Hey Siri + Bluetooth = Amazon Echo?

smharm13

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 15, 2010
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Im in the process of setting up some home automation and have been weighing the pros and cons of Siri vs Alexa. Currently running Homebridge on my raspberry Pi to control my nest, kwikset lock, and wemo lights. I now see Alexa can control wemo switches so considered switching to that until I had the idea of an old iPhone plugged into a Bluetooth speaker with mic always on to mimic the affects of Alexa.

Has anyone tried this before and if so how successful was it?

Side note: if you haven't heard of Homebridge I highly recommend checking it out on Github. Really fills some gaps in device compatibility.
 

Alrescha

macrumors 68020
Jan 1, 2008
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Has anyone tried this before and if so how successful was it?
I have an original iPad mini sitting in a Bose speaker/dock, it is my 'Hey Siri' device. Works well, and I have a remote control for the volume.

A.
 

smharm13

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 15, 2010
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Thanks for the quick reply!

Do you have it placed in a central place in your living room/kitchen? I've been looking around on to find one that will have decent range with voice detection.
 

Alrescha

macrumors 68020
Jan 1, 2008
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Do you have it placed in a central place in your living room/kitchen?
Yes, it's actually between the living room and kitchen. The dock does not have a separate microphone, but that has never been an issue - Siri hears me just fine. Perhaps not as well when I'm playing music, one has to pick the right moment.

It's very convenient to say 'Hey Siri, turn on the Cooking scene' as I walk past on the way to the kitchen.

A.
 

smharm13

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 15, 2010
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It's very convenient to say 'Hey Siri, turn on the Cooking scene' as I walk past on the way to the kitchen.

A.

That's the exact type of thing I'm looking to do glad this works well! Time to try my hand on Amazon at some Bluetooth speakers/mics
 

smharm13

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 15, 2010
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Just wanted to provide and update if anyone was curious this device did work but had an effective range of 3 feet... so thats not going to work out.
 

Peepo

macrumors 6502a
Jun 18, 2009
945
372
The demo videos I have watched on the Amazon Echo make Siri look less powerful Seems Apple has a bit of catching up to do. I'm in Canada and can't buy the Amazon Echo officially and I don't feel like spending all that money on something which may not work 100%.

I have been watching how the beta Amazon Echo support works on the ISY994i and looks real good and as soon as available in Canada I would maybe buy - but considering that, after I enabled HomeKit support on my ISY994i with HomeBridge, the novelty of voice control has sorta worn off I am not so sure now. Wife and kids think I'm strange talking to the lights and of course it NEVER seems to work when I try to demo it - silly Siri!!! I do like having ability to turn lights on everywhere with my Apple Watch though which is always with me. To do this with Amazon Echo, I would need about 3 or 4 of them around the house.
 

ericgtr12

macrumors 65816
Mar 19, 2015
1,237
7,277
The demo videos I have watched on the Amazon Echo make Siri look less powerful Seems Apple has a bit of catching up to do. I'm in Canada and can't buy the Amazon Echo officially and I don't feel like spending all that money on something which may not work 100%.

I have been watching how the beta Amazon Echo support works on the ISY994i and looks real good and as soon as available in Canada I would maybe buy - but considering that, after I enabled HomeKit support on my ISY994i with HomeBridge, the novelty of voice control has sorta worn off I am not so sure now. Wife and kids think I'm strange talking to the lights and of course it NEVER seems to work when I try to demo it - silly Siri!!! I do like having ability to turn lights on everywhere with my Apple Watch though which is always with me. To do this with Amazon Echo, I would need about 3 or 4 of them around the house.
So far from my experience with the Amazon Echo it's leaps ahead of Siri, which is smart in its own right, just different. Alexa is always on and just there, no hassling with picking up the iPhone and "Hey Siri" doesn't work nearly as well, not sure if it's just the listening piece or what but it doesn't wake up half the time and when it does, it doesn't seem to understand the commands nearly as well as Alexa and there's always the awkward pause. Comparing the two with Philips Hue bulbs Alexa won hands down.

I think Siri has potential but it's not nearly ubiquitous enough, there's a lot of products out there that Apple refuses to work with for some reason, most other home automation products play well with each other. Additionally, the framework for Siri with no interface is frankly confusing, in my experience I always find myself reverting to the app.

Seems like Apple is falling behind in this quickly evolving market. IMO Alexa is the coolest piece of tech since the invention of the iPhone.
 
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smharm13

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 15, 2010
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Ideally would want to find a set up that would allow Siri to be triggered from 20-30 feet away. I think the biggest problem is most Bluetooth speakers focus on the output and not the input from a mic. Those that due offer "microphone" options are usually very cheap < 5ft effective range. The place where the Echo is so successful is the 7 speaker array. Finding a product similar to that has been a tedious effort, with no promising results to date. I think if we can find something similar, Siri would be quiet effective. I'm open to suggestions if anyone has any ideas on products as I do feel Siri can perform more complex text with more "natural language" based ques.
 

smharm13

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 15, 2010
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Going to give it one last try at a speaker Sound Blaster SBX10 Amazon is running a crazy deal on it right now. The company does have a newer version but for 150 dollars might as well buy the echo. Will report back findings when it arrives.
 

ipedro

macrumors 601
Nov 30, 2004
4,663
4,910
Toronto, ON
A company that builds a HomeKit enabled mic/speaker that you can mount on the ceiling or a wall is going to have a hit on their hands.
 

smharm13

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 15, 2010
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ipedro. I absolutely agree. Building small mic's throughout the room I think would even be a better approach then Echos centralized feel.

I gave the SoundBlaster a try and while it worked fairly well < 10-15 fee not exactly what i was looking for. That being said it is an excellent little speaker unit for call etc just not for "living room" siri
 

That_guy

macrumors newbie
Mar 15, 2016
2
0
Hi I know this thread a little old but I have been looking for other options. So far for Bluetooth I have found nothing. But I have read in other threads and and people have talked about omnidirectional boundary microphones. What's is cool with some of these is the ability to daisy chain them together. Meant for conference calls it would be useful for this as well. The problem is the ones that can be daisy chained are a little expensive. Does any one have any ideas to modify the cheaper ones and allow them to be daisy chained.
Thanks
 

Recognition

macrumors 6502a
Jun 27, 2013
596
654
A company that builds a HomeKit enabled mic/speaker that you can mount on the ceiling or a wall is going to have a hit on their hands.
What could work is a microphone/wi-fi bulb holder.
Fitted into your ceiling light (as most rooms have a central central ceiling light) it would pick up most voice commands, be discreet, have constant power available and offer wireless control of the bulb.
You'd have to work out how to get it synced with Siri and remember not to turn it off at the wall switch though!
 

ilcato

macrumors newbie
Apr 8, 2016
1
0
ipedro. I absolutely agree. Building small mic's throughout the room I think would even be a better approach then Echos centralized feel.

I gave the SoundBlaster a try and while it worked fairly well < 10-15 fee not exactly what i was looking for. That being said it is an excellent little speaker unit for call etc just not for "living room" siri
I ordered the Sound BlasterAxx AXX 200 with an array of four mic. I will report the results.
 

Starfyre

macrumors 68030
Nov 7, 2010
2,738
970
I am a little curious about the Echo Dot, cheaper, but is the same thing as Amazon Echo.