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Background mechanisms for smart devices

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Background mechanisms for smart devices
« on: January 09, 2018, 07:17:53 am »
Okay, just got an Echo and a Home Mini to see which suits our household needs better.

Planning on getting a few extra smart devices to see how well they integrate but I have a question I can't find the answer to.

Obviously the Echo requires Amazon to provide the Alexa service and the Home Mini requires Google to make it work, but when it comes to smaller providers, like say a cheap smart plug socket from a non big brand, will it require a third party server in order to function?

I would assume that in order for the plug sockets own app to function it would rely on the vendors service to be active, but for Alexa to control it, does that also apply?

My concern is that there are so many smart devices available that some of the vendors will go out of business and so their online service will cease and the product will stop functioning.

I'm not worried about the plug socket app, it would be the Alexa/Google integration that I'd want to know would work for as long as Google or Amazon supported the Echo and Home Mini (which will hopefully be for a long time...)


Offline tthoben

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  • Greetings from sunny Singapore!
Re: Background mechanisms for smart devices
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2018, 10:28:36 am »
In a way you have answered your own queries

Support for non-branded smart devices was never guaranteed. It's definitely at your own risk, and for every user that managed to get them working properly there's probably another one or two pulling his/her hair out trying to get them to work

Integration with Alexa is either through skills or 3rd party workarounds like RM Plugin or RM bridge

For Google Home, you can probably get some answers in the relevant section of the forum
Echo Dot @ SG


Re: Background mechanisms for smart devices
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2018, 10:51:12 am »
Thanks. Are skills also dependent on a third party to keep them working?

Just seems an awful big risk spending potentially hundreds of pounds on devices for them to become useless if the service it relies on disappears.

I know you could say that about lots of things, but when they are a plethora of 10-15 smart plugs it makes them seem like a cost effective way of smartening up your home. I don't think most people would be aware that they could stop working at any point.

Offline kevb

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Re: Background mechanisms for smart devices
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2018, 11:43:52 am »
Start small. If you like a "smart home", do a lot of research before committing. There are many options out there, and a few small companies have left the market. There is no inexpensive way to do it!

Re: Background mechanisms for smart devices
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2018, 12:50:18 pm »
it is always going to be a risk.  I got burned by tcp when they discontinued supporting their connected bulbs.   tcp is a well know light bulb company.  google did the same with the original dropcam.  they pulled support and made them worthless.  so just because a company is big and well know, don't mean you won't get burned. 

I would suggest getting bulbs from different companies so if one is discontinued, you will not have to replace them all at once.  I now have a combination of hue, cree, and ge light bulbs.   I only have wemo switches because at the time I got them, they were the only ones available.  but I have two different models.

as far as having both the echo and mini, you could always use one as a backup.  for example, if you go with the echo, sometimes the cloud has problems, it would be nice to use the mini when that happens.