[DEPRECATED] Ask Alexa 2.2.6

Ok…Final question…You activate the good morning routine via Alexa, or is Alexa even involved in this equation?

No, I use ActionTiles on my tablet to activate my routines. Sorry, should have clarified that. However, I do use webCoRE if setting up a piston would help communicate with Ask Alexa…

ok…but you DO have an Alexa…is the goal to output to the same tablet device or for all of the output to go to Alexa? (Sorry…THIS should be my last question :))

Yes, I have two Echos. I would prefer the output to go to the tablet.

Ask Alexa was really designed to send the output TO Alexa specifically based on a command. While sending your output to the tablet isn’t impossible, it is a bit more work. If you are up for it (and you are willing to change your processes a little) we can get this to work.

First, the assumption is that you change your house mode when you run your good morning routine.

Second, you will set up a message queue with the tablet device as the output.

Create your weather reports and then create a schedule. Here is where it gets interesting and I need to set proper expectations. Since schedules are based on time and not events, you will want to set up a range of time where you typically run your good morning routine. For example, if you always run it between 7 and 8 am, I would set up an a complex, every-minute schedule but set up the restrictions to only have it ‘active’ on the certain days of the week between 7 and 8 am. I would then also set up a restriction for the mode (if it truly changes when you run your routine).

So the process flow would be this: you get up, activate your morning routine…this changed the mode, which then activates the schedule. Within a minute the weather report runs and plays through the speaker. Now, here is where it is interesting…it will play EVERY minute during the time frame. The resolve to this could be to simply tell Alexa to turn off the schedule (after you hear the report), or have some sort of ancillary mode that you press a button on your tablet once you hear the report.

Again, this is NOT really how Ask Alexa was designed, but this is possible with a little change to your workflow. You have given me some interesting ideas about scheduling and outputs, but see if this makes sense for you and let me know if I need to clarify anything. I will also continue to noodle on this a bit…Talking Alarm Clock (my other app) would be perfect for this if your tablet appears to be a Sonos speaker to SmartThings. If it does, then this will work. If not, I am planning an update to this app eventually to utilize the Alexas as output devices.

That’s…interesting. Haha. I guess with all the talk of Alexa’s new features I was hoping for more of a push notification type of thing. I will still give this method a shot and see how it works for me. Thanks for putting in the time to assist!

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Oh…push is coming…probably NOT what you envision with the speaker randomly talking to you without input, but probably a green light and a tone…This will take you to the message queues.

However, if you REALLY want to change your process (and keep commands simple) you could use the flash briefing feature. Once set up you simple say “Alexa, flash briefing” and it can run your routine plus give you a weather report in real time. Not through your tablet, but this would give you a real time response to your actions…

Thanks for the feedback.

Hmm, that sounds like a simpler method that could work for me. Thanks for the suggestion.

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For those interested, I have today released an update to my FREE Ecobee Suite that now integrates your Ecobee Alerts and Reminders with Ask Alexa Message Queues. You can find more information here:

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Barry,

Thanks for being such a great supporter of Ask Alexa and the functionality I have put in there. There are some good things being produced by this community!

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Maybe I missed something but is there a difference between askAlexa and Alexa Helper apps? There seem to accomplish the same tasks but I could be overlooking the differences. If askAlexa is installed will be Alexa Helper be needed and visa versa?

It really depends on your needs and how you want the integration to work. Alexa Helper works WITH the native SmartThings integration (via virtual switches) to give you more control over items that the Alexa can not natively control like routines with locks or door controls. It does NOT improve the feedback from Alexa on your household items.

Ask Alexa, on the other hand, can REPLACE your native integration, but the caveat is that you must put the skill name into the command (i.e. Alexa tell SmartThings to open the door). The huge advanatge if you need it is that you can have real time custom reports about your devices and household.

Let me know if you that helps at all…

That helps clear it up some. It starts to get confusing with a variety of apps that do similar things but slightly differently ie Echosistant, Alexa Helper, and askAlexa.

I updated Lambda code and can run macros again. As soon as I can get my Nest manager to start playing nice again my current setup should be usable for me with askAlexa.

Excellent…glad to hear it. And yes…there is a similarity on the surface with these, and the difference is really what YOU want to do in your environment. NST Manager is a partner to Ask Alexa, so that is a good combination to put together.

Even for myself I have completely replaced Alexa Helper in my household. And WebCoRE eliminated a need for my OWN app for bathroom ventilation, so I literally only have a few apps in my IDE!

It’s funny that the developer has replaced his own app for another developer’s app. Along the same line, if Amazon ever starts to actually work on Alexa apps that integrate better with ST then that might make the community developer made apps obsolete.

You know, you are the 5th person to say that this week, and people are always surprised by my answer…I HOPE SO! While this is all ‘fun’ for me, I don’t have my ego or life wrapped into doing these. I actually enjoy programming and more specifically, creating something that others find useful. That being said, I am a user of my own app in the case of Alexa and at the end of the day, that is really who I made this for. But, if my stuff was just a duplication of what Amazon was doing (without a value add), I would really need to take a good look in the mirror to see WHY I would be doing this.

A good point is the bathroom ventilation app I wrote a couple years ago…When Core came along and gave me an opportunity to eliminate one of my apps, I jumped at the chance as I try to keep things clean and simple. I already used Core for other automations, so it was a natural progression to get it to duplicate what I coded. I am always pleased we have developers like Adrian in our midst as I just want my home automation to work the way it should without me having to ‘fiddle’ with it all of the time.

Thanks for installing the app and the feedback!

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I’ve been waiting for Amazon to roll out useful apps that integrate with ST since I got my dots. It seems they are more concerned with adding more features than improving what’s there, which is understandable since they have to compete with GH and soon Apple.

As a non-programmer, this is not fun for me. It’s frustrating.

You’re doing an excellent job and I can’t thank you (and the other community developers enough) for making ST, Alexa, Nest and other things a usable system.

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Did you ever get this working?

For those that have 2.2.6, I have updated the schedules app. Read more here: [RELEASE] Ask Alexa

I have updated the apps to 2.2.7. Includes WebCoRE compatibility:

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