EchoSistant - How to use the powerful Alexa Assistant

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(Bobby) #1

EchoSistant 4.0 is a powerful utility app for Alexa enabled devices. While its Wiki page does a great job of covering basic capabilities, it just provides users with minimum knowledge to get them started.

I created this thread for people to share use cases, common phrases, and general tips for others to discover what EchoSistant can do…

Grab the new app fom HERE

You can find some good tips here:

How to use the Voice Activated Settingsclick here

How to use (some) Security Featuresclick here

How to get things done fasterclick here

How to use the continuation module to avoid annoyancesclick here

How to activate Hue Scenes and colored lightsclick here

How to set remindersclick here

And for a hands on demonstration, watch this videoclick here

Let’s make Alexa work for us, together…


[DEPRECATED] EchoSistant Version 4.0 ~ Evolved
[DEPRECATED] EchoSistant Version 4.0 ~ Evolved
(Bobby) #2

How to Use multiple Harmony Hubs

EchiSistant requires NO virtual switches to run Harmony activities. It ONLY requires the Harmony (connect) app to add the hubs to the ST environment.

After installing EchoSistant, head to the ‘Main Home Control’ page and click on Select Devices.

Add your hubs under the ‘Allow These Media Controlers’. Note, selection ORDER is very important. FIRST selected hub becomes your MAIN hub. (the additional hubs will be used with additional Profiles).

To use your MAIN hub, you can say:

Alexa turn the TV on/off IN my Home*
Or
Alexa tell my Home* to turn the TV on/off

To use a specific activity name, simply say:
Alexa, turn on/start/ switch to < activity name > IN my Home
OR
Alexa tell my Home to turn on/start/switch to < activity name >

To use a secondary hub with a Profile

Create a Message and Control Profile and select the hub under the ‘Create Groups and Control Devices’ page.

to use the secondary hub, all you need is to say:

Alexa turn the TV on/off in the Profile
OR Alexa tell the Profile to to turn on/off the TV

Note, the Profile control engine is based on parsing free text, so it has more limited capabilities than Main Skill - controling activities by name is not currently supported.

For both the MAIN hub and the PROFILE hub, when the ‘TV’ turns off, it saves the activity name, so next time when you give the command to ‘turn the TV on’, it starts the activity you last turned off.

*assumes the ‘my Home’ is the MAIN SKILL’s invocation prhrase


[DEPRECATED] EchoSistant Version 4.0 ~ Evolved
[DEPRECATED] Smartthings + Alexa + Harmony Hub -- 2017 Guide
[DEPRECATED] EchoSistant Version 4.0 ~ Evolved
(Bobby) #3

How to schedule reminders

EchoSistant comes with the ability of scheduling various reminders…

The Main Skill has the ability to remind you when you need to change your HVAC filters…via audio or text notification.

By default it is set to schedule the reminder for 90 days (to change the default, head to your app, click Main Home Control, then Change Defaults - here you can set the number of days you’d like to be reminded to change the filters AND also you can select on what speaker(s) or phone (s) the reminder will be delivered to.

To activate the reminder, just say:

Alexa, I changed the filters in my Home
OR
Alexa tell my Home, I changed the filters

Alexa will confirm the date and time of your scheduled reminder…

The Profile Skill is capable of scheduling FREE TEXT reminders.

To use the Profile reminders:

First you need to create a Massaging and Control Profile. Next, select how you want the reminder message to be delivered (audio or text - via ‘Send these Message Types…’ page).

Next, select the visual alerts via ‘Select Location and Device Actions’ - I personally like to flash lights when a reminder is due.

There are 3 slots available for custom reminders on each Profile.

To schedule a reminder say:

Alexa tell Profile to schedule a reminder (or remind me) to < reminder text >

Alexa will then ask for how long… acceptable answers are : x minutes or x hours or x days

…to check your scheduled reminders say:
Alexa ask Profile what reminders …(I have OR do I have)

… to cancel a reminder say:
Alexa tell Profile to cancel reminder one, or two or three. Also, you may say, Alexa cancel reminder to if you can remember the EXACT text of the reminder. Asking Alexa what reminders do you have, makes things easier to know which slot you want to cancel or what reminder text you used.

Let me know if you have an idea on how to improve the reminders…


#4

With a little adjust this could be used to remind me to give my dog his monthly heartworm pill.


(Bobby) #5

If you already have a profile, you can do it right now.

Just say,

You: Alexa tell Profile Name to set reminder to give the dog his monthly pill
Alexa: for how long
You: 30 days
Alexa: ok, I have scheduled reminder to give the dog his monthly pill in 30 days

I just didn’t get a chance to work on recurring reminders…But is on my to do list, for sure…


(Bobby) #6

How to ask Alexa for feedback about your home…

Alexa how many lights are on/off in my home?
Alexa how many doors are open in my home?
Alexa how many devices have low batteries in my home?
Alexa how many devices are inactive in my home?

The ‘how many’ type of questions give you a number (of devices), but Alexa knows that you may be interested in a list of devices, so as a follow up, Alexa asks if you would like to know which devices. Just say ‘Yes’ and Alexa reads the names of your devices.

Of course you can get to the list of devices, directly. Just ask Alexa which lights are on, or which doors are open, etc…

If you want to know temperatures, just ask Alexa, what temperature is in my Home or maybe you need a quick feel of the temperatures outside, if you say Alexa ask my home about the outdoor temperature, Alexa will give you the low/high temperature for the day, and the most current reading at one or more outdoor sensors (if you have more than one outdoor sensor, Alexa provides you with the average temperature).

