Thanks, Michael! This is an awesome community and I hope to join and contribute to it one day!

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I’m having an issue getting AskAlexa going after the latest upgrade and would appreciate any help. Please see my post at [RELEASE] Ask Alexa 2.3.9

I haven’t done an update for a while due to my schedule, but how about those new Alexa devices that were announced???

I have been thinking of putting out a small update for the room configuration, and may before November. Outside of that, everything has been going well for Alexa so I don’t want to disrupt that too much!


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It has been a while since I checked in here. I have been going to football games and doing a bit of home improvement on the side. One new item I got was the GE Portable Motion Detector. As with the GE Switches, the author has since left SmartThings, but I got his permission to take ownership of the DTH. As such, I have released this:

Quite honestly, I am not overly thrilled with these motion detectors. I LOVE the switches with the built in motion detection capabilities, but these devices are rather ‘meh’. First, outside of a 5 second refresh time, the motion timeout is between 1 and 60 minutes. Not bad, but I am used to them being adjustable in the seconds range (20 seconds seems to work well). A minute timeout isn’t bad, but you have to make sure you think through your use case on these before putting them in place.

Either way, I have the DTH released, and as is my tradition, I wrote up installation and usage documentation fore the device.

On the Ask Alexa front, I have been slow to do anything with it. I have some ideas brewing, but they probably won’t reach reality until after the first of the year. However, Ask Alexa is still relevant in my house, and hope it is in yours as well. Amazon is making a play to add more features, and I think that is great. However, Ask Alexa still has many use cases in my house.


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Happy Friday…was greeted with this today:

For those that still use Ask Alexa, I wanted to let you know that one of the reasons I haven’t updated the app in a while is I was waiting for this feature. I had a bit of insight to how this was going to work, so I had some of the code already developed. I am going to finalize this and publish an update by the beginning of December. You will now have the ability to give Ask Alexa a ‘unique’ voice compared to normal Alexa.


Edit: In testing this further it appears any Polly voice (27 of them) can be used. Right now, I am planning to release these:

Any other suggestions that anyone wants to make? I particularly like Brian as he has the Jarvis type voice that got me interested in doing Ask Alexa for my home.


Thank you! As usual, I am for one am looking forward to the new code.

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May I submit the request to use all voices… I found it to be pretty cool to use non-English responses. (e.g. the RemindeR app has them implemented). It can be educational but also has a certain fun factor. :slight_smile:

If you decide to stick with English-only voices, I like Gwyneth, Emma, Nicole and Brian in addition to the US voices.

THank you for making the awesome app awesomer!

I figured someone would ask for all of them…Since Ask Alexa is really English only at this point I could just do ones that implement that…So it would be more than the ones that I listed above.

I will see what I can do.

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Added all of the English speaking ones:


One more suggestion: Add the description of the accent/dialect to the selection menu e.g. “Emma (en-GB)”. May users won’t be familiar with the voices and would have to go to the polly site to look this up.

I actually had to put that into Lambda for proper pronunciation, so adding it to the description is no problem.

I was able to use the same voices that are available via the Message Queue as well (for external speakers):


Just an update…I had family in town but believe I finished off the testing of the multiple voices for Alexa. This works rather well!

I am going to reach out to beta testers in the next week to give them an opportunity to try this out as I update the documentation.

It is so cool to have Alexa talk in different voices. Makes for ‘context’ (i.e. Smart Things has one voice, main Alexa have another) very simple!

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Hi Michael - I’m new to SmartThings so please bear with me. Followed instructions for installation of Ask Alexa but like Ian, I am getting thrown the error “There was a problem with the requested skill’s response”. I’m sure this is something simple I must have missed but can’t seem to locate.

I’ve tried “Alexa open smart things” “Alexa ask smart things for help” and that’s always the response I receive. Nothing is being logged in IDE (that I am noticing). Help!

No worries… Sometimes to installation can get picky…

First I would check you lambda… Does it have your unique AppID and TokenID.

Second you need to ensure the ARN is in your Development area…finally, ensure you paste the JSON code to the development area as well.

PM me with any screen shots so you dont reveal you codes to the public.

Good luck. You are close!

cool thanks, just pm’ed you.

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Happy Black Friday!

Wanted to let you know what is happening with Ask Alexa. First, we have already discussed the ability to change voices within Ask Alexa, and the beta testers LOVE IT. It really makes a difference differentiating the built in skill from Ask Alexa.

Second, congratulations go out to @tonesto7 for Echo Speaks. Many of you have pinged me to ask if Ask Alexa will support this. Yes! In fact, I just added that yesterday. I actually had this running for my message queues within an external Raspberry Pi in my home. The frustrating part was always refreshing the Amazon cookie. Echo Speaks, as I understand it, has the same issue. When I spoke to my contacts at Amazon about this, they continued to stress that this is a NON STANDARD way to do this and it is subject to change without notice. However, this is what folks have been waiting for, and until Amazon releases supported method, we have Tony to thank for this great app.

Finally, a shout out goes to @ule for his Echo Speaker app/device. Similar to Echo Speaks, it is a more manual way to treat your Echos like native SmartThings devices. The nice this is the author kept the standard SmartThings programming interfaces, so it actually works NOW with Ask Alexa without any updates.

I am going to finish the documentation this week and try to get it out next week. But it IS coming, so no more PMs about adding Echo Speaks and Echo Speaker :slight_smile:


Not really sure what that means? The standard intefaces. I’m using media player and speech synthesis capabilities. Using the native sonos playTextandRestore() no longer works on new community handlers.

Ah…then I stand corrected…I was referring to your use of NEW standards (i.e. setVolumeAndSpeak) that I assume you just came up with. I haven’t done any work in the new community handlers, so if that is the new standard from SmartThings, then I am glad you implemented it as now it will be in Ask Alexa.

Either way, great work!