Aragon 1.5 – What’s new?

Aragon Version 1.5 – get ready to be amazed!

We have been working tirelessly over the last months to add to the capabilities of our Aragon Master! In this article we discuss the new features that have just been released.

The Aragon Master will soon have enhanced abilities, from ability to be interoperable with the majority of smart-home systems, to having the latest documentation at your fingertips, to optimizing voice commands to fine-tune individual devices to perfectly suit the end-user.

1. Homebridge Integration

One of the most important new features of our Aragon Master allows interoperability with any smart-home standard, from the already established KNX standard, to Matter, or the Apple Homekit.

Homebridge has been developed by a large number of plugin developers and core contributors. It allows integration of smart home devices unsupported by Apple’s Homekit into any smart home solution. Consequently, users can install Homebridge on the Aragon Master to access a slew of plugins developed for easy integration of thousands of smart appliances.

Choice in the smart-home world has suddenly become a lot larger!

For more information on Homebridge, click the link below:

https://homebridge.io/

2. Aragon documentation now integrated into the Aragon Master

Aragon Documentation and Help is now integrated on Aragon Master. This means that all the information you need is at your fingertips. On-device, you can find a mirror of up-to-date help documentation, history, and NodeRed that is also found on Github.

Watch the video below to see a demonstration of the user experience offered by the new on-device help and documentation service.

3. Voice Control Optimization

The third feature that we are very pleased to be able to bring you is Voice Command Optimization. Users can now fine-tune voice commands by excluding commands that are not useful, e.g. if the building has no shutters or blinds, the commands to control them can be removed.

The user can also select from various models of assistants with different sets of commands from “large”, to “medium”, to “tiny”. An advantage for using a “tiny” range of commands could be for a user with unclear pronunciation. As there are fewer possibilities available, the smart speaker will be less likely to pick the “wrong” command.

4. Updated Voice Assistants

We have also done a significant amount of development in the area of Text to Speech voices that are available to the user of the Aragon smart speaker. The quality of each voice option has become greatly enhanced, which promotes better understanding for the end-user.

Additionally, the range of English-speaking voices has been markedly increased, particularly in the variety of British accents on offer. A wider choice of voices in German and French has also been added.

Shop for the Aragon Master and satellites here.

Introducing the all-new Aragon Master!

The Aragon Master, a compact, yet powerful server for voice control contains everything needed to understand your voice commands. It also ensures seamless interaction with your home automation system.

The master can work in an isolated system. All analysis of speech and execution of commands carried out on-device. As an added option, there is an “online mode”. This allows the user access to powerful online services like OpenAI/ChatGPT and Google.

The Aragon Master featured in the photograph is the Offline version. It comes with an external battery designed to support the onboard real-time clock functionality. The inclusion of the battery is optional, primarily intended for situations where your Master device lacks internet connectivity and a time server.

Find out all about the Aragon Master product specifications here

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Check out our exciting new Aragon smart speaker features!

We would like to give you a preview of what is coming up in the very near future for the Aragon smart speaker. The additional new features will make the installer and end-user experience even more simple and satisfying than it is already. Read on below to find out the latest improvements.

High quality multilingual text-to-speech that works on-device

All of our smart speakers will come pre-configured to understand and carry out commands in English, French, and German without any need for an external Internet connection. All language understanding will occur on-device.

No need to choose a particular language to communicate with Aragon as it understands commands said all three. Having a single smart speaker that understands a number of languages in hotels, offices, public spaces, and even multi-lingual homes, throughout Europe is an enormous advantage for the end-user. An added advantage in using a ProKNX assistant is that the command understanding and response all happens on-device, saving energy and keeping what the user says private.

Customizable wake words

Rather than saying the name of the device, customers will be able to order an individualized branded wake word. There are a number of significant advantages in having a customized brand wake word, including enhanced user experience and greater brand recognition. Special assistance phrases are also configurable.

Weather and Traffic Information

The option to opt-in to a hybrid model of operation in order to bring the user access to services such as online weather and current traffic conditions.

Customizable Graphical user interface

Customers can order a branded user interface in the form of images, particular fonts, individualized text, and more. The graphical user interface can be configured for ease of advanced configuration of Aragon smart speakers by integrators, electricians, and for OEM.

Customizable Voice User Interface

Customers can order a branded voice user interface to personalize spoken feedback and welcome messages from their Aragon smart speaker. This feature is particularly useful in a hotel, office, or residential care environment to strengthen brand familiarity and loyalty to a certain company or organization.

