All, this is a new thread from my conversation in the Alexa Helper area ([RELEASE] Alexa Helper)
I am officially announcing my new Ask Alexa Smart App. This is what a lot of us have been looking for when it was announced that SmartThings would work with the Amazon Echo (‘Alexa’). Unfortunately, the integration was one-way and limited. You could not query your devices to find out their status, and you had NO access to modes, SHM or routines. I attempted to fill the gap with Alexa Helper, and it did a great job at giving you additional control over items using simple on/off commands. I even got into the ‘feedback’ piece by sending a voice output to a Sonos speaker. But, I always felt this was a ‘hack’…why ask a speaker (Alexa) to report out on another speaker.
Well, with the guidance of @N8XD I was able to finally get the Alexa to behave the way I always wanted it to…as a fully input and output device. Now I can not only control my devices, but ask them their status. And, I brought over the voice reports from Alexa Helper…so now I can get a ‘whole home report’ about various devices with one command. Simply by saying “Alexa, ask SmartThings…” my entire system is now accessible…switches, thermostats, locks, doors, etc. I even address some of the security concerns of having locks and doors accessible by adding an option for a PIN when working with these devices.
I plan to release the app within the next couple weeks. I am not going to offer any private beta…when I post it everyone will have access and we can see how it behaves. I have a basic framework for the documentation here: http://thingsthataresmart.wiki/index.php?title=Ask_Alexa. It is VERY rough right now… @bamarayne has volunteered to work on some of the AWS/Lambda documentation, but if anyone wants to edit my doc feel free. I know it will be difficult without the app in front of you, but if you find a blatant issue with misspelling or logic, please correct it.
Finally, this will not be an easy app to install…you will need to have an Amazon developer account opened with the same user name you added your Alexa to, and you will need an AWS account to hold the Alexa code. I WILL be offering a small donation service to host the code myself so you will always be up-to-date, but if you want to host it yourself you will need to open your own account. There will not be a cost to you to open it…just if you exceed the million access per month limit (unlikely)…however, you WILL need to provide them with a credit card ‘just in case’.
Let me know your thoughts and use this thread for questions. I will change the title to “RELEASE” when it is ready.
As always, if you feel like making a donation for these community efforts: https://www.paypal.me/mstruck