At least that’s what the Moto 360 ads would have us believe. You may still be deciding if a smartwatch is right for you. I mean, who needs yet another gadget – right? That’s what I was thinking – until I recently got my Android Wear powered Moto 360.
I must admit, purchasing my new smartwatch was a guilty pleasure. I mean I really didn’t need it – but I sure wanted it (I’m a nerd at heart). Although a strange thing has happened since I strapped the latest technological wonder to my wrist. An unexpected and very pleasant surprise in fact…
I find I am using my phone less – a lot less.
This has to be a good thing. My new smartwatch has given me more of one of my most precious commodities – time (pardon the really bad pun).
I handle my phone so much less these days. All my important notifications and information are now on my wrist. I can see who sent me an email, see my schedule for the day, reply to a text message (just by talking no less), access weather and other information I find useful throughout my busy day – all without touching my phone. Oh yeah, I almost forgot – it also tells me the time.
So it’s been a week now. Long enough for me to start asking… What else can I do with my smartwatch? I mean, thanks... you’ve saved me time, made life easier and brought me endless geeky pleasure. But what have you done for me lately?
This got me to thinking…
I would really love to control my INSTEON home automation system using my Android Wear powered Moto 360.
So here it is…
How to control INSTEON using Android Wear
What you will need:
- The awesome INSTEON Hub
- Some INSTEON Responders so we can control some lights, appliances or scenes
- An Android smartphone and smartwatch (sorry Apple – but you made it this way)
- The INSTEON for Hub app (free from the Google Play store)
- A little plugin app called WearTasker, which works with....
- The truly amazing app called Tasker
The INSTEON side of things
I will assume you have your INSTEON Hub and you are already enjoying your INSTEON enabled home. If not – get cracking – smarthome.com.au will have your new INSTEON Starter Kit on its way to you pronto.
Let’s open the INSTEON for Hub app on your favourite Android device (mine is a Nexus 5, just saying is all). There are a few important bits of information we need from the app to get this all working, here’s how we get it…
1. Open the INSTEON for Hub app.
2. Select the Gear icon and then press Edit Settings.
3. Now press on House to open the Hub Settings.
4. Scroll down until you see the Local IP address. Make a note of it along with the Port number.
5. Scroll down further and make a note of the Hub Username.
6. Password - If you don’t know the password, simply change it and make a note of the new one.
Great. One more thing we need to do. Create an INSTEON scene so Tasker has something to trigger when you use your Android Wear smart watch.
How to create an INSTEON scene...
1. Make sure the INSTEON for Hub app is still open, if not - you were too quick, open it again.
2. Select the Gear icon and then press Edit Settings.
3. Now press on Scenes to open the Scenes Settings.
4. Select the + icon in the top right to add a new Scene.
5. Create a Scene – call it anything you like, add some INSTEON devices and adjust the settings you would like to happen when you command it.
6. Make a note of the INSTEON Group Number. This will be important, write it down, or don’t. Finish up and save your Scene.
That’s all we need from the INSTEON app. Now on to…
The Tasker side of things
If you haven’t already done so, download Tasker from the Google Play store. You will also need to buy another app WearTasker - it's a little Tasker plugin. Luckily both of these apps are dirt-cheap (cliché time… “Less than the price of a cup of coffee”).
If you are familiar with Tasker, my apologies in advance. The instructions below are going to take things step-by-step – slowly – so newcomers are able to share in our Tasker joy. Just skim the parts you already know and read the parts you don’t.
1. Open Tasker
2. In the Tasks tab, click on the + icon.
3. Name your Task and press the tick icon.
4. Now select the + icon to add an action we want the Task to perform.
5. Select Net.
6. Now select HTTP Post.
This next step requires a little more of an explanation. We are going to enter the INSTEON Group Number from the scene we created earlier in the INSTEON app, but it needs to be formatted correctly so that the INSTEON Hub understands what you want it to do.
Here is what a typical INSTEON HTTP command may look like:
In my home, this command will turn on one of my office scenes.
“Great” I hear you say, “How does that help me on my quest for home automation nirvana”?
It doesn’t, but this does…INSTEON HTTP Command Generator
Open the link above, fill in the information we collected from the INSTEON for Hub app earlier, copy the link that is automatically generated and I will see you back here in a few minutes (I just had to make this easy for you).
Got what you needed? Let’s continue…
1. Enter the INSTEON HTTP command you just created into the Server:Port field.
2. Select the back icon next to Action Edit at the top of the screen.
3. Now you can test that you have done everything right, select the Play icon in the bottom left corner of the screen to test your task.
If all has gone well, your INSTEON scene should have responded. Be sure to press the Back icon next to Task Edit in the top-left corner of the screen and you are done.
“I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.”
If all did not go well, back to the drawing board, follow the instructions above again. If you are sure you have completed this correctly, post a comment below screaming for help, someone may hear you (even possibly me, but I doubt it).
The Android Wear side of things
We are almost there. Now we need to bring all of this magic together so we can trigger our INSTEON scene from an Android Wear smartwatch. For this we use a Tasker plugin app called WearTasker - it's free (with an option to upgrade for a small fee).
The home stretch...
1. Open WearTasker.
2. Select the + icon in the bottom right of the screen.
3. Now select Add task.
4. Choose from your list of Tasker tasks.
5. Select the menu options in the top right corner.
6. Select Save & Exit.
We are done. When you look on your Android Wear smartwatch, you should now have an app called Tasker. If you open this app, you will see your INSTEON scene ready and waiting to be activated.
It is worth revisiting the WearTasker app and playing around with some of the settings (among other things, you can choose a custom icon for your Task which is nice).
On a side note, I found a great app for my Moto 360 called Wear Mini Launcher, this app makes it easy to access all of your other apps. Once installed, you will be able to trigger your INSTEON scenes with one swipe and one tap - much faster than the stock-standard way of accessing apps on Android Wear.
For the moment, voice control on Android Wear is not yet available for Tasker (you can do this on your phone though), however I have it on good authority that it is being worked on, you can bet I will update this post once it has been finalised.
Update - Voice control
WearTasker now supports voice control. There is a new option in the WearTasker app - Voice Actions. You can only set three voice control options - and you cannot set custom voice commands. After assigning a task to one of the Voice Actions in the app, you then say "OK Google" - "Start task 1".
I have played around with this for a bit and it seems to work well (other than being a little slow). It's not as flexible as I would like (would be great if you could set your own voice command triggers), but it's a great start.
As always, leave some feedback below if you found this blog post in the slightest way helpful ;)
All the best,