New SmartThings Alexa skill (2020)

I tweeted a bit about this, but thought it might be a good heads up for the ST nerds not on Twitter :slight_smile: Especially since new users can no longer use the old skill. The old skill is now called “SmartThings Classic” while the new one is just “SmartThings”. If you search the Alexa skill catalog you will only find the new skill, but the old/Classic one still shows under your installed skills if you already set it up. I don’t know what SmartThings’ plans are for migration, but i thought it would be worth discussing since the skill is public and new users will be using it. Based on the lack of it appearing in the Groovy IDE and appearance in the new app, the new one uses the new APIs instead of a Groovy app. So far here’s the differences I’ve noticed and my experience:

  1. Enabling the new skill seamlessly replaces most ST devices in Alexa instead of duplicating, which is nice. Scenes do seem to duplicate and some devices seem to duplicate if you’ve changed their name in Alexa.
  2. The new skill seems to support more devices, especially those with temperature capability. The old skill only brought in temperature readings from contact and motion sensors. The new one brings them from ALL devices with temperature capability.
  3. The new skill also seems to support window shade capability, but i haven’t figured out how to use it in Alexa other than adjusting the open % in an Alexa routine.
  4. The new skill is all or nothing for integrating SmartThings devices. You can’t pick and choose like the Classic skill. I found disabling (not deleting!) unwanted devices in the Alexa app to be the best route for unwanted devices that came over.
  5. As of April 17, 2020, there are some bugs. Devices sometimes get removed from Alexa routines when switching ST skills. ST Devices can be added to Alexa Routines, but triggers aren’t flowing through even though status reflects properly in Alexa. (edit: routines fixed 4/21/20) Flagging a device as Type = Light also seems to not work, so you can’t control lights in rooms by saying “Alexa turn off the lights”

Here’s the Classic skill most of us Alexa users currently have installed:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01ETW5Q9O/?ref-suffix=ss_copy

Here’s the new skill:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0875KVMK6/?ref-suffix=ss_copy

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@johnconstantelo did you end up enabling the new Alexa skill?

Hi @prjct92eh2, not yet. Been in meetings all day, so I’ll probably get to this tonight and deal with any weirdness through the weekend. We use Alexa like crazy, especially my wife, so I need to be careful of breaking something that works well right now. Stay tuned!

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if you don’t want to break stuff, you may want to hold off. See #5 in my post.

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This is awesome! I’ll be able to use existing devices to get more accurate temp averages in my house. Alexa can already average temps. Looks like her math is about to get more complicated.

Now, if only she could use math in Routines…

Yup, just saw that. Thanks for putting this together.

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Does the new skill allow you to choose more than one Alexa device to play a custom message on or do you still have to create a separate routine for each?

You have been able to do this in an Alexa routine for a couple of months. But you have to use the Announcement Option of the messages feature when you set up the routine. Nothing to do with smartthings. :sunglasses:

Set up

That was a really stupid question and I have no idea why I was thinking that a skill would have any impact on the Alexa mobile app, but I’m really glad I asked.

I through together a SmartApp last night that consolidates a group of devices into a trigger device that I can use to make Alexa play an announcement, but I only noticed the “Alexa Says” action so I thought I was going to have to create a routine for each Alexa device…

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Being able to select multiple devices or all devices is one of the more recent features. And it is confusing, because it’s under messaging, and then under notifications. So it makes you think that the person will have to do something to get it to play, but that’s not true. It will just make an announcement if that’s what you want, triggered by the usual Alexa routine trigger options. :sunglasses:

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This question is completely unrelated to the new skill, but am I correct to assume that you still can’t select multiple devices as the trigger or add more than one trigger in the Alexa app?

Yes, so far, Although there are some filters you can apply like day of the week.

But you can put your stacked logic over on the SmartThings side and then just activate one device as the trigger. It’s more work, though.

I just wanted a simple way to play a message like “motion detected in the basement” when any of my basement motion sensors activate and setting that up manually in SmartThings was enough of a pain to make it worth writing something custom.

