It has been a long time coming for the release of the skills for use of the D-Link Smart plugs and Logitech Harmony Hub with the Amazon Echo/Echo Dot, which were both previously unavailable in the U.K. (but had been available in the US). Prior to this, I had already found alternative solutions to pair these devices with my Amazon Echo Dot and have been successfully using the Amazon Echo Dot to control the D-Link Smart plugs and Harmony Hub. Hence the big questions are: Are the Alexa Skills provided for these devices better than the solutions I had found previously? Should I be enabling them on my Alexa App?
Harmony Skill for Alexa:
First for the Logitech Harmony Hub. Previously the only solution was to use the Alexa Skills Yonomi to control it. It was a little daunting at the start to get things set up, but once that initial hurdle had been overcome, it was very simple and straight forward. And it works very well. The commands are very simple.
See my link here for further information about Yonomi:http://myphotojourney.co.uk/yonomi-control-of-logitech-harmony-with-amazon-alexa/
The Logitech Harmony Skills, however, is not as straight forward. It is a more round about way of asking the Harmony to do things, as you can see from the information provided when you go to the Skills page of the Alexa App and select the Harmony Skill.
You have to tell Alexa to tell Harmony to turn on (or turn off) your device – its like passing on a message for someone to tell another person. Hence I have stuck with my Yonomi solution which simply lets me turn devices on or off by using their names. It is no surprise that I have not linked my Logitech account to enable this Skill, as it is a backstep in my opinion.
I would not swap the Yonomi skill which has worked so well for me so far, for this Harmony Skill which is more clunky. But Yonomi Skill does require further setup in their App, so some may choose to put up with the inconvenience of saying more each time the use Alexa to control the Harmony Hub, for the convenience of not needing furher setup in another App to get it working (and some may feel it a rather daunting task too).
myDlink Home Skill for Alexa:
The mydlink Home Skill on the other hand is a completely different story. It essentially has the same functionality and trigger words as the TP-Link Kasa Skill which controls their line of smart plugs. Hence in the UK, the D-Link Smart plugs are now as useable with the Amazon Echo/Echo Dot as the TP-Link Smart plugs, all by adding this important Alexa Skill.
Unlike the Logitech Harmony Skill, the mydlink Home Skill is much simpler than my previous solution which I had found only recently – using IFTTT Skill to tell Alexa to “trigger” a device. It makes sense for me to adopt the solution which is essentially the same as how I use my other devices – telling Alexa to turn on/off a device (like for the TP-Link Smart plugs, the LIFX bulbs) – for simplicity sake.
For my previous solution using IFTTT to control the D-Link Smart plugs, see here:http://myphotojourney.co.uk/ifttt-and-amazon-alexa/
Hence it is no surprise that I have enabled this Skill on my Alexa App. Suddenly, the TP-Link Smart plug has a genuine contender in the D-Link Smart plug, as a device which the Amazon Echo/Echo Dot can control.
Logitech Harmony Skill for Alexa does not require further setup other than linking to your Logitech account so it can access the devices you have setup on your account but requires more words to be spoken each time you want Alexa to control a device. The Yonomi Skill on the other hand does require some further setup on the Yonomi App to get it working, but is more straightforward for Alexa to control the devices.
So whether you use one or the other, would depend on whether you want a “Plug and Play” solution such as the Harmony Skill, or am willing to invest a little effort into initial setup for the benefit of simpler control down the line. As Yonomi was the only solution before Logitech released this Skill, I had no other option but to set this up – and I have stuck with this solution, as I see it as the better option for Alexa control of the Harmony Hub compared to the Harmony Skill.
The mydlink Home Skill on the other hand, is a great Skill to enable on the Alexa App. It is a “Plug and Play” solution for using the D-Link Smart plugs with Alexa control. To be honest, this Skill should have been available for the UK from the very beginning. Then I would not have had to wait for IFTTT to be supported on Alexa and for a solution to become available for Alexa control – which requires you to use the phrase “trigger” for the device you would like to turn on or off (and each of these routines had to be programmed in i.e. separate on and off routines). So obviously I have enabled this Skill on my Alexa App, and would suggest that this is the best option available for the D-Link Smart plugs.