FAQ: Can I trigger an Echo Action without Speaking to It?

Thanks. You hit the nail on the head with the log in/log out. I thought that since the device had already been discovered by Amazon that part wasn’t necessary. Works perfectly!

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One other suggestion. I noticed that if in the Alexa routine, there are also other actions, like for example Alexa should a phrase, and if the action for changing the switch state is at the end, then it does not seem to work.
I had to reorder the action and place the action for changing the switch state first. Then it worked.

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I have a question, maybe you or someone else have an idea on how to implement this.
I want to install a door sensor at the front door, and I want to trigger Alexa to issue a greeting when I come back home, or when someone came home (so when the door i opened from the outside).
Do you think is possible such a thing?.
Obviously I can easily trigger the contact opening to generate a standard message like “front door has been opened”, but it would not be fun.
It should be nice to be able to detect if someone is coming in or living the house.
Do you think is possible?

It’s possible, but it doesn’t belong in this thread, which is just an FAQ on the Echo Routine method.

Start a new thread under smartapp ideas, and we can start talking about the various different ways to do this. :sunglasses:


That’s really cool! I’m new to ST and amazed by some of the things people are doing such as this. I was pretty fine & dandy just using alexa routines but finding some challenges in getting my mom to use things we had set up for her at her house. We took an echo show over there to give her a visual interface. Showed her action tiles on a YT video which she said was “too much” idek and personally think it’s pretty awesome. Trying tap to alexa now but I’m not sure if she’s using that. Made the mistake of showing her she could do her amazon shopping on the show in an attempt to get her to warm up to it. Think that’s pretty much the extent of the usage now. Voice reminders like this would be handy because she’s getting forgetful especially for safety concerns. Thanks for sharing this!

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Not sure if you got this working or not yet. I’m in the U.K. and got it to work so all good as far as that goes.

do you know if this comming for canada user

According to multiple Canadian sources, this is already available in Canada:

@tgauchat might know for sure.

You might also check with Amazon customer support.

i see it in do that but not on the triggee option

Are you all aware that pretty much everything that has been asked about doing with Alexa/echo in this thread is currently possible with the Echo Speaks smart app and smart things? I have contact sensors that trigger a v-switch that kicks off an echo speaks action to say “The garage man door is open” on my echo devices. I have v-switches in smart things that turn on/off alexa commands such as “play classic rock” direct to specific echo devices in the home. I didn’t see anything in this thread that you can’t do with the smart things/echo speaks/echo combination.

Echo Speaks is certainly a very powerful option, but it is technically much more complex to set up. Choice is good. :sunglasses:

This particular thread is specific to using Echo Routines. There are several other threads in the forum about using Echo Speaks, or with specific use case solutions.

Sorry. I thought there were folks asking how they could run Alexa routines from SmartThings.

Mea culpa

Hi, I installed the handlers, created the virtual devices, disabled and re-enabled the ST skill in Alexa. Alexa sees the devices…BUT…it won’t let me choose any of the virtual devices for the first part of the routine, only for the action part. I created the virtual device to control a Homemate device that works perfect with Alexa but not with ST, what can it be? Tks

We can help you troubleshoot this, but please start a new thread as we are going to have to get into a lot of details which would clutter up this FAQ.

You can start your thread in the following category. Title it “Need help with Alexa Routines and SmartThings Virtual Device” and people will help you there. :sunglasses:

To start a new thread, just tap the plus sign icon in the category.


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December’s 2020’s update is a game changer. Just saved me so much time in creating virtual switches for alexa. Now it’s time for multiple voice trigger’s per routine.

Whatcha talking bout Willis?! :eyes::thinking:

I’m probably being daft here and I should point out that I am completely new to smartthings (but not Alexa). Alexa has usually been my saviour in the past as routines allow all manner of different manufacturers devices to work together but I’m stuck with smartthings.

I’ve added ZigBee for contacts to smartthings. I’ve created scenes in smartthings for arming and disarming home monitor which I’ve added to Alexa routines I already had set up for when I leave the house and arrive home. I couldn’t figure out how to get Alexa to trigger an action based on smartthings detecting intrusion but this thread seemed to offer the solution.

The problem is, the option under labs in the app only allows me to create a virtual switch which Alexa can control but not use as a trigger. I’ve looked and looked but I can’t see how to change this virtual switch to act as a virtual sensor. Hopefully it is something simple. I’ve tried logging into https://graph.api.smartthings.com/ but frustratingly it says that I have no hubs or devices even though I am logged in to both the web and the smartthings app (where my hub and devices are listed). Confused…

You need to use a virtual switch with an integral contact sensor. See attached.


Thank you very much. That looked like it was going to be too complicated but it seemed easy enough in the end (probably because I didn’t know what I was doing!).

It would have been really nice if Alexa could just use the alarm condition from home monitor directly as a trigger, seems like an obvious thing to me. I can’t see any way to use the alarm condition in any useful way but that may be just me and I am overlooking the obvious.

I ended up creating a separate routine for each sensor so that if it opens with a precondition of the home monitor being armed, that changed the state of the virtual contact which is a trigger for Alexa. Seems like quite a faff!

Once again, thank you very much for your help.


You can use STHM to turn on you virtual Alexa switch. STHM > set response > turn on lights. You would to do it under, security, smoke, and water.