Synchronized Language Switching

When the language from GUI is changed in English, French, or German the VUI language is automatically synchronized to the same language. This allows for easier usage of the Aragon smart speaker.

Find out more about the Aragon smart speaker here.

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Your ProKNX smart speaker gains multiple new capabilities

Home automation smart speakers made by ProKNX can do far more than just control lighting and heating!

We have added features to facilitate everyday life. The new ProKNX smart speaker capabilities help you plan in advance before you leave the house. So now, not only does the voice controlled smart assistant make you more comfortable when you are at home, but also when you are out and about.

The new features:

  • Weather

“What’s the weather forecast for tomorrow? “
“Was sagt der Wetterbericht für morgen?”
“Quelles sont les prévisions météo pour demain ?”

Are you about to walk out the door and wonder if you need a jacket or an umbrella? Just ask your ProKNX smart speaker for the local weather forecast. Or maybe you are going on a trip and need to know what to pack. Find out the weather conditions at your city destination from your smart speaker.

This feature is available in English, German, or French.

  • Traffic

What’s the traffic like today?”

“How long will it take me to get to work?”

You are ready for your commute to work and want to check the traffic conditions before you leave? The ProKNX smart speaker can help you. All it takes is an initial set-up to define “home” and “work” locations. After this, any time the question is asked, the assistant can search the Internet and give you anonymized information about the current traffic flow for the commute between home and work.

This feature is also available in English, German, or French.

How to enable weather and traffic features

Update your Voice Assistant and Application. Then, activate the ‘Internet search’ functionality. Set your work address, and you’re ready to go.

Note: The feature of Internet search by voice is privacy enabled. This free service is opt-in only, as we understand how important maintaining your privacy is.

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What do ProKNX smart speakers offer that Big Tech speakers cannot?

Smart speakers produced by Big Tech are very cheap and, as well as controlling your smart appliances, allow you to access all sorts of information. However, in order to have access to this information world, the end-user must pay in an alternative way; namely, with the harvesting and use of their personal data. The ProKNX smart speakers are first-and-foremost, made so that the end-user can maintain their privacy, but they also have a number of important advantages that ProKNX smart speakers over the voice assistants offered by Big Tech. Read on to find out the benefits of using an ethical smart speaker.

Privacy:

What’s said at home, stays at home. Everything the user says is private.  Privacy of the user is valued highly by ProKNX, therefore no data is collected. In fact, voice recognition runs entirely on the device.

Operational safety:

The voice control works without an Internet connection, therefore is more reliable. The smart speakers continue to function without a hitch even with a poor Internet connection.

Investment security:

The technology continues to work as it did on the first day it was installed, even after years of use, as it is independent of automatic “silent” updates. As a result, this also means that even if the company stops selling or supporting the device, it will continue to work as it did out of the box.

Adaptability:

Commands and verbal interactions can be set in any variation according to the requirements. The choice of words and sentences can be said in thousands of different ways. This flexibility of choice also means that each device can be adapted to the unique needs of individual customers.

Connectivity and Interoperability:

The assistant controls lights, shutters, scenes, heating, music, TV, and much more. Many home server systems and gateways are supported out of the box. “Plug and Talk” functions with the worldwide KNX home automation system standard, or with gateways from Philips HUE and IKEA Tradfri. Also, SONOS Music systems are supported without additional configuration.  ProKNX products are highly compatible with as many systems as possible, allowing integrators to add a large number of other IoT products using the installed NodeRed IoT editor.

Aging in Place: Anomaly Detection:

For elderly or handicapped people voice control of home appliances facilitates daily routines. Although ProKNX smart speakers work without need for the Internet, ARAGON COMPANION has a special feature that allows it to call a nominated carer for help when an untoward event occurs. Additionally, ARAGON can unobtrusively monitor actions and movements of a person, and analyse the data on-device. Movement detectors, door contacts, and switch operations record activity of the individual. Consequently, if the pattern seen diverges from the regular routine, ARAGON will ask if help is needed. No response, or an affirmative answer, will result in the smart speaker calling a carer.

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A new analysis feature for the ProKNX smart speaker

Do you like to know what’s going on? Then you’ll love this new Voice Usage Statistics feature from ProKNX!

For users and integrators who want to understand exactly how an installed ProKNX smart speaker is functioning, a new feature has been added that enables them to download a Voice Usage Statistics application from the ProKNX Node-Red library.

Your privacy is still protected as the statistics that are optionally recorded stay on the device, and are never transferred to the cloud. the data will never be shared to a third party. The user can delete the data, and the application at any time. What’s said at home still stays at home.

