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

That’s something you would have to ask Amazon, unfortunately SmartThings doesn’t have any influence on Amazon’s features roadmap.

We’re going to have to take care of a sick woman for a couple days. I wanted to set up an easy way for her to summon us from her bedroom. I had a spare button. My thought was to have it trigger Alexa in our bedroom. Simple right??? NOT.

Only way I could figure out how to do it was to create a simulated contact sensor. Then I had to write my own smartapp to open/close that sensor when the button was pushed, which then Alexa could read.

Anybody know of an easier way? I looked at smart lighting, routines, etc. What I did works fine, just kinda annoyed I couldn’t do it any other way. Apparently Alexa won’t recognize switches, just contacts.

The easiest way would be to get an Echo Dot and put that in her room and then they can act as an intercom system. That can save you some time also if it turns out that she needs you to bring her something.

Other than that, you are correct that you will need to use a virtual sensor if you want to trigger and echo routine. However, if you read the thread that is linked to in post 1 above, that has a DTH for a virtual sensor which is also a switch. That allows you to then use it with any of the standard features, including smart lighting. So you don’t need to write your own smartapp.

At the present time, Eco does not recognize switches for this purpose. You can send them feedback through the echo app that you would like to see switches as an option, they do add new features all the time. :sunglasses:

Thank you JD. Unfortunately we didn’t have more than a day of notice (Hospital seems to think she isn’t sick enuf to stay, even with a massive wound, etc. Go figure). which didn’t give us enuf time to get another echo. And I’m not sure she would be able to understand how to use it anyway.

Even tho I skimmed thru this post I didn’t catch that DTH. Thanks for pointing it out. I will get it and probably use it in the future, but for now got my smartapp working so I’m good.

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Ok, I’m a little puzzled, which is normal.

I installed the DTH referenced above. Created a switch or sensor using that DTH. But I still can’t use it in Echo to trigger a routine. It doesn’t show up as a sensor. Which is the only thing Echo is allowing to trigger a routine.

EDIT: Never mind. I just realized my mistake. I copied one of the original DTH’s instead of the combined one. As I said I am usually puzzled…:slight_smile:

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Up til now, I’ve built zero routines in Alexa. ST was where I built all my routines, and the simple ones work fine there and the more complex ones need Webcore. But with the imminent (don’t know when, but we do know it’s coming) force to the new Smartthings, it might be a good time to offload as many of my simple routines to Alexa as possible.

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Anyone having trouble with this lately? The Alexa app is definitely seeing the contact sensor change, but the routine is not running. I did test the routine and it runs manually, so for some reason it’s not properly passing the change in the contact sensor to the routine. Any suggestions? I’m in the US.

Did it used to work and it stopped working? Or is this your first time using it?

If this is your first time using it, you need to do all seven steps in the wiki article in the order in which they are listed. This will include signing out and signing back in.


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