HCS Commands

Our Home Control System (HCS) accepts commands and queries as structured messages that are both machine and human readable. The interface is case insensitive. These are not very user friendly though, so we have developed a natural language interface, which enables more natural dialogue with our Smarthome. This interface works with web apps, web browser, XMPP, SMS, etc. Basically any communications transport technology. We are currently working on a speech recognition interface that lets us talk to our home to control and query it, with it using text-to-speech to respond.

Most commands don't have to spoken as full English structured sentences and our home will also accept simpler 'keyword' commands, e.g. 'alarm' or 'notify' will return the current status. The 'source' of each command is usually the user that invoked the command. when we last counted, our HCS accepted over 90 distinct commands and queries.


Enables control of our home alarm system.


  • alarm reports alarm status
  • alarm on
  • alarm = off

Bath & Shower

The service supports queries as to whether their is enough hot water for a bath or shower. As part of this project we can quantify the volume of hot water in the tank as a percentage and this is stored in the database.


  • Is there enough how water for a bath?
  • Is there enough hot water for a shower?
  • How much hot water is there?
  • Is there any hot water?


Our HCS monitors battery levels in all battery powered sensors and our 12V UPS. It can report these back when queried and also sends SMS alarms when battery levels drop below preset values.


  • Batteries?
  • front door battery

Dawn, Dusk, Sunrise & Sunset

Our HCS supports queries about the alarm status and the ability to set the alarm on or off.


Our HCS can report the status of all doors, each door individually or which doors are open.


Our HCS can report back all of the errors logged during the day.


The service supports queries for today's and tomorrow's weather forecast.


The heating command enables or disables the heating system in our home. The actual climate control (i.e. temperature control) is done by an intelligent controller.


  • Heating on
  • Disable heating

Hot Water & Hot Water Heater

The 'Hot Water' object enables or disables hot water heating in our home. The 'Hot Water Heating' is a separate object that is intelligently controlled and in the future be aware of a solar water heater.

Our HCS supports queries about the 'Hot Water' status and controls to enable or disable it.

Our HCS also supports requests to control the 'Hot Water Heating' and also supports '+30', '+60' and '+90' commands to extend the 'Hot Water Heating' by the defined number of minutes.

It also suppors queries about the amount of hot water available in the hot water tank. This is determined using temperature sensors on the hot water tank.

House Status

The service supports queries about the house status and the ability to set the house status to in, out, away or auto.

Mains Power

Our Home Control System (HCS) knows if the mains power is on off and stores the date and time of power failure and restoration, so that this can reported.


The service can report on the status of our Internet network connections (FTTC and FTTP) and last recorded speed test results.

Notify & Notifications

Query and switch ../../plans/hcs/index.php#notifications" class="xref">notifications on or off. These are things that we want to monitor remotely and result in ../../plans/hcs/index.php#alerts" class="xref">alerts being sent.

Command,<source>,Notify,On | Off

Open / Locked / Unlocked

Our HCS can report doors and windows that are currently open. This includes locked/unlocked status where sensors are fitted.


The Panic scene is a recognised command but this can also be invoked by a panic button near the front door and at other locations in our home.


Our HCS can report events around the perimeter of our home in the last 24 hours. This includes external doors, gates and the shed.


Our HCS can report when the letter box was last opened and whether any post has been delivered today.


Our HCS can report on the mains power status and the remaining battery capacity of the 12V UPS.


With the addition of presence detection to our home, we can now answer queries about who is at home.

Recent Activity

Our HCS can report recent (significant) activity in and around the home.


This command reloads all the XML configuration files.



This command resets the alarm, the zones and all sensors (resets all timeouts).



Scene requests are recognised, such as 'Good Morning' and 'Good Night'.


  • Goodnight
  • Good morning
  • Panic
  • what was that? - runs a sequence of events to help determine what just happened in and around our home

Send / Email

Our HCS can send (via email) information and files. This includes current logs.


  • Send log


Our HCS supports a summary request. This delivers a subset of the activity log into cloud storage (for remote access) or via other delivery methods. This includes errors, warnings, battery levels, commands received, etc.


  • Summary


Our HCS supports a number of test commands. This includes things like the alarm, alarm sounders and sensors. We can also send test ../../plans/hcs/index.php#alerts" class="xref">alerts over XMPP and SMS.


Our HCS can report back all of the warnings logged during the day.


The service supports queries about the local weather and reports values from our weather sensors.


  • What is the weather like today?
  • And tomorrow?


Our HCS knows which family members are in the house and can report this information.


  • Who is in the house?
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