This feature allows you to analyse

  • how many times certain voice commands are used,
  • exactly what words the smart speaker understood for each command,
  • if a command given was successfully executed.
Example of statistics generated

These statistics can help to fine-tune the training given to each smart speaker to expressly tailor the smart speaker to the needs of individual users.

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ProKNX Smart Speakers now control Philips Hue lights

ProKNX announce that their offline, voice-controlled smart speakers, Aragon and PRATGLAD, are now compatible with Philips Hue smart lights.

Philips Hue lighting consists of an extensive range of high quality bulbs, lamps, and lightstrips. This wide choice of products gives the user a complete solution for an entire home, without any need to rewire. The smart lighting is designed with versatility in mind. Consequently, the options for using the lighting system are extensive. The user has the choice of the Philips Hue app, a remote control, or voice control to change the environmental lighting. ProKNX has developed their smart speaker capabilities to control Philips Hue smart lighting with a single vocal command: “Hey Snips, turn on the lights!”.

Individuals can use a ProKNX smart speaker to activate or change ambiance and lighting colour with naturally spoken voice commands. There is no need to use a touch-screen. This comes with the advantage that all residents in the home can easily control the lighting when needed.

The goal of ProKNX is to develop smart speakers that are interoperable with as many systems as possible. The key to the increased adoption of smart technology by the wider public is interoperability. The success of the smart technology market depends on the fact that both individuals and companies are not locked in to one single smart system or solution by their initial choice of intelligent technology.

As a result of this development, integrators can simply use Node-Red to connect the ProKNX smart speaker to a Philips Hue Bridge. Find step-by-step instructions on the ProKNX site to install and activate a Philips Hue lighting solution.

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Time to throw out your smart TV remote control

ProKNX offline smart speakers can now be used to vocally control Sony Smart TVs

How many times have you had to search for the TV remote control in the last few months?  It happens to all of us at one time or another; the remote control for the television is mislaid, runs out of batteries, or gets broken in a (pretend) Jedi sword fight.  We experienced this issue just recently. After much searching for a lost remote control, it turned up in the kitchen fridge. It turned out that a member of the family (who shall not be named) went to get a snack and absent-mindedly forgot that they had put it down there. There was an upside to this story. In our search, we discovered quite a bit of spare change under the couch cushions. We realized something when it went missing. We discovered that it is extremely difficult to navigate your way around a modern TV without one.  

Of course, for an active family, a few days without being able to watch television are bearable. On a more serious note, there are many people who rely on their television for company or entertainment due to a variety of health or social factors. For these users, the continuous functioning of a TV that is easy and intuitive to control is extremely important for their psychological well-being. On top of that, certain members of the population can find that TV remote controls are a trial to manipulate. These groups consist of users such as frail seniors, those with articulation pain, and differently-abled individuals with limited limb movement. This is when the ability to control the television with voice alone comes to the fore.

To facilitate the control of television without need to use a remote control, ProKNX has developed the capacity of their offline smart speaker, Aragon, to support voice control of Sony smart TVs. Instead of having to search for the remote control, you can now do everything with your voice. There is no longer a need for a remote control.

What commands does the offline smart speaker support?

By obeying voice commands the ProKNX smart speaker can now:

  • Switch your TV on or off
  • Select the channel you want to watch, either by number or by name
  • Raise or lower the volume
  • Select the application you want to watch e.g., Netflix, YouTube, and many others!

The smart speaker has the additional advantage that it can be spoken to using natural language, rather than only understanding stock phrases.  Therefore, the TV control commands can be said in many different ways. This allows the user to have a large amount of flexibility to speak in the way they choose.  The smart speaker also understand a wide range of accents. Aragon, the smart speaker, can also be set up in English, French, or German, giving them an even broader scope of understanding.

So, speak to your TV. Then, go ahead and give the remote control to your dog as a chew-toy.  He’ll thank you for it!

You can watch short video on how easy it is to use your voice to control your Sony Smart TV here.

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Voice control: Five important reasons it makes your smart-home smarter

You may have noticed that smart home assistants of all different kinds are starting to pop up everywhere. They are becoming more and more commonly seen in homes and offices up in all corners of the world.  The number of smart systems available are nearly eclipsed by the number of ways to control them. Depending on the system, they can be controlled with remote controls, with tablets, or with apps on your phone. The choice is dizzying. 

