Victor - Echo Dot

For Christmas, in addition to the WeMo switch I also got the Amazon Echo Dot. It's a great device, but it was a little bit complicated to work into my AI setup. Ideally, I would change it's wake word to 'Victor', and be able to add in custom actions, like 'Victor, play [movie] on Netflix'. I quickly learned, however, that this is impossible. So it was time to hack together a solution. I changed the wake word to 'Echo' to avoid having another AI name (Alexa) introduced into the house. Then, I set up a custom skill through Amazon who was triggered by 'Victor'. Commands through Echo to Victor would be handled by a custom Lambda function through AWS, and then pushed into the same 'tasks' pipeline as command sent through Siri from my phone. Instead, it would be triggered like 'Echo, tell Victor to play [movie] on Netflix'.

This is slightly more cumbersome, but has the benefit of still being able to call my AI system Victor. Unfortunately, there's no way to even have it do something like 'Echo, play [movie] on Netflix': all custom skills have to be routed through the name of whatever skill it is. This is great for a consumer product, and makes sense, but is an unnecessary handicap to developers/hackers. Luckily, you can easily deploy custom skills to test on your own personal Echo without having to publish publicly to the store, which would be a nightmare for home automation uses.