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Fun with Cell Phone Voice Alerts!


Hi All,
I've seen a handful of posts where community members wish to get some real-time feedback about what's going on with our properties.  Well, some of us have had some real fun the last couple days with something extraordinarily simple that gives us just that!
A couple of the CT regulars are playing right now with Zello - it's a Push To Talk app that basically gives you nextel-like functionality (but on steroids) on any phone.  It has history and different states and plenty of other options - but the beeps and sounds are 99% Nextel as is the instantaneous result - although I think the voice quality is generally better than Nextel was.  You can chat to a group or an individual.
 
With Zello, you have the option of joining groups - such as a couple of us have on the CT channel - but better yet is that you can join multiple devices for individual contact.  Of course this is intended for multiple individuals to connect.  Now add in the fact that the Windows version supports VOX - Voice Activation - and you're getting somewhere.
 
The other day, a few of us talked about the API's and what might be possible before another forum member figured out the best part - if it supports VOX and you can capture the audio events, then you don't even need an API - you can capture anything said by your HTPC (or an HSVoice client, etc).  The gent who figured this out I believe suggested an 1/8" stereo cable from the line out to the Mic in on the PC - then turning on VOX.  So, today I went to do this - I have a special build HTPC that I should've documented by now - it's an Atom based PC - very small - that I adapted to a 1U shallow rack mount and added in serial ports.  It's quite handy!  I went after it with a 1/8" to 1/8" stereo cord to create a loopback just to find that it had audio out but not in.   Bummer!  Though this slowed me down it didn't stop me - I immediately went searching for a virtual loopback adapter.  I'm on the wrong PC or I'd paste the link of the best one (I'll try to follow up tomorrow) - but basically I now have an audio out and a mic in that are linked with no physical cables.
 
So next step - is to tell Elve to do some TTS and direct it out a particular sound card.  I installed Zello on the PC with its own username and linked the contacts - then enabled VOX mode  Now a couple rules later, and I get custom TTS alerts straight to my cell phone when things happen around the house, such as arm/disarm alerts, and different testing rules.
 
What's really great is that you can use this to create your own channel - perhaps everyone in the house... and it's pretty universal in that if your HA app can generate sound, it can be pushed out.  And network location doesn't matter much - it works about anywhere.
 
Check it out and share what kind of awesome things you come up with!!
 
 


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