Alexa Trigger Phrase and Alexa Routines (new Alexa feature)

I searched and couldn’t find anything about Amazon Echo’s new Trigger phrase capability, so thought I’d post. Apologies if it’s been discussed elsewhere.

Amazon added the ability to “trigger” activity by using a phrase, rather than just simple turn on and off.

I’m using it now to call my cellphone (“trigger phone”) because I always lose it, and also to turn on heat (“trigger heat”) to 72 degrees when I’m feeling chilled.

Integration with SmartThings is a bit limited at this time, since most of the exposed behavior from ST is activity you turn on or off, but I suspect there may be more that can be done I haven’t thought of, which is why I’m posting this here in the forum.

This too shall be moved on the right thread…:smile: There are ways to fire routines using Alexa. However, Amazon is piloting own routine triggering engine, which will open up new capabilities…in few weeks as ST folks would say.

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The Amazon functionality is live now. And it is new functionality so I thought it would be interesting for the ST folk.

I don’t have the impression folks knew it was live, but I could be mistaken.

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How do you fire a routine with Alexa? That I couldn’t find in a search.

Is not live yet, they took it down, or at least I don’t see it in my app anymore. When I tried it, it didn’t really work but I liked the concept of firing Alexa phrases with a routine. I think that would be very powerful.

You can use virtual switches and an app of your choice to link them to routines. There is an app in Marketplace. I prefer this one:

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Cool. Thanks. Will check it out.

One last thing I did want to note, is that you can lock and unlock doors directly with Alexa, by using a trigger phrase, and connecting it to the ST channel on iFTTT. The channel does have lock, unlock commands.

That was one thing people seemed to really want, because Alexa wouldn’t allow direct locking and unlocking.

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We may be discussing two different things. Are you talking about the new Alexa functionality? Or something specific to ST?

New Echo app routine feature. I played with it the other day, it wasn’t really working and when I checked back last night, setting routine option was gone…

Alexa triggers has been discussed in the Alexa FAQ:

And here’s how to use Echo to run a SmartThings routine, whether you’re using the trigger method or the connected home method:

And triggers have also been discussed at length in my Ifttt project topic:

Quite a few community members have been using them since they were introduced last month. :sunglasses:


The new Alexa functionality that I am talking about is creating routines directly in Echo app. They will be called ‘Routines’ just like in ST universe. @JDRoberts may be making good use of them…

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Right, there are now SmartThings routines and Alexa routines. (Alexa routines are not yet in official release, so you May not have them yet. They just showed up for me one day, no announcement.)

To Have echo execute a SmartThings routine, see the FAQ I linked to above.

To set up an echo routine, you use the echo app.

Basically lets you create a list of several different Alexa commands and then have Alexa do them all with one voice command.


To include a smartthings routine in an echo routine, you would just flip the virtual switch associated with that SmartThings routine in the connected home part of the echo routine.

I’m still working out how I’ll use them, but I’m sure I will. :wink:


@JDRoberts, how did you get that to show up? This is what I see:

I don’t know, it just showed up last week. I haven’t seen an announcement on it yet.

Ok, bummer. I need to be patient I guess…

People on Reddit report seeing it come and go the last few days.

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I was able to play with that feature this weekend, but it’s no longer available for me either. I contacted support and they responded within 15 min after I emailed them saying that I need to call in so they can troubleshoot.

Oh that is new. Haven’t seen those yet.

Hopefully it will be back soon. Maybe with new wake words.

I just looked and the feature is there for me.

Just another way to run scenes with the system. Keeps getting better!

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Still waiting for the ability to make Echo say a custom phrase… that’ll be the killer app part for me.