Anyway to use "And" with alexa for multiple device on/off in one command


(Weston T Turner) #1

Alexa, turn off bedroom light and kitchen light.

Can anyone tell me if the above is doable in any way?

Thank you all for any dialog!!

On a sidenote. I understand routines in smartthings and groups in alexa but this requires the users to have to know the names of said group/ routine. This to me leads to a unnatural feeling.

Currently I have the “Ask Alexa” smartapp setup also. So maybe it could help me achieve this? (I’m not sure)


AskAlexa Smartapp question regarding invocation name (any possibility of not using an invocation name?)
[RELEASE] Ask Alexa
EchoSistant and Ask Alexa
(Dave Gutheinz) #2

There are two ways. In the Alexa App, you can create groups of devices with a unique name. Then you can do this in one command. This does not affect other commands.

You could also create two Smart Things Automations, one to turn on and one to turn off. Then call these individually from Alexa.

For your specific case, the Alexa grouping is most convenient. The Automations come about if you want to do things based on events (like Alexa turn on Sleeping - that will turn off all household lights, some fans, set the thermostat to 70, etc). These are fairly powerful native ways to do a lot of things very quickly. Of course, there are other, non-native means, but…


#3

for your invacation question: you don’t have to say ‘ask smartthings’, what I say now is ‘alexa turn on [name of the device as listed on your smartthings app]’

[I think I misunderstood earlier question] by ‘ask alexa’ you mean the ‘ask alexa’ smartthings app? if so than nevermind invocation would be needed, I dont’ use the ‘ask alexa’ smartthings app, I use the built in integration so invocation is not neeeded]

if the name is fairly unique you don’t have to say the complete title, e.g. kitchen light with dimmer, if you only have have one device named ‘kitchen light with dimmer’ you could just say you could say ‘alexa turn off [light]’ but if you have multiple items such as entrance light, backyard light, stairs light, etc then you need to be more specific, alexa turn on [backyard light]

to do and commands grouping as metioned works…also consider using Echosistant
checkout the youtube demo [DEPRECATED] EchoSistant Evolved ~ Amazon Echo's Only Assistant with Robust Scheduling and Flexible Reporting


#4

Like @Gutheinz stated you would need to create groups for multiple things. Alexa doesn’t do well with multiple items in a request. I have several groups just for that reason. My groups for example; all lights group-all lights on my system;upstairs-all the lights upstairs;both dots-upstairs and downstairs dots combined. You create the groups in the Amazon Alexa app.

You can use askAlexa to run ST routines or CoRE. Add the things to the routines or CoRE and just tell Alexa to run the routine.

Alexa can control certain directly also. In that case, you would not need to say ask/tell smartthings. "Alexa, turn on lamp: she replies “ok” & it’s on.


(Glen King) #5

My main device groups are as follows:

  • downstairs: includes all downstairs lights, along with a smart tv.
  • bar: includes all lights around the bar
  • living room: includes all lights in the living room
  • studio: includes a few smart plugs, along with a smart bulb

There is some overlap.

“Alexa, turn off downstairs” is what I say every night when we’re off to bed. Works perfectly.


(Weston T Turner) #6

Well I guess I should explain a little more of what I’m running into. Randomly alexa stopped responding to “open/ close” the garage door and now it makes me say “turn/ off” the garage door which makes no sense in natural language.

I am now trying to find a workaround which I assume is the askalexa smart app… But I don’t want to use an invocation name because that is also unnatural in my opinion.


#7

I changed the invocation name in my askAlexa app to house instead of smartthings. Saying “alexa, tell smartthings to…” is a little odd and I get better results saying house. Mine is now “alexa, tell house…”. For example saying tell house goodnight runs my ST goodnight routine, saying tell house good morning runs my good morning routine. It’s more like having Alexa talk to the house for me instead of it talking to a thing in a cloud somewhere.

To control lights, I just say the light or the group I want. “Alexa, turn on/off lamp (or all lights/upstairs/etc)” Same with Nest. No invocation word is needed at all.

There are a lot of unnatural methods of sending commands, but we are talking to a thing and not a person. IFTTT can be very unnatural in the way you need to say commands.


(Jason "The Enabler" as deemed so by @Smart) #8

Stay tuned to EchoSistant… Who knows what the future may bring?


(Micheal ) #9

@Wtstreetglow Looks like most of your questions have been answered, but let me see if I can give my two cents as well.

Right now, natively you can not do this. You CAN create a group with the two items in there and then they will react appropriately. In Ask Alexa you can also do the same thing and add two or more devices to a Device Group and control them with ONE command. And, either this week or next I will be publishing a new extension that expands on this to a whole room…so you want to turn on every device in a room…just tell Alexa to turn on the room name and devices will go to the settings, colors you designate. The same concept will hold true for doors and locks (open/close room, lock/unlock room,etc). I think this is a more elegant solution than adding compound commands to the instructions. This will just go to confuse Alexa (however, you question will motivate me to look into this a bit more).

