SmartThings Community

[RELEASE] Ask Alexa

(Micheal ) #21

Not 100% sure what you mean…if you want the Alexa to just ‘speak up’ in response to sensors, the answer is always going to be no…Amazon has made it very clear outside of timers and alarms that this will only react to voice…no other ‘stimuli’.

If you are taking about a delay in reaction to a voice command, currently not in the version I will release soon, but it should in the “macro version”. And again…this function is already in Alexa Helper…you can trigger a ‘countdown’ from when you activate the virtual trigger to when the actions actually happen. The caveat in this is that the countdown has to be increments of minutes…ST does not like anything less than 60 seconds, and even then it could be 45 to 75 seconds.

Let me know if I misunderstood your question,


(Micheal ) #22

I haven’t looked into this…the harmony hub does connect in through IFTTT, does it not? If so you could probably kluge a similar solution…I think @JDRoberts did something like this…however, if I can access the API, we can probably find a way to integrate it in to the future (it won’t happen in this release).

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(Kavvy) #23

Nope, you explained it.



I think the JD approach is clunky. And that’s not an insult to him but rather the way that the harmony and st interacts and possibly the harmony system as a whole. I am not sure if harmony has a public API. Be cool if they do. I’ll follow for updates in future release and excited to see what the first release is like. If you need any beta Guinea pigs. Let me know :slight_smile:


(Micheal ) #25


As I finish up the documentation, I recommend anyone who intends to use this new SmartApp to have a look and ask questions now so their installation is smooth ( Also, some of you (like me) may need to ‘prep’ your account so you get the best experience out of it. Here are my recommendations:

  1. Ensure you have a developers account from Amazon. It SHOULD have the same login name as the account you have your devices already attached to…instructions for creating the account are here:
  2. Make sure you have a Lambda account. I have made the decision that I WILL host (by donation) code for anyone who wants to skip this step. This will allow me to maintain your code. However, it WILL reveal (To me only) your app ID and OAuth token for this app. While I won’t have the context to control your house THIS IS a security risk from a theoretical level. Most all of your don’t know me so you have no basis to trust me, and you will always have the option to move the code to your account. All I can say is if you are more concerned about the potential lack of security than opening another account with Amazon, you should open your own account (it is free…unless you make 1 million calls to it in a month…to put that in perspective there are over 2 million seconds in a month). Anyway, instructions for setting up a Lambda account are here:
  3. My living room has a light and a motion sensor with the same name. If you plan to use devices in your home with the same name, you should change them now to something unique. The app will not ask you “which one”…it will simply say "you have multiple devices with that same name. Until I get the “macro” app written, it is recommended every device you address has a unique name.
  4. Routines and mode should be unique as well, and should NOT have any punctuation in them. By default, you have some routines called “Good Morning!”. The Alexa Helper app strips these away, and it SHOULD work, but to be safe, remove commas, exclamation points or any other punctuation from your modes and routines

I am getting really close to finishing this app. It WILL probably have some logic bugs as voice flow is a LOT of IF/THEN statements that potentially can conflict with each other. However, please ensure you post your specific use cases with what you are saying and the result.

The good thing about this app is that you can also help improve it. If you find a syntax that works well for you, I can include it in future versions of the app. Just ensure we use this thread for doing that as others can modify there utterance file on the fly to get these benefits.

So the big question is WHEN…I am actually hoping for next week some time to release this!!!

Many of you have sent me donations to encourage me to build the best app I can. Thank you to those that did, and to everyone that simply is sending notes or suggestions. It really helps! For anyone else wanting to donate, you may do so here…


(James) #26

Hello Michael,

Not sure if this relevant. I notice on your wiki that you referred to

Some of us (UK) have to go to a different place

Do you need to consider this in your program?

Best wishes.



(Micheal ) #27

Not in the app…I do use the ST API to call out the location of the REST endpoint, so that is fine…I will update the documentation, however. Good call!


(Micheal ) #28

I made the changes to the documentation and ensure the app is region aware (or it should be…very little I can test with this) :slight_smile:



Bookmarked the wiki link to prep :slight_smile:

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(David) #30

To help with some proof reading… :wink:

Wiki typos:

Under the Set up of your Amazon Echo section:

Missing e:

Once SmartThings is properly configured, go into the Amazon Echo SmartApp within SmartThings (See image to the right) and click on the switches you intend to us e. These can be real switches/dimmers, virtual switches or momentary button tiles

Under the Setting up your Amazon Lambda and Developer Accounts section:

Drop the unnecessary a:

To use Ask Alexa you will need to create a two “free” accounts at Amazon.

Also, the GitHub link in the Wiki is returning a 404:


(Micheal ) #31

Fixed…except for the GitHub link…the code is not done but this WILL be the address it is located when completed…

Thanks! After looking at this document all week I tend to miss the most obvious items. However, since this IS a wiki anyone can submit changes…feel free! If you make a significant contribution be sure to add your name to the document contributions area.


(Michael Hess) #32

Holy setup Batman!

Got to setting up the Lambda, then your lovely note on GitHub…I can wait patiently, REALLY!

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(Micheal ) #33

I put a lot of notes in the links…I feel like a mini-Steve Jobs teasing a new iPhone…It is kind of cool people are looking forward to this…


(Jason "The Enabler" as deemed so by @Smart) #34

This right here! This is what I’ve been waiting fit with echo, since I first read about it!

This is the first step…

I see this software morphing into something incredible very quickly…

This is what I see coming…

Alexa, ask home the status of the bedroom fans, and if any are on, turn them off.

Sounds simple, but multiple commands based on a query… It’s awesome! ! ! !

Once this happens, you set up your system and never touch the app again! Just ask Alexa!

I can’t wait to get my hands on this software! I really hope you go to Amazon to have this redheaded to the general public!


I see this ability kind of like this… Instead of going into the app and building a rule, which can be triggered from echo… We would be building the rule via voice control for a one time use.

I like that because I may not always want the fans off, I may just want to know what’s on.


(Micheal ) #35

I already spoke to Amazon a few months ago…they are not interested in specific integration, but general…This would actually benefit SmartThings more than Amazon for their environment .


(Micheal ) #36

A better way to do this would be a 2 layered command

you: Ask SmartThings Fan Status
Alexa: All fans are off except livingroom…would you like to turn this off
you: sure
Alexa: All fans are now off.

To be clear, Ask Alexa is 1 dimensional…I hope at some point to put in a bit more depth in the responses…that increases the complexity 4x, but it is a challenge :slight_smile:

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Would be awesome if we can say… Alexa, ask home to turn off all lights in 10 minutes… or Say, Alexa, ask home to turn on the master bedroom lights every morning at 6 AM.

we can dream right… :stuck_out_tongue:

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(Micheal ) #38

That isn’t too far off…when I get to the Macro app something like this might be possible.

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(Jason "The Enabler" as deemed so by @Smart) #39

That’s what I’m talking about! !

Can you see me doing back flips here! ! ! !



Hope you’ll enjoy the beer :slight_smile: Thanks for making my house awesome

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