Voice control of home automation with Siri and MQTT


Written by Mariete

Dec 9, 2016




Update: 04/23/2020: Several years later I must say that I now have five Google Home Mini voice control of my home automation using MQTT and it works very good


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Today I have dedicated the day of the clunker to implement a solution, based on Siri and MQTT, that allows me to "talk to my house"; give orders to turn lights and appliances on and off, adjust temperatures, ask loudly for the temperature or humidity of different rooms, etc.

The home automation system of my house It is made up of several elements, which I have been integrating over the years ...

  • HomeSeer PRO: the main brain that provides intelligence to the house. All my devices and systems are registered in it (lights, plugs, the alarm, the weather station, the irrigation programmer, the boiler, surveillance cameras, receivers of various types and protocols, etc.) and communicates with them at through various systems: http, mqtt, serial ports, directly ... HomeSeer works permanently on a small, low-power, fanless PC with Windows 7.
  • Node-red: the visual system for the connection and programming of the "internet of things" that allows to quickly start up and integrate endless devices within my home automation system. This program runs on a Raspberry PI 2 (click here to know more about home automation and Raspberry PI) and works permanently.
  • Mosquitto: a MQTT server (communication system that uses a large part of my devices) and that runs on it Raspberry PI from Node-red.

Well, to the point ... I'm going through the bush ...

To this day I think that everyone knows Siri (Apple's assistant, which has been gradually introducing all of its devices). Well, about two years ago, Apple endowed Siri with home control capabilities by taking advantage of its natural language spoken communication capabilities and pulled a standard called "Home Kit" up its sleeve. In principle, Home kit only works with Apple certified devices (few and expensive) but, little by little, the hacker community has been making this system work with other devices from other manufacturers and on platforms that are not Apple.

Someone very smart, has developed a software, called Homebridge, that allows almost any device to be recognized as a Home kit device and interact with it from Siri.

My work today consisted of installing Homebridge software on a Raspberry PI model B (the oldest and most basic) and other software on HomeSeer that allows both to be integrated. The result: I can say to Siri out loud from an iPad or iPhone "Hey Siri, turn on the Flex Light" and, as if by magic, the Light turns on.

At this moment I have included in the Homebridge some lights in the house and all the temperature and humidity probes in the house (I can say out loud "hey Siri, what is the temperature in the living room" and Siri responds immediately with the temperature ).

Installation is not difficult but a bit messy and cumbersome. First install a current version of Raspbian Jessie, then update it. Then install Node.js and finally Homebridge. The configuration is not that it is very complicated but it is not very clear either because the existing information on the internet is a bit contradictory and you have to move forward using the trial and error method.

I have a lot of work ahead of me to integrate the rest of the house. The first thing will be the alarm, I will be able to say to Siri when I go to bed "good night" and Siri will turn off the lights, put the heating in night mode and activate the alarm in night mode (only the external sensors active), "I'm leaving from home ”and it will activate the alarm in partial mode or“ good morning ”and it will remove the alarm, it will turn on the highest heating and everything you have to do to start the house for the day.

The truth is that it is not easy, but I think the effort is worth it.

Update: 12/17/2016: I give up! After a few days tinkering I have not been able to make this invention work correctly. Every few hours on the iPad a message appears saying there is no response from the devices and the only way I have found to make it work again is to erase the house on the iPad and recreate it, which means replacing each device in your corresponding room, creating the scenes, etc ... a lot of work. I like the system, so I'll try again a little later.


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