I didn’t see that. Oh my. This opens up many possibilities. Thank you!

So the thing about group is that they tend to keep everything in sync. I did put in logic so you could granualize some of the devices but for the most part you treat a group as a singular object.

Instead if there is just an initial state you want to start with on the turning on of the lights you are better off setting up a macro or macro group.

I was looking for the easier of the ways, but I guess not as robust. I will go to a Macro if I find it a necessity. Thanks.

Let me know if you need assistance :slight_smile:

Thanks, but by now Michael you should know I am a perfectionist, and I look for problems where there aren’t any.

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Newest version released today:


Hi Michael,

With the addition of the occupancy app, do we have the ability to set the occupancy to a particular state, e.g engaged/vacant? If so, how should it be phrased?

Yes…you can either do that by the device name (i.e. Alexa, tell Smart Things to set {occupancy device} to ‘enabled’)

You can also associate the device with a room and simple give the same type of command to the room: Alexa, tell Smart Things to set {room name} to ‘enabled’

Let me know if that helps.

I’m pretty new to ST, but i’m working in IT.
I manage to install it pretty well, but I lot of step is require and I don’t think some non-IT person will try those steps

will try it tonight with the group extension and refresh my amazon

thanks a lot

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I am improving the process, but glad you were able to get it installed! Let me know if you need any assistance.

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Welcome to another Friday update. Lots of free time now that football season is over!

I am getting a lot of positive feedback on my last update of Ask Alexa. People are really enjoying the integration with @bangali’s room occupancy! This app is also found in the Community Installer, which I recommend everyone check out!

Upon posting the last version of Ask Alexa, I immediately started integrating the deviceID (which is the speaker you are talking to) into the various parts of the app So, with the next upgrade you will be able to do the following:

  • Set up a ‘room’ with its associated ‘Echos’ (i.e. “Alexa, tell smart things to associate this {room name}”)
    You can set up restrictions of what will run and what won’t based on which device is being spoken to (so you can now set up ONE instance of Ask Alexa, but now have rooms access only the things you want them to access).
  • Use shortcuts like ‘in here’ ‘this room’ ‘this group’ instead of using the room name. For example. “Alexa, tell smart things to turn off this room” will result in all switches (on/off devices) to turn off. The beauty is that same command can be used in every room you have set up and each one will react different based on how you have it set up.
  • In future releases (probably not the this one) you can even take this to the next level by setting up a invocation skill with “in here”, “this room”, or “this group”. So the command could be shortened to “Alexa, turn off this room” or “Alexa, turn off the lights in here”.

It is really cool to get back to finding new things out and integrating them into Ask Alexa. For example, if you have two separate skills using the same Lambda you find out that the deviceID is unique per skill. So it doesn’t use the actual device’s MAC or serial number (unless it is a hash of those). Either way, kind of cool to be in ‘development mode’ again.

I don’t know when I will be releasing the new features, but I anticipate within the next 4 weeks!

In other general Alexa news, I found (quite by accident) that you now have US West (Oregon) as a valid datacenter for Alexa skills processing (Lambda). As is typical in IT, since I know it is different it “feels” like this new datacenter is faster to respond, but hard to tell. Either way, I have updated the documentation with the new information.

Finally, I anticipate having some GREAT news to announce in the next couple weeks! Keep an eye out here!!


Since I am in CA I tried this and I don’t see an difference. Since you are going back and forth from Amazon to SmartThings, which I assume is also hosted in Amazon, I would bet that you could actually put more delay into the ‘round trip’ even if you choose a datacenter closer to you.

Good to have a disaster recovery option for Alexa skills no matter what!

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I have a general question to anyone with advice: I have gone through the setup several times and keep getting the following error in setting up the configuration in AWS Developer:

Error: Please make sure that “Alexa Skills Kit” is selected for the event source type of arn:aws:lambda:us-east-1:…

Tried several times and can’t determine the cause - help would be great!

This is caused by not having the Lambda code in either the wrong datacenter (Oregon or Virginia) or you have it in the correct datacenter but don’t have the skill setting properly configured.

In the Lambda it is at the top of the main configuration page:

Let me know if that helps.

What quick response - Very impressive.

This did help. I figured it out. I had 2 browser sessions open and the save in AWS wasn’t taking. I closed all browsers and went back in and saved and it worked. Thanks!

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Glad you got it going! Let me know if you have an issues with it or questions.

Just stumbled over this app/framework and tried to install it. But somehow when trying to set up the github repo I get this error in SmartThings IDE:

“GitHub repository MichaelStruck/SmartThingsPublic not found”

Now, this is not the first GitHub repository I have linked to (I currently have 12 in my list) so I’m stumped.

Others have had similar issues lately…wondering if something is wrong with the GitHub/IDE integration…here is where the files sit:

The exact settings you need to put into the IDE are here:


Seems to be a smartthings issue. From an email I just got: “Users are receiving an error when attempting to edit or update a SmartApp or device handler which is associated with Github. We are actively investigating.”

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Welcome to a very exciting Friday report!

As many of you know, @tonesto7 (Tony) asked me to beta test his Community Installer and help write the documentation. Something else many of you know is that Tony also took the mantel for Echosistant as the original authors moved to ST competitor, Hubitat. As Tony and I worked together and discussed both of our products, we came to the conclusion that we had more similarities than differences in our respective Alexa SmartApps. While each developer has his/her own style and philosophies about coding and product design, in this case we got past those and decided that for the benefit of the community we would NOT compete with each other, but instead find a way to merge our apps’ respective ‘technologies’ into one product.

Echosistant v5 will now be shelved and instead Ask Alexa will inherit some of the install features of this unreleased version Tony and team have been working on. This will take away the last major hurdle for a beginner to start using Ask Alexa immediately. Tony’s install code will allow you to tap a few buttons and AUTO DEPLOY/UPGRADE your Amazon Lamba and Developer account. This means auto creation of the skill(s), or updating of the skills when you make a change to the parameters of your application. No more need to copy and paste between screens; however, for those that WANT TO manually install it yourself you will ALWAYS have that option.

This collaboration is really in the spirit of what SmartThings intended by allowing the core functions of SmartThings to be enhanced by the community.

As for a timeline, we are working on a schedule for integration. The next version of Ask Alexa (v 2.3.9 without the skill and Lambda installer) is already operational and has the Echo speaker identification code it. After that release, we will focus on getting the installer code ready for release (version 2.4.0) . I anticipate the end of March being a target for us. However, we are more concerned with getting it right instead of pushing it out fast.

I am going to post this in the Echosistant threads as well…

Again, very exciting news indeed!