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

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.