There is a danger of ending up with a slew of remote controls, apps, and tablets to control all the smart devices and appliances in your home.  This is the last thing we all need, as our secret junk drawer in the kitchen is already too full!  What if there was an easy solution?  Well, there is!  Voice control for smart home systems mean that you have full central control over everything.  It is very rare that you lose your voice, or stick it in a junk drawer.  Find out here 5 reasons why voice control is the best method for controlling your smart home:

1. Energy savings

Smart home systems save you energy and cut the running costs of homes by making electricity use far more efficient.  Lights and heating are turned on only when you need them. Blinds can be controlled to help keep in the heat, or keep the house cool, depending on the season.  With voice control, this energy saving is even more marked. There is no need to recharge remote controls, tablets, or phones in order to use the assistant.  With an offline voice-controlled assistant, the potential to save money and energy is very noticeable. An offline device is more energy efficient. No data needs to be sent to the cloud in some far-off server to be analysed then sent back in order for the assistant to react.  The ability to activate any command is all there on the offline voice assistant. This reduces your energy expenditure and your carbon footprint.

2. Customizable

The voice-controlled smart home assistant adapts to what it hears you say, and understands what you mean. This happens even if you make a mistake when speaking or say a command in a different way.  As a result, you benefit from a huge advantage over needing to exactly type a command. With voice control, you can also name your rooms and lights to suit your personal vocabulary.  Consequently, there is no need to adapt your commands to suit possible combinations of words that the assistant may understand.  In addition, you can program a multitude of potential command combinations. With just one voice command tune lights, heating, blinds, and even music preferences to your favourite settings.

3. Ease of use

Being able to control your home with voice, rather than with a tablet, remote control or phone makes using the smart home system easier for all ages. In particular, this is especially valid when the assistant can understand commands said in thousands of different ways.

Firstly, families with young children need not to be concerned about remote controls being lost or broken if they come into the reach of curious small hands. Neither do they become distracted from their children while programming the assistants. Secondly, older people are able to make their home comfortable with just a few every-day words. They have no need to be nervous about trying to use daunting technology. Thirdly, people with reduced mobility can simply use their voice to change their home environment to just the way they want it.  Talking to a smart home assistant is far quicker than typing commands, or searching for the right button to push. On top of that, it means that anyone in the house can take advantage of the smart home appliances. Therefore, control is not just in the hands of the person who has the app on their phone or tablet.

4. Adds higher resale value to your home

Houses with smart home systems already installed in them are becoming a popular feature for those looking to buy a new home. In fact, buyers interested in modern houses are seeking those with smart lighting, heating, security, and smart appliance features that make the home interactive and quickly adaptable to their desires and needs. Consumer Reports states that converting your home environment to be a smart one can increase the resale value by up to 5%. This enthusiasm for smart features when buying a new home crosses all age groups, from millennials who have grown up using smartphones and smart assistants, to older generations, who are looking for smart home features to make their lives safer and more comfortable.

An extra advantage of using a voice control based system if it runs offline is that you can sell the system along with the house. Online smart-home systems rely on having a personal account, which is not the case with assistants that work without need for an Internet connection. Once installed, they are part of the home, just like the doors and windows.

5. Peace of mind

We have all had those moments when we have doubted our actions.  Did we turn off the oven?  Did we remember to turn off the lights downstairs? With voice control, these worries that may niggle us when we comfortably lying in bed on a cold Winter’s night disappear.  It takes one command to make sure that everything is as it should be.

Now that voice-controlled assistants have become more complex, you can do more than just turn your lights on and off.  Coupled with their multiple abilities, and with the fact that installation of a voice assistant through-out a home is now becoming very affordable, you can help frail loved ones stay in their homes in security. With a “call for help” feature enabled, the assistant can contact an outside contact if an emergency arises without need of the person attempt to reach a phone or help-button. Consequently, this gives you peace of mind and helps you sleep more soundly at night.

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Voice control “Plug & Talk” with realKNX Aragon

The Smart Visu Server from Albrecht JUNG can now be expanded to offline voice control with ARAGON.

All you have to do is connect the PoE cable of the realKNX Aragon, and the KNX installation can be operated with voice.

No internet required, what’s said at home stays at home!

The existing configuration of the SV server is read out in order to train the words for rooms and functions in thousands of sentence positions using AI.
Stored names for light, scenes, shading and heating are then recognized and can be executed or queried in relation to the room. realKNX Aragon contains a small loudspeaker, two microphones and a processor to evaluate the spoken words locally and to send back the commands to the KNX bus via the JUNG server.
realKNX Aragon is compatible with all previously delivered JUNG SV servers!

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