Got an Amazon Echo Dot- How do I get Smartthings to 'Play message on speaker'


I’ve had SmartThings for a long time. I have a Google Home already linked and everything works, but I just bought an Echo Dot because I heard you can easily ‘Play a message on speaker’ when creating automations.

My Dot is hooked up, running and connected as far as I can tell. I linked the two accounts through Amazon and I can control devices with my Dot (as well as my Google Home now). When I go to an existing SmartThings automation I still do not have the option to ‘Play message on speaker’- It’s there but it’s greyed out and you can’t click it.

What am I missing?

good luck -Jim

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As far as I know, the only way to do this is through an Alexa routine. This is a little clunky to set up, but works well, and many community members use this method.

Alexa routines at this time can only be triggered from a sensor, lock, echo brand button, or Flic button. So if you want your notification to be spoken when a physical sensor connected to smartthings detects an event, that’s easy.

But if you want it connected when something else happens, then you need to create a virtual sensor that you can turn on and off from smart things so that that virtual device will start the Alexa routine.

So you can definitely do it, but the set up is more complicated than you were probably expecting.

Here’s the community FAQ:

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

Thank you,

Now that I think about this closer, ‘Echo Speaks’ is no longer available. I was looking for a ‘chime’ for ST and stumbled across the echo info, which was probably outdated when I found it. Oh, well I now own an Echo Dot- fortunately it was only $20.

good luck-Jim

Echo Speaks was community created software, which has indeed been discontinued because it created too much traffic in the smartthings cloud. :disappointed_relieved:

But Echo does have its own chime feature and you can still use that with the method that I mentioned in my previous post. It works fine. :sunglasses:

If you just want a door chime, for example, that’s easiest because you will be using a physical open/close sensor on the door that works with smartthings, and then that can trigger the chime sound effect on the Echo Dot.

Here’s an example that we use at our house. When the front door opens, a chime sounds in the home office.

The Alexa app has a section called “sounds“ when you are creating routine which has a number of different categories, including “bells and buzzers.“

If you aren’t using a physical sensor, again, there is a method described in the FAQ that I posted in my previous post, and you can use a “virtual sensor” to trigger the Alexa routine. :sunglasses:

If you are not yet familiar with Alexa routines, this is a free feature included with every Amazon account. You set them up using the Alexa app that you used to set up your Echo Dot in the first place.

After Echo Speak went away, I searched for an alternative and I discovered NodeRed, a lowcode software that has immense capabilities used along SmarThings.
Samsung too provide it on it’s cloud with “Samsung Automation Studio”, but the locally installed version allows you to do much more stuff. It integrates with a huge amount of products and platforms.
You need to install it locally on a Raspberry, a PC or a NAS, then you install the node-red-contrib-smartthings Palette (based on a groovy smartapp) and the node-red-contrib-alexa-cakebaked palette.

You can then create flows using smartthings devices as trigger or conditions, and have texe-to-speech actions to Echo devices, including values from devices, variables that you determine in the flow etc.

You can also go the other way around, using devices that Alexa sees and ST no as triggers for SmartThings, but in that case you will need the Samsung Automation Studio Palette to have SmartThings execute the action.

In the image, my flow that reminds me of windows left open if outside is cold or hot using contact sensors and temp sensor from SmartThings.

Thank you guys so much!!

I used JD’s info to create an Alexa routine. First I associated it with a physical SmartThings switch and that wasn’t particularly useful. I then created a virtual switch (actually Echo contact) in my IDE and used that in my Alex routine instead which works EXACTLY as I wanted to all this time!! Thanks again!!

I’m going to bask in this new knowledge for a while but then it’s on to the next step- probably more pistons instead of SmartThings Automations. Pistons seem to be more robust. One thing I want to do next is flash lights on & off multiple times or create and Alexa routine that nags my kids every 10 minutes if they leave the door open. -pistons, right?

good luck- Jim

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Glad to hear it’s working!

Webcore/Pistons Will be going away soon when the Samsung hosted free groovy cloud goes away, probably within a few months.

For that reason, it’s better to do as many things as you can with routines in the smartthings app, since those are using the new architecture. Here’s the official announcement about that. (The topic title is a clickable link)

There are also some advanced options in the new architecture which have more features, and so are more like pistons, but they are still in development so they may not do everything you want yet either. The main one is the “rules API.“ you can read more about that here:

FAQ: Getting Started with the new Rules API

Thank you again. I have another question- My first Alexa switch is working, but how do I create my 2nd Alexa switch? I basically followed JD’s routine that I did for my first one, but am getting an error when I go to add a new device- I fill in the fields and click ‘create’ I get an error message- 500: internal server error… URI/device/save

any idea what I’m doing wrong?