Other quick status updates:

Alexa, is my thermostat running in my home?
Alexa is the garage door open in my home?
Alexa who is here in my home
Alexa is daddy present in my Home.

EchoSistant has ‘trained’ Alexa to respond to general questions like what, how many, who…and tell me about…


(Jason "The Enabler" as deemed so by @Smart) #7

You can also…

Alexa, ask home is Daddy at home?
Alexa, ask home what is the temperature upstairs?

Try asking different questions in different ways. You’ll like how Alexa now interacts with you.


(Bobby) #8

If you like in depth weather updates as much as I do, then EchoSistant can serve you up the right amount of details when you need it.

No longer need to listen to the current weather conditions when you ask Alexa what temperature is outside. – Just ask Hone what temperature is outside.

No longer need to listen how the weather is today, if you only want to know what the weather would be tomorrow. – Just ask Home how’s the weather tomorrow.

No longer need to listen to lengthy weather forecast if you only want to know what chances of rain are today or tomorrow or even in the next hour. And yes, EchoSistant can provide hourly weather updates via Alexa when prompted or via a remote speaker when scheduled via Notifications Add-on

If you want to get specific weather information from Alexa, all you need is to install Echosistant and ask Alexa. Alexa will privide feedback based on the location coordinates if your hub. If, for some reason your location is not the location you want the weather info to be provided, then head to the Main Home Control page, then select Defaults and scroll down. You could change the weather to metric system or select a zip code of your choice.

If you like real time weather updates. Then the Notification Add-on is for you.

There are two options:

Weather Alerts, which deliver a short name description and the expiration time of selected alerts issued by the National Weather Service.

After installing the add on, head to ‘Configure Profiles’, then select ‘View and Create Notification Profiles’. From there, pick one or more alerts that matter most to you and click done to activate.

The next weather notification alert type, is the hourly forects changes. This allows you to get alerts (audio or text) of hourly forecast changes for one or all of the following four elements:

Once an option is selected, an hourly notification will be delivered ONLY when the forecast is updated.

Alexa is also able to deliver both weather notification when prompted. Just ask:

Alexa ask Home if there are any weather alerts in my area?

OR

Alexa ask Home if there are any forecast/weather changes OR changes in forecast or however it feels natural for you to ask. EchoSistant should be able to handle it.

Here are more details about the EchoSistant Weather 2.0 release.


What is in your smartapp arsenal?
(Bobby) #9

Scheduling (recurring events) like a pro with EchoSistant 4.1

The new version of Notification & Reporting Add-on has introduced the only ST app that offers an easy way to use Cron Expressions.

To use this new feature, you must install EchoSistant 4.1 (Alexa or remote speakers ARE not required, but very useful to enjoy audio delivery of scheduled reminders) and the Notifications add-on

Once both apps are installed, head to Configure Profiles, then click on Notifications & Reporting to add a new Profile.

Once there, select “Custom” under “Create a Notification”, then "Select Trigger(s).

The first trigger you will see is “Time”. Tap “Select a Frequency” to pick your desired period…

FOR THIS EXAMPLE I picked “monthly”

AND I WANT to be notified every 3 months

ONCE I added desired frequency, two options appear to allow you to select a day and a time

My schedule is NOW complete, EchoSistant will deliver the “custom message” in audio or text format …

… EVERY 3 MONTHS ON THE 5th AT 1:00 PM (my location time zone)


[DEPRECATED] EchoSistant Evolved ~ Amazon Echo's Only Assistant with Robust Scheduling and Flexible Reporting
#10

has 4.1 been pushed? i still have Version:4.0 R.0.3.0 even after i updated my Echosistant repo.


(Bobby) #11

Very observant! You caught us. The release 0.3.0 is 4.1. We didn’t want people to have to touch Lambda code just to update the version number to match Smartthings app, so we left it as version 4.0 to avoid Alexa telling you that you are using an old Lambda code.


#12

… slowly knowing Echosistant…lol…


(Jason "The Enabler" as deemed so by @Smart) #13

???


#14

Was meaning to send a pm that ended up here…

So i thought id make up something …coz i dont think i know how to delete a post…

Loving the hourly weather update !!


#15

i changed my HVAC filter today and wanted to try this out:

i do do not get any response. certainly nothing like this.

live logging result:


(Bobby) #16

That’s because Alexa heard you saying ‘filter’ not ‘filters’ according to the screenshot. I will patch it for you with next update, but for now, try to put an emphasis on s…in filters…


#17

i was just a second late… went to aws and tested the same reminder command and it went through.

i then live tested it again and it went through… thanks.


(Matt Pressnall) #18

Just a quick question: With EchoSistant, do notifications on the Echo happen with no user interaction with the Echo?

I thought the limiter with the Alexa / Echo was that you had to do something with it before you go messages…have you folks hacked around that? If so, you are amazing! Hoping that is the case!

Thanks!


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

Hi Matt,
Oh how we wish we had hacked around it… but that is not the case. We are pushing to external speakers… at least until Amazon releases Alexa Push


(Matt Pressnall) #20

Thanks, man! That’s what I thought…Alexa Push is coming some day? Or is it like Duke Nukem Forever…and takes Forever! Thanks again!