Integrate third-party devices into your Smart Home: Control via ALEXA made easy

Step by step.

In our search for ways to integrate the growing range of Smart Home devices into our system, we hereby present another solution. This enables the use of devices that do not yet have a direct connection to the KNX. We refer to these devices that cannot be integrated as third-party devices for the KNX. With the LOGIKEDITOR or the Smart Home Apps on a APP MODULE many products and devices can already be integrated into the KNX. Most smart home devices have APP operation, which can often also be connected to voice control, e.g. ALEXA. However, in many cases no open interface or API is offered.

Nevertheless, indirect control via the ALEXA Cloud is possible, which works in parallel to the actual voice control. The ALEXA Skill for the EIBPORT allows access to the ALEXA functions, provided this access is via signal or signalling contacts.

Implement binary actions and scenes easily via ALEXA

This function is used to execute binary actions or routines via ALEXA on third-party devices via the signalling contact (motion detector, window contact). It may also be useful to create scenes for the control of third-party devices in their system (on their APP), which can be started via ALEXA.

How do you go about it?

In the following example, we show how the control of SmartLife radio blinds is carried out - opening, closing and approaching a specific position for shading.

  1. Register the third-party system, e.g. SmartLife, with ALEXA with the required skills to enable control. Make sure that the third-party system is compatible with ALEXA.
  2. Connect the EIBPORT at LOGIKEDITOR with ALEXA by establishing the appropriate connection. You will find separate documentation for setting up this connection.
  3. Create the communication logic groups to control the SmartLife radio blinds via ALEXA (Alexa and SmartLife Blinds" logic group).
  4. The input for the control is the function "Move blind", with the binary functions "OPEN" and "CLOSE".
  5. Use the "Blind Position" function as a further trigger. For this, a subsequent binary filter is connected to allow only a "True" signal as a control command.
  6. The two inverting elements invert the signal as specified by SmartLife. Please check whether this necessity also applies to your product. The switching commands are then connected to the (window) contact input of the "Alexa device" element.
  7. Select an indoor/outdoor blind as the "Category" so that the function displays the correct icon in the Alexa control. Also activate the dimmer function to enable the position feedback of the blind in %. Note that this function is only required once, even if the approach of a position is triggered in a 2-element Alexa device. The trigger here is also a window contact.
  8. All other settings are made in the configuration menu of the ALEXA.

With these steps you can successfully set up and use the control of your SmartLife radio-controlled blinds via ALEXA.

(Note: For the exact configuration and settings, please also refer to the instructions and documentation of the respective system and the ALEXA platform).

Configuration screenshots

Registration of the devices in ALEXA:
After creating a logic group with the control elements "Alexa device", this is now accessible via the BAB TECHNOLOGIE EIBPORT V3 Skill available in the ALEXA.

The third-party devices, SmartLife or ELESION blind control, are also registered and available in the Alexa.
It should be noted that these units should have different addresses (designations) in order to be able to distinguish their control.

So that the voice control can be used both for KNX via the EIBPORT functions identically for both the EIB and the SmartLife app, separate voice routines are required. This means that the actions can be sent both to the EIBPORT as well as to the SmartLife app. These routines are required for all commands, namely "open", "close" and "move to position" (for sun protection).

It is important to note that the action values "0%" or "100%" result after the installation of the units and have to be adjusted individually.

In addition to voice control, the triggers must also be activated via the EIB.PORT be configured. The triggers either come from the KNX bus or are control elements from an EIBPORT-Visualisation.

Similar to the voice control, the actions are also sent to both the EIB and the user.PORT (for feedback) and to the SmartLife app. The feedback to the EIBPORT serve either as status messages for visualisation or are used for sending to the KNX bus.