Play a message remotely on sensor trigger through Alexa Voice

Currently not possible as far as I know without waking Alexa first, something in the works that may open this up in the future. See example here:

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Yes it’s possible, using one of two different paths. The code for both already exists in the community. :sunglasses:

One, you can just stream to the echo as a Bluetooth speaker. You will need another device to create the files to stream and decide when to stream them.

LANnouncer can do this, among others.

Two, if you set up your own Amazon developers account you can take advantage of a very sophisticated Alexa skill which community members have created which let you both use the echo to make announcements and let you Query the status of devices and a whole bunch of other things. That one is called askAlexa.

You will find both of these and more on the quick browse list for “voice” smart apps in the community – created wiki. Have fun. :tada:

Push notifications are in the works from Amazon.


Also, Im not a programmer, so am looking for something that might be already available. One other thing that I wanted to say was I am using Lexa which is an android app that functions as an echo without having to actually have a physical Echo. Im sure this has been approached on various threads so I apologize if I am starting something that has been discussed a bunch.

That looks like it would do the trick, good news on the verge article.

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Yes as I said, lots of ways to do this with code already available in the community. No need to apologize, the forum has a ton of information but it’s often very difficult to search. That’s why the community – created wiki has the quick browse lists. You just pick the topic you’re interested in, like voice, and then it will pull just those topics for you. :sunglasses:

The ask Alexa solution is pretty complicated and does require significant technical skills.

Most of the others, though, are standard smartthings custom code. Using that is pretty straightforward – – basically you’re just going to copy someone else’s code and paste it into your own account. Here’s the FAQ for that process:

Then if that sounds like something you’d like to try, you can use a quick browse list to quickly find existing solutions by topic.

In addition to the smart app and device type handler sections, there’s another quick browse section for project reports.

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Yep, we’re all waiting for Amazon to add text to speech capability to the echo. It’ll be really nice once it arrives. :blush:

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Thanks, yeah, I’ve already figured out how to add custom smart apps through the web interface and device handlers so Im enjoying the process just trying out different things.

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Alexa is a call and response system. You have to initiate from the Echo.

Ask Alexa has some cool features, but requires AWS Lambda account. I am sure once Push notifications go live we will be all over it.

Alexa Voice features are call and response, but the echo device is also a Bluetooth streaming speaker. That doesn’t require a call and response format. It does, however, require another device to stream to the echo and decide what and when to stream.

Also, I don’t think that option is available just with Amazon voice services, I think you have to have the actual echo hardware, although I’m not sure on that one.

So some community members have use this in the past to play voice announcements on an echo just as you would play a custom MP3 streamed from your phone.

(Note that the following thread mentions landroid – that was the previous version of LANnouncer.)

So it can be done, but there’s no question that the native feature that’s discussed in the verge article would be way easier to use. :sunglasses:

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Under “limitations” in the wiki for Ask Alexa, it states that it cannot provide real-time alerts. Is this true?
I’d like Alexa to be able to notify me when a door is opened, or presence is detected.
I do not have an android and my Echo is at a different location. (vlc-thing and the Bluetooth option aren’t currently an option for me)

Tagging @MichaelS

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Thanks JD!

@lalo This is still true, but we are getting closer. Just recently, Amazon enabled their calling feature which allowed you to call other Alexa users and ‘leave’ messages. This would have the Alexa ring turn green when a message is present or in a call. Then, a week later they finally announced that ‘alerting’ to messages (from developers) would be coming. This is for whole accounts; so whether you have 1 or 10 devices all will show that green light. So, unfortunately, you can’t specify a device within an account. If I had to guess, they will probably be able to eventually specify devices within an account, but just the light and gentle tone to alert to messages…not full on “wake up and start talking”.

Ask Alexa gets a little closer to the ‘individual account’ thing by setting up individual message queues. So, when the message alerting comes online I can light up the message indicator. If I had a wish list, I would hope that I could specify color and individual devices, but I will take what I can get. As for alerting to doors opening, if you pair Big Talker with Ask Alexa you can ALMOST get what you want. And if you do have Sonos, it IS available now through my app.

Hope that all makes sense. The next 4 weeks will be interesting and will get us closer.


While it is cool to have the Alexa devices light up green when a new message comes in, I belive that flashing lights only in the room where the message is intend for, is more noticeble. As a custom skill, EchoSistant has been doing that for a few months. The person in the specific location has a few choices to play the incoming message. One can ask Alexa to ‘play the message’, or just simply ask Alexa ‘what’s up?’

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I was kind of under the impression that this was a possible thing to do. I’m in no hurry though. How can I find out if/when this will be possible to do?

Oh, more than likely I will be shouting it from the roof tops when it happens. Even Amazon has TV ads showing this functionality right now…so it is close.


From my understanding, these notifications won’t automatically play. Meaning that the user would have to prompt Alexa to play pending notifications.

Is this correct? Is there something I’m not understanding?

It isn’t released yet, but all indications are that only a tone and a light might be given…no direct message or Alexa talking without being prompted.

If that’s the case then I don’t see this as a suitable solution.

When a door is opened, I’d have to ask Alexa to play the notification in order for her to tell me a door opened?
I’m more interested in having Alexa tell me the door opened without having to ask to play notifications

Currently, the only solution if you want to have Alexa as you ‘speaker’ is to pair it via Bluetooth to a device (like a phone or tablet) that is ‘playable’ via SmartThings. If you have a Sonos or some other synth device you can also use an App like big talker (with or without Alexa) to send status messages to these speakers in real time without having to ‘query’ for message.

Unfortunately, Amazon made this decision and Google followed that pattern. My guess is that these ‘smart’ speakers will never do what you are looking for. Ask Alexa is the closest to making this happen with its message queue options, but no developers have access to the tools to make the speaker start speaking in real time.