As for the invocation name, I use “SmartThings” as just an example…as outlined above, you CAN use other words that feel more natural. However, you can not just eliminate the need for the invocation word as that is how Alexa activates the Ask Alexa skill.

Hope this answers your questions.


(Jason "The Enabler" as deemed so by @Smart) #10

@Wtstreetglow

Hello and great question. It has been asked a lot in the past. I would love to be able to say something like, Alexa, turn on the lights in the kitchen and turn off the ceiling fan in the LivingRoom. But I want to do it without having to create a bunch of different macros and things that restrict you. What if next time I just want to turn on the lights in the kitchen and turn off the fireplace? Ours live are too dynamic to be restricted to having to make rules. Things should just work.

EchoSistant created the rooms concept almost a year ago. There are no multiple installs of the app, you just spend two minutes creating a skill and configure the room.

For example, the “bedroom”…

You can say things like,
Alexa, turn on the lights in the bedroom.
Alexa, turn off the ceiling fan in the bedroom.
Alexa, make it darker in the bedroom.

You can have sub groups within that room…
Alexa, turn on the bed lights in the bedroom.

And then there is feedback…
Alexa, are there any lights on in the bedroom?
Alexa, is there anyone in the bedroom?
Alexa, what is the temperature in the bedroom?
Alexa, is the ceiling fan on in the bedroom?

EchoSistant can do all of this and more, now!

There is an update coming soon to the app that adds even more features and natural tones to your Alexa devices.

And some time in the not so far off future is an update that is going make the rest of the Alexa apps look like old toys.


(Weston T Turner) #11

@Smartphi Yeah, I was talking about in the “AskAlexa” app. I was trying to see if there was a way to get around the invocation name.

I was using the built in integration but for some reason my garage door stopped responding to “Alexa, close the garage door” and I had to start saying “Alexa, turn off the garage door.” It worked fine for months and then yesterday it started doing that…

So now I am trying to find a workaround to fix that issue and it’s looking like it is “AskAlexa” but I just don’t like having to use the invocation name.


(Weston T Turner) #12

@tpip

I definitely see your points with what you are saying. Maybe I’ll just change mine to house also. That doesn’t sound as stupid. haha


(Weston T Turner) #13

@bamarayne

Do you know more than you are wanting to say… haha


(Weston T Turner) #14

@MichaelS

Oh wow. You’re the one that wrote what I am using (“AskAlexa”)

I am so impressed with what you have built. It is helping me get around some of the quirkiness with my smart home system.

Thank you for all of the hard work you have shared with all of us. I am so thankful.

Also, I see your idea and I could see the idea of room control being more “elegant”. I guess I feel like there are alot of instances where I am wanting to turn on or off a few devices throughout my house that really have little relationship to each other. And most “non techies” don’t want to use specific routine names/ group names because they can’t remember all of the different possibilities that could exist. (Makes the smart home less friendly, I guess is what I’m trying to say)


(Weston T Turner) #15

@bamarayne

So echosistant can handle the “and” operator to seperate 2 devices and do the corresponding command?


(Micheal ) #16

I completely get it. That is really why Ask Alexa exists…I (a techie) was frustrated by the limited power of the native integration. I built it, first and foremost, for myself, but found thousands who also installed it and enjoyed it as well.


(Jason "The Enabler" as deemed so by @Smart) #17

Yes, I know way more than I’m saying… Lol… Maybe. Some here would argue I’m clueless… But I did write EchoSistant…

Anyway, what you’re talking about above is the exact reason that EchoSistant was born. Who wants to remember what to say? Not this guy!

The free speech engine in EchoSistant allows you to talk to Alexa the way you talk. There is not a rigid format, or specific phrases… Just talk.

Alexa, it’s too dark in the kitchen
Alexa, make it brighter in the kitchen
Alexa, turn on the lights in the kitchen
Alexa, turn the lights on in the kitchen

All of those work… They turn on the lights.
And the best part, you don’t have to create a bunch of macros to make it work. Just create the kitchen profile and skill, and you’re done.

These speech patterns have been copied, but even then you have to remember the exact phrases you had to configure. While it may sound the same, it’s not even close.

You want things to just work. So do I.

Follow the link below and watch the videos in the second post. Those videos are about 5 months old and they show what ES could do then… .


(Jason "The Enabler" as deemed so by @Smart) #18

No, the current version does not. Sorry… But it may be possible in the near future.


(Jason "The Enabler" as deemed so by @Smart) #19

@Wtstreetglow

Not sure if I mentioned this or not , but in EchoSistant you have no invocation, per se…

Instead of…
Alexa, ask smartthings to turn on the kitchen lights…

You say…
Alexa, turn on the lights in the kitchen.

No flash briefing needed. Plus, you can set up your room to do all kinds of things… Turn things on and off, set modes, lock doors… Whatever you want.


(Weston T Turner) #20

@bamarayne

Hmmm. Interesting. I will give all of those videos a watch. Is there an easy way to be updated when you drop a update that just “may” include such a feature. Haha. I guess I can subscribe to the post you linked.