Inexpensive Security Play Audio Notifications?

I am new here and new to SmartThings as well. I have very few smart devices at this point, but I do have an Aeotec Hub coming soon. What got me into all this is that I installed a Konnected Security board and integrated it with SmartThings. I have it so that when the alarm is triggered it sets off a siren, but currently there is no warning. I see that SmartThings has a response for playing an audio notification so what I’d like to do is delay the siren for 30 seconds, but play an audio response as the warning that the siren is about to kick in. I’m not wanting to spend a lot to do this though. I’m looking for an inexpensive way to accomplish this and saw some posts regarding an echo dot, but those posts were a few years ago and at the time seemed like it was questionable as to whether it would work. I have no experience with an echo dot or really any smart speaker so I could use some advice as to whether it would work or if there is some better alternative. I also have an Alexa and a Google Home that my kids bought a while back and neither are used, so would either of those work? I’ve never messed with either, but if one would work then I could try and find it and use it. I don’t have an audio file or anything so I’d prefer to be able to use a text to speech approach, but could create an audio file if that is easier. Any help is appreciated!

Any Alexa device can be made to play a custom spoken notification Or any of a number of sound effects, including a Siren, chimes, dogs barking etc. This is built into the official features of that device and is available through the “Alexa routines” feature.

You can integrate this with smartthings by using a virtual sensor. This works well when it works, but since the introduction of the second generation of the skill about a year ago it sometimes glitches where it doesn’t work for a few days or even a couple of weeks, and then it starts working again. Obviously that’s not very good for any kind of security system, since you never know for sure whether it’s going to work or not, but if you’re comfortable with that possibility, here’s the community FAQ on how to do that:

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

Google home does not yet offer any comparable method.

So since you already have an echo device, that would be the least expensive method for the spoken alert.

As far as how to integrate that with a delay for the ST siren, I will have to leave that to others to discuss. I’m pretty sure there’s a way to do that with the official smartthings features and may be another virtual switch, but I don’t know the details and I can’t myself use the app at this time because it is not voice navigable.

So hopefully others will chime in who can discuss the entire project with you. :sunglasses:

1 Like

Thanks for the quick reply! I guess I’ll find that Alexa and learn how to use it. As far as the siren delay, I already know how to do that. I have it wait 30 before sounding, but without any notification that doesn’t help. That’s where I’m hoping to get an audio notification to start on tripping the alarm so there is time to respond to the alarm prior to the siren going off.

As JD said, Alexa can do it for cheap, but maybe a little complicated if you have to use a virtual switch device. The cheapest route directly in SmartThings is a $100 Ikea/Sonos Symfonisk speaker.

1 Like

@Automated_House So, the Symfonisk speaker is a bit more than I was hoping to spend given that it’s single purpose is for a pre-siren warning, but even if I did go that route, isn’t it just a speaker? Wouldn’t I need something else to send the audio to it? Or am I missing something?

If you’re in the US, I’m Pretty sure you can do it with the $45 Zooz multisiren as well, but you have to use a pre-recorded sound file, you can’t just type in text.

And I still don’t know the exact steps you would have to go through to delay the siren sound. :thinking:

Which reminds me, I forgot to ask what country you’re in. The device selection does vary somewhat.

Yeah, I’m in Colorado. I’ll check out that Zooz MultiSiren, that might be just what I need. I just put up a Honeywell Wave2, but it looks like I might be able to replace that with a Zooz and it sounds like it would be able to play the warning and then advance to the siren by itself … Thanks for the link!

1 Like

You use STHM or an automation to send the voice alert to the Sonos speaker. And I don’t think it’s single use, it still plays whatever music you want too :grin:

Tagging @TheSmartestHouse

@Automated_House, so does SmartThings have built in audio files or text to speech or what? How is the sound quality, like for music, of the Symfonisk and how loud is it?

As I understand it, the new websocket integration for Sonos generates an audio file base on your text and which voice you choose. It then send that to the speaker every time the automation runs. I don’t have any other Sonos devices to compare the Symfonisk too. I’d say it sounds a little better than my 2nd generation Echo Show 10, but not as good as a bigger speaker like my Denon Home 250, which is to be expected.

@JDRoberts, first thanks for the info. I have a question after finding the Echo Dot one of my kids had and getting it running again. I have it recognizing the devices I have in SmartThings like my sensors. It does not, however, recognize if the alarm is tripped or not. Is that what I would create a virtual sensor for, to make the alarm status look like a sensor to that Alexa could use that status?

Yes, exactly. You do whatever you want to do on the smartthings side with the end result that you turn on a virtual switch which is also a sensor. Then the Alexa routine will trigger from that sensor. :sunglasses:

@JDRoberts so any advice? I created the Virtual Switch and it shows up in SmartThings and I’m able to turn it on under my Home Monitoring under the alarm Set Response. Alexa sees the switch as a light, but when I try to create a routine in Alexa neither lights or switches are available under When This Happens so I can’t do anything. In Alexa under When This Happens I do see my physical sensors so I tried changing my Virtual Switch to a Virtual Contact Sensor, but when I do that I am unable in SmartThings under alarm Set Response to turn it on so, again stymied. I feel like I’m soooo close to getting my pre-siren voice notification working, but just can’t seal the deal. Any ideas?

Please read the community FAQ on this method and follow the steps there exactly.

You have to use a very special kind of virtual device which is BOTH a switch and a sensor. When you turn on the switch, it will look like the sensor opened. When you turn off the switch, it will look like the sensor closed. You can’t use just any random virtual device, you must use the code which is linked to from the FAQ.

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

It will end up looking like this in the ST app: one device, which is both a sensor and a switch.

It will look like two separate devices in the Alexa app.

So, thanks, I missed that part from your earlier post (combo switch/sensor). So, going through the instructions I got to the developers section, but I don’t have the code. I think I am supposed to get the code at, but that page says it doesn’t exist or is private.

Nevermind, I missed the link, I think I now have the code …

It is a DTH, not a smartapp.

[Release] Virtual Alexa Switch/Button

Yeah, I realized I that, just misspoke. I got it working though. Thanks a bunch!

1 Like