echo at location 2 would only see and control devices at location 2.

OK, I am only referring to the TP Link plugs originally mentioned by the OP.  It is actually the Kasa app that sends the control signal to the plug (via the locations wi-fi) and if they are configured correctly the Kasa app can control them, and if at each location the wi-fi connection for the plug is working then Kasa and Alexa should be able to control either location as long as each plug is properly discovered by Alexa app.  I believe the Alexa app would "see" the other locations' plugs through the Smart Home discovery setup, and therefore a command given to Alexa to control the local or other location plugs ought to work, but I cannot test this, although perhaps I can if I set my phone's hotspot up as a different wi-fi. 

Offline kevb

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Re: Two locations, two Echo's, two sets of smart home devices?
« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2017, 02:31:04 pm »
The OP doesn't mention TP Link.

Re: Two locations, two Echo's, two sets of smart home devices?
« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2017, 02:39:47 pm »
So, I am confused with a similar post.  Nevertheless, I am talking about TP-Link plugs which I have.  They do not require a hub to complicate things.  Anyway, it is interesting trying to figure this out.

Offline kevb

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Re: Two locations, two Echo's, two sets of smart home devices?
« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2017, 03:03:49 pm »
Mike, no worries. One thing I forgot to mention- as I stated earlier, I have devices in two locations. I only ran discovery at work once, to initially find the Wemo switches. I have "forgotten devices" and run discovery several times at home, and Alexa always discovers the Wemo switches even though they are at work. As with most things, it seems the list of discovered devices (and associated account info) is on the server at Amazon, and is accessible through any echo connected to that Amazon account.

Re: Two locations, two Echo's, two sets of smart home devices?
« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2017, 03:46:26 pm »
>>>   and Alexa always discovers the Wemo switches even though they are at work.

Really, this seems weird.  I am not even going to attempt to figure this one out!  :D