Amazon Echo, SmartThings Hub, Arlo Pro cameras

I have just received the SmartThings hub and one multipurpose sensor and outlet. My goal is simply voice control for most functions, although eventually I will start using the MP sensor and motion sensors, and even time of day for other activations and deactivations…

I set the Echo, SmartThings hub and the outlet to work with a light. So, turning the light on and off by voice works just fine. Cool.

I also integrated the SmartThings hub and Arol Pro cameras. There doesn’t appear to be a list of commands, and the way the rules are set up, it just lets me know if it detects motion or sound, and sends me a notification on my smart phone. I can turn the two outside camersa off, and I can turn them on.

Frankly, that doesn’t help me. I leave them on all the time, and either view the camera feeds live from time to time, or arm/disarm (but leave them on). I can’t seem to do that from the SmartThings app, much less the Echo, so I think it’s a wash. Thoughts?

I also have a smart Honeywell Thermostat that already is integrated independantly from the SmartThings, so no need to touch that. I have two LiftMaster wifi enabled garage door openers currently managed my MyQ apps, but that doesn’t seem supported.

Also, I’m going to ask the Echo community as well, but when you connect with a SmartThings “device”, what voice commands are available?

Totally confused but I’ll get it eventually.

If you just want voice control of the Arlo, you can do that with just the echo, the Arlo, and the free IFTTT service. You don’t need to involve smartthings at all. :sunglasses:

The Arlo channel has options for arming, disarming, and start recording:

Alexa devices have built-in IFTTT integration. So you use that IFTTT channel/service to define whatever phrase you want to say. The only thing is that you have to say “trigger” to start the phrase so that the echo will know that it’s an IFTTT command.

So you can create an IFTTT applet using Alexa as the “IF” and Arlo as the “that.”

After that, when you say something like

“Alexa, trigger the front porch camera” then the camera would start recording.


“Alexa, trigger arming the front porch camera”

Or whatever verbal phrase you want, it’s just that you have to start each time with “trigger” so Alexa will recognize it as an IFTTT request.

SmartThings also has an IFTTT channel/service , so you can use the same “trigger” format with it. But it also has a separate official echo integration which means you don’t have to use the trigger word. However, in that case, the only options for an Echo-recognized SmartThings device are “turn on/off/dim.” Or “set” for a thermostat. So “Alexa, turn on the front porch Light” or whatever. There isn’t anything more to it than that. From Alexa’s point of view, you’re basically just turning things on and off.

Where the magic happens is that smartthings allows you to create a “virtual switch.” And you could have that switch turning on trigger anything that smart things can do, including Mode changes, arming the SmartThings security features, unlocking the door, etc. Echo still thinks it’s just turning the switch on and off, but smartthings recognizes that switch coming on as the initiator for anything else that the smartthings system can do. :sunglasses: And a virtual switch doesn’t exist in the real world – – it’s just a bit of code associated with your account. So you could have dozens of them if you want and they don’t cost you anything.

So lots of different ways to do things. But if you just want voice control of Arlo, I think I would look at the IFTTT options first. And with that method, you can make the verbal command any phrase you want, it just has to begin with “trigger.” The actions you’ll be able to initiate with that phrase are defined in the “action” part of the IFTTT service/channel for that particular device.

Oh, and here’s the FAQ for creating a virtual device if you want to start playing around with those:

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Well, after playing around a bit with the IFTTT approach, I ended up going back to the original SmartThings/Arlo integration, and let the Amazon Echo discover the 2 outside cameras and the camera hub (I guess to set off the siren). That’s a bit limiting to On/Off, but it works. The IFTTT connection “If Echo then Arlo” worked but could be way too laggy, or often just didn’t do what I wanted on the first command. Using “Trigger” in the vocabulary wasn’t very intuitive for any of us either. Ok, so we’re back with SmartThings controlling the Arlo cameras for now, and hope there is a more fine tuned integration in the future.

That said, is there a way to trigger Alexa to speak a phrase if the camera detects motion? Right now all I can do is turn them on, but I don’t see an event handler if motion is detected…

There isn’t any way to make echo speak a specific phrase through the native integration. That’s called text to speech (TTS) or push audio, and many people would like to see it, but Amazon just hasn’t opened up that capability yet.

There are two different community-created smartapps that can do it, and they are quite popular with community members who have a strong technical background, but the setup is pretty complicated. Among other things, you have to sign up for an Amazon developer’s account. One is called askAlexa and the other is EchoSistant. Both significantly expand what you can do with echo.

If you’d like to find out more about these, they are both listed on the “voice” list in the project report section of the community – created wiki.

JDRoberts, I’m not worried about complexity once I get a handle on how it all connects and the limits of various integrations. I’m also looking into pushing the Arlo camera video camera displays to a wireless TV (don’t know if that’s possible). It’s actually been fun now that I understand a bit more after a few days, to start working out real world use cases. Wish I could package them up and make them available…I’m a former software developer/large IT system manager and now that I’m recently retired have a lot of time on my hands. This has been an extraordinary distraction for me!

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