I wanted to open a new discussion on the Amazon Echo. Many of the existing threads have been obsolesced by the current, official integration, so I thought a fresh start would be a lot less noisy.
First off, let me say the official integration is surprisingly good, right down to me being able to say “Alexa, set the upstairs to 68” and having Alexa respond with “Setting the upstairs heat to 68”. I really wasn’t expecting that from my home rolled Venstar device type.
But as we all know, there are a few desired behaviors missing (and please feel free to point out any errors/omissions on this list)…
1.) Color Control.
While I am currently using scenes called from HAM Bridge via a virtual switch, it would nice to have Alexa handle this directly in some cases.
2.) Thermostat Modes.
I have discovered no way to ask Alexa to change the mode of my HVAC system.
3.) Query Device State/Reports.
This is a big one for me. I really would like to ask Alexa for various states of my devices, and I imagine many would like to have a group of devices the could request a report from (“Alexa, what is my house status”).
It seems pretty clear Alexa is just authorizing and mapping to endpoints, hence the limitations (although the thermostat still was a surprise). How about an authorized/default app, accepting endpoint access that could report the state of things back to Alexa? And adding color control to on/off/dim for color capable devices? Or is this simply too much to ask for given the current state of SmartThings.
Of course, there is the skills route. And while that would certainly allow for better context in query verbiage, it still would require arrival to endpointed apps that would facilitate them.