Amazon Echo

Now if harmony would just give us access to specific button presses (device commands) without using activities.


The official announcement from Amazon -

Create IFTTT phrase triggers
IFTTT stands for “IF This, Then That” and is a service that connects your favorite devices, apps, and websites with simple rules called ‘recipes’. You can now choose your own Alexa phrases to trigger an IFTTT recipe. For example, you can create a recipe to call your phone, and then if you’ve misplaced your phone, you can say “Alexa, trigger find my phone.” Learn more about IFTTT and the popular recipes for Alexa.

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Still something we are asking ourselves how it should work.

^^ This would be fantastic if it ever happened.


Set up Harmony and it works great. What is the best practice for turning off? I’ve set one up for TV but do I need one for each activity?

There are different ways to set it up, but the easiest is one for each activity plus one recipe to end an activity that controls whatever your master power device is. In my case that’s my TV. But for somebody else it might be the sound bar or the cable box or whatever.

You can see how I did it way back in the very first iteration of my project in August, when I was using IFTTT recipes, but with smartthings virtual switches. The recipes would be the same except they would be triggered by the Alexa trigger phrase instead of the virtual switch.

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We’d love to be participate in the discussion.

Not to be flippant, but it doesn’t seem particularly complicated except that Routines & Modes do not have IDs (except their names, right?), and are not Authorized like Devices. Any SmartApp (and, therefore, any web service) can access any Routine and any Mode.

Guess the long term solution would be to make Routines and Modes more like Devices; but I’ve said this a dozen times: Mode should be a Capability, then every Location could have a master Device with Capability Mode (that would be easy to share with IFTTT, Echo, etc.), and other ad hoc Mode Devices for various use cases.


Do you have a link to this Recipe?

Yup, here ya go

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Finally got an Echo today. I’m so impressed with how well it works for controlling lights. Seriously rethinking my use of motion sensors to trigger lights in certain parts of the house as a result.

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Echo has become our primary means of light control. The fact that a light can be in as many different groups as you like is really nice, too. Everybody who comes to our house likes it.


Thanks for the self destruct that was fun. Haha

What phrase are you using now to open the garage?

I just say, “Alexa, open the garage door”… and she’s says ok.

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I get her to open the garage that way probably 85+% of the time… but: what happens if the garage is open and you say the phrase?

My integration plan will only open it if it’s closed.

Any benefit to using ifttt over the virtual buttons, I can already forsee my wife forgetting to say trigger if I remove the virtual button set up. So far as dumb as it sounds Alexa turn on tv with virtual switches is working great, I’m worried if I remove those I’m gonna hear a ton of grief, and no matter how many times I say just say trigger, she’s gonna say, i don’t like it!

Why would you say the phrase if the door is already open (I mean, unless you’re in testing mode or whatever)?

You’re not going to play unsafe and open the door when you’re not even there physically to manage the security of that space, are you?

I know a lot of people just simply click the button as they’re leaving the driveway and count on their automated system to alert them if it didn’t close, or when they are coming down the street on their way home, but I would never do either.

Every time I leave, I specifically sit there and watch to make sure it actually fully closes, and I wait an extra second to make sure it doesn’t bounce back open or something. If I didn’t do that, how would I know for sure that somebody (or some other type of animal) didn’t jump in while it was closing, and isn’t in there causing havoc? Of course, we have motion detectors, etc, but still. Those mechanisms won’t do anything if the person knows they have 5 minutes to grab this or that and scram, or if it’s an animal going crazy in the garage.

One time, while I was going from the car to the door to the house while letting the garage door close behind me, for some reason, I turned to look back at the closing door, and just at that moment, a cat came in when there was just barely enough room for it to fit under the door. I had to open it up and scare it back out. I could only imagine what may have happened in there if I hadn’t noticed it come in.

Then, I know we can now be alerted to the fact of an open door when we’re gone, but for me, that functionality will only be secondary…not something I will rely on to enable myself to leave 10 seconds faster. It’s just not worth it. I want to know, for sure, that the door is fully closed, and that nothing got in that I don’t want in there before I take off.

Also, when coming down the street on my way home, what if somebody else is there, waiting for me, and pops in right as it’s opening and I don’t see them? They could easily hide somewhere in there and jump out at me after I have pulled the car in and closed the door.

I know these are extreme examples, and most people are going to belittle such concerns, but they do so at their own peril. I could cite plenty of real-world examples where this has actually happened, and I don’t want to ever add to the statistics with my own experience.

p.s. Of course, I may have completely missed the context before this soapbox stand, and if so, I’m truely sorry. I just saw the words, “what happens if the garage is open and you say the phrase?”, and the only thing that came to mind was somebody opening their garage door while they were coming down the street on their way home from work. Exhausted from work, not paying attention to their surroundings, and potentially walking right into a trap. So, in light of my genuine concern, please forgive me if I’m way off.

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If the garage is open I say, “Alexa, close the garage door”

how have you got it set up?

I personally will probably use a mixture of both ifttt and virtual buttons. Some commands will just sound better saying turn on and turn off but others make no sense with the turn on turn off and trigger may sound better.
Whatever keeps you wife happy is what you should do :wink:


“Sending that to Iftttt”

What is that?

Why can’t she just say “OK” like she does everywhere else?

Has your spouse complained about this response? Is there a way to change Alexa’s reply?