“Alexa, good morning!”
As the words are spoken, a number of things start to happen. The overhead lights fade up. The living room shades slowly rise. The front TV clicks and the morning news appears onscreen. And another day begins.
Yes, the AI (artificial intelligence) era has arrived at Liberty Coach. Since debuting a prototype at the Liberty Coach Rally in Stuart last January, Liberty programming specialist Alex Konigseder has been working with Crestron, Amazon and other vendors to create a full-blown voice-activated home automation system accessible via Amazon’s popular Alexa virtual assistant.
“Initially, we programmed the system to control lights, shades, and audio and video components,” Alex says. “More recently, we added the ability to control the air conditioning and Espar heating system.” He expects to make more updates and integrate more components in the near future, as well.
In the meantime, Liberty has begun offering Alexa integration as an optional feature on new coaches as well as a customer upgrade on older coaches. Each coach must be individually programmed using the coach owner’s personal Amazon account and equipment (Amazon Echo or equivalent.) The process takes about a day and can be done either in North Chicago or Stuart.
“I prefer to do the programming in person so I can explain all of the functions and usage,” Alex says. “Commands have to be added or edited depending on the year and floorplan of the coach, but once the main programming is done, the setup and install can be completed in about 30 minutes.”
While Alexa is “live” in only a handful of coaches to date, the reaction from customers has been overwhelmingly positive. Consider this email Alex received from one satisfied coach owner.
I just wanted to send you a quick note to tell how truly awesome the Alexa integration is. We are four days into a 3-week trip and my family is just loving it. They pretty much know all the commands already. I know it isn’t hard to grab an iPad and make a change, but to be able to simply speak to Alexa is way more convenient – especially as you walk into the coach with your hands full. It’s simply brilliant.
And it’s getting more brilliant every day, as Liberty pushes ahead on efforts to make the system ever more powerful and effective. Most recently, the system was modified to allow coach owners to personalize it wth their own programming “routines,” like the “Good morning, Alexa” scenario described above. Look for more of the same in the weeks and months to come, as Liberty stakes out new territory on the cutting edge of technology, miles ahead of the competition.