Now that Amazon has stepped forward with better direct access I’ve been having a blast have Alexa respond to things I do. However, now I want to go the other way and ran into a wall.
I would like to say, “Alexa, Alarm Away” and have that trigger a simulated contact sensor so that I can enable the alarm using a webcore piston.
What I’m missing now is in Alexa’s Routine area I can set the command, but none of the simulated contacts sensors appear in THIS side of the Routine lists (they do appear for creating a Routine that triggers a response from Alexa, but not in the device list for routines based on commands given to Alexa by voice.
What am I missing? I have one simulated contact sensor called Alarm Away and other called Alarm Stay. The webcore code is simple as well. What’s left?
Alexa can send a request to smartthings to turn switches on and off. So just have her turn on a virtual switch, and then have that virtual switch coming on initiate whatever you want to have happen on the SmartThings side. See the FAQ:
The new Amazon routines don’t change anything about that except they let you make the trigger phrase be anything you want to use, so you aren’t limited to the old “turn on“ and “turn off“ phrasing.
My confusion was that the two halves of Alexa apparently require two different approaches to getting Alexa Routines to work.
If you want to have Alexa RESPOND in an Alexa Routine then the simulated device needs to be of a very specific type, like a Simulated Contact Sensor or a Simulated Motion Sensor.
However, if you want to give Alexa a SPOKEN command and have it control a device then that device needs to be a very specific DIFFERENT type of device, like a Simulated Switch.
That nuance was confusing. All the recent talk about exactly what kind of simulated device is needed to get this new Alexa functionality going gave me the impression that it was required for ANY Alexa Routine.
Now that I got the distinction, it was just a 20-minute journey to create the new devices, have Alexa Discover them, add them to Webcore and then code a two-line piston (for each state) to get what I was after.
Oddly, the only challenge was in what the Alexa phrase should be! I had in my head, “Alexa, Alarm Stay” to turn on the alarm in Stay mode and, obviously “Alexa, Alarm Away” for the other state. Upon testing it I immediately realized that was a problem when Alexa responded with, “What time do you want to set the alarm for?” Oops. For now I’m using “Alexa, Stay” and “Alexa, Away”, but I’m not sure how intuitive that is for others in the house.