Thank you for your help and sorry @prjct92eh2 for hijacking the topic.

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Hopefully, the new Alexa skill will live sync devices better than the old skill does. Using the old skill, if I changed the name of a SmartThings device in SmartThings, that device in Alexa would stop working sometimes. So, I would have to re-discover devices in the Alexa app which caused havoc with any Alexa routines and groups because the old Alexa skill keeps the old device name after the re-discover, and just creates a new device with the changed device name (annoying). Hopefully the new Alexa skill will just sync the same device with the changed name and keep the device in any Alexa routine or group nativity and not create a new device just because of the name change.

So, I really haven’t been using Alexa routines at all, I’ve just been using Alexa groups. That being said, I’m going to just wipe my SmartThings devices out of Alexa and go to the new Alexa SmartThings skill clean since I will only have to recreate a few Alexa groups anyway.

As for audio announcements, I don’t have one of the limited SmartThings supported speaker systems, so instead of using Alexa routines, I use the Tasker app on Android to play audio announcements on my Android phone and Android tablet. I’m using Tasker’s ability to read the SmartThings app’s notifications and then respond with a selected media file. That way I can hear the audio announcement when I’m away from any stand alone speaker system that is located where I can’t hear it.

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I wish I had read this before I removed the classic skill.

I had all sorts of problems including some loss of voice control and virtual devices disappearing or not working. Lights not switching on at all with detected motion (more advanced motion control for my lights is controlled by virtual switches/sensors as they are not supported in ST). Lights that use the motion sensor directly, with no virtual switches still worked okay.

Took a while to figure out how to fix it and it all works now but there is some delay in lights switching on now.
These lights use to switch on near instantly, using the virtual switches/sensors, with the classic skill. Now they take 2-3 seconds, which is a tad annoying. I also note in the Alexa app that it takes twelve seconds, on average, for the interface to show the virtual switch has been turned on/off (when motion is controlling this). It is still near instant in the ST app.

To fix the other issues I had to remove the new ST skill and the devices that had problems. Restart the Alexa app, add back the new skill, detect the devices I deleted and fix the Alexa routines. I tried other variations of this but this is the only method that worked for me.

So, everything is now working as before, full voice control and motion detection with virtual switches, but the delay is a pain.

Edit: I should add that all voice control is near-instant now, as it was before, for turning on/off lights (even when two virtual switches are used in the routine). It is only when a physical motion sensor is involved (with virtual switches) that there is a delay.

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Just accept that smartthings enjoy causing confusion and despair

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Hey guys not sure if this the right area but, I am completely new to ST so I have two questions.

I bought the st hub to be able to use as a bridge to connect my 2gig gc3 to all of my non zwave devices. Will this work for that? If so can someone point me in the right direction.

Secondly
I am trying to connect it with my alexa’s however when going through alexa to add the st hub as a device it tries to make me use the old stclassic skill, however you cannot enable that skill anymore. I have enabled the new st skill and can see it enaled from both st and alexa but it will not allow me to add the hub. Can anyone tell me what I have done wrong or what I can do to make my st hub usable for this function.

Unfortunately, this is not going to work. :disappointed_relieved:

Both the two gig GC three and the smartthings hub are designed to be the primary controller on a Z wave network.

While it is technically possible to add the smartthings hub as a secondary zwave controller to the 2gig, Most people find the results unsatisfactory and that would Only share Z wave devices. It would not bring over any of your non-Z wave devices.

So it doesn’t sound like you will be able to accomplish what you hoped to.

If you would like to discuss this further, please start a new thread for it as it would be pretty far off topic for the discussion of the Alexa skill.

Second, You never add the smartthings hub as a device in Alexa. It won’t show up there. Instead, you link your two accounts when you enable the SmartThings skill. the hub itself will never show up on the Alexa device list. The integration is cloud to cloud between your Amazon account and your smartthings account.

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Holding off on this because everything is working perfect as is…

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