Am I the only person who would want this?

NOTE This is not a real product, it’s just a mockup


I am yet to find a simple low cost way to get my house to talk to me and play alerts / sound effects when things happen. I’m envisioning a simple z-wave light switch with a built in speaker and an SD card slot. I would be able to load a bunch of sound files on the SD card, and send a command to the switch to play a specific sound that is on the SD card. Bonus points if i could send a string of text and the light switch converts it to speech. For example, when my driveway sensor detects a car pulling in, I could have the switch in my basement play the “driveway.mp3” file on the SD card.


[ol][li]No need to run any new wires to the rooms[/li]
[li]Doubles as a z-wave controlled light switch[/li]
[li]Alerts could be played on one switch, or every switch in the house[/li]
[li]Low power consumption[/li]
[li]Fast installation[/li]
[li]100% z-wave, plug-n-play with Vera[/li][/ol]


[ol][li]Doubtful that vera could get the switches to all start playing in sync[/li]
[li]Out of sync issue would cause sounds to echo throughout the house[/li]
[li]Adding sounds requires gathering all the SD cards[/li][/ol]

How much are you willing to spend? If you forgo the in-wall mount, you can accomplish most of your functionality using a Sonos system.


[ul][li]No need to run any new wires to the rooms[/li]
[li]Alerts could be played on one Sonos speaker, or every Sonos speaker in the house[/li]
[li]Low power consumption[/li]
[li]Fast installation[/li]
[li]Almost plug-n-play with Vera using the Sonos plugin[/li]
[li]Playback synced to within 80ms(it’s good but not perfect)[/li]
[li]Wired and wireless networking makes local storage(SD cards) unnecessary. Play almost any stream or audio file via the network, even text-to-speech[/li][/ul]


[ul][li]Very expensive ($200-$500 per speaker)[/li][/ul]

I have seen wired speakers that mount in a single gang box. I can’t find the link right now. They require wires which makes installation an issue. But, the major issue is the poor sound quality from such a small speaker. They’re OK for tones or annunciators, but for music they are terrible.

There are very affordable 1 gang speakers for the Elk security systems. Around $15 as I recall. You could run them with a $15 amp and a broken phone with Vera Alerts. I don’t imagine a Z-Wave speaker would really mean anything. There is absolutely no precedent in stock Vera to make any kind of sounds. You need to use third party tools to do this. Vera has no TTS functionality or anything like that whatsoever.
You can also go the more elaborate routes and use things like Sonos/Squeezebox and even more grand to a wired system. You can also just get some busted old Android phones on Craigslist and connect them to cheap (Craigslist, Freecycle?) computer speakers for each zone. You can apparently also make Squeezebox units out of RaspberryPI’s. Any of the latter options will cost less per zone than a single Z-Wave light switch. Much less one with a speaker, expandable storage and the like. With that feature set you’d probably be close to Sonos prices any way so just go Sonos and get all of the associated benefits.

Create it yourself using the Arduino plugin.

[quote=“hek, post:4, topic:178856”]Create it yourself using the Arduino plugin.[/quote]

What a great idea! … I have a bunch of Arduino stuff coming today to mess with.

I have a couple of Sonos zones set up but the HA gap for me is around an affordable whole house microphone system, backed off with a good voice recognition system.

There are a number of high end products on the market plus there is the ability to use your phone e.g Siri but I do wonder if/when we’ll achieve an always listening (ready to react) set up.

How much are you willing to spend?

Whole room(~30 feet) array microphones like the AcousticMagic The Voice Tracker I Array Microphone can provide your desired results. It can be plugged into an Apple iProduct for Siri or an Android for Google Voice control of fine apps like AuthomationHD. Or you could build your own.

The issue, at least for me, is cost. Like Sonos, this microphone will cost you $300 per room.

You will not likely get very good voice recognition if the voice is any distance from phone. Note that today’s phones use active digital signal processing (dsp) to isolate the voice and cancel out the background noise. This is not available for far field signal (Not next to the mike)

The array of mikes improve the signal to noise ratio by using dsp to directionally select the source. But it will also pickup any noise originating or reflecting from that direction.

The only real way to get whole house voice response in the near future is with a wearable noise canceling mike, I do not know of any products out there.

Blue tooth headsets will not solve the problem unless they have multiple mikes and a dsp in the headset.

I do not know of any products. Their are some active noise canceling head sets. This is the right technology but it is only applied to the speaker channel. They need to apply the noise canceling to the voice channel before sending it off for recognition.

Thanks all,

My personal preference to avoid having to wear/hold something, the dream would be to have e.g ceiling mics that all feedback into a voice recognition system, which can then trigger actions on Vera