Workflow (iOS) App – Automation. Vera Smarter Home Control workout..

As a fan of all things home automation , my interest was tweaked when I heard about an automation app that allows you to do some cool things from scratch on your iOS device. So having spent the last few nights playing with DeskConnect’s Workflow (iOS) app, I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve done.

Before I do that, let me quickly explain what this app does. Workflow allows you to leverage elements of the device along with certain apps to do certain things in a workflow order/sequence. Now not being a developer  I don’t really know how things like variables etc. work and I only have a basic understanding of the IF THIS, THEN do THAT sort of thing. But I was amazed at how quickly I picked things up, as a Workflow can be as little or a long as you need it, and it was  surprisingly straightforward pick up. (All of which is helped by a growing and responsive community, ably supported with ready made Workflows that you can download straight into the app and run)

With the new app in hand the first thing I wanted to do was to see if I could get it to work with my Vera Home Automation controller, and the easiest way to do that looks to be to use Vera HTTP Requests functionality.

So taking the URL to retrieve the temperature value from one of the sensors..

http://vera_ip:3480/data_request?id=variableget&DeviceNum=237&serviceId=urn:upnp-org:serviceId:TemperatureSensor1&Variable=CurrentTemperature&output_format=text

I simply created some ‘Web’ Actions so that the Workflow will first know the required URL, and that it then needs to go and Get Contents of URL, which will result in it knowing the temperature reading of that particular sensor, which in this case is the one in the living room. (See below)

  

To allow us to use (and if needed reuse) that temperature value, well need to tell our Workflow to do a Set Variable action, which allows it to be remembered so it can be called upon later, and we’ll call this new variable ‘TempValue’ (see below)

  It’s at this point you can do what ever you like with that new TempValue variable, e.g. we can compare it to something else, we could email it to someone or we could just do a simple Speak Text, to get the WorkFlow app to tell me what the temperature is. 

To do that, we first have to tell our Workflow what to say and that’s where a simple Text action comes in, within which we pull in that new temp variable so allow the text, and subsequent speech to be dynamic every time we run it. (see below)
  
You just have to love how simple/straight forward that was !!!

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