SmartThings Community

[RELEASE] Ask Alexa

(Brian Salyer) #4246

@MichaelS, I needed to update my Lambda code and did so. While I was in there, I followed the new instructions for Custom Slots by updating my JASON Code. Everything saved and looks fine, but when I try to say a command for one of my Macros, I get “There was a problem with the requested Skills response.”

Is there a way to trouble shoot this easily?

(Micheal ) #4247

That error means the link between your Lambda and SmartThings is not correct. If you are running 2.3.9d, you should be able to follow this and get it working:

(Brian Salyer) #4248

I have copied, pasted and saved the Lambda code as well as the JSON code. On my page, I get red onet error.
**NOTICE: The following duplicate(s) are only listed once below in LIST_OF_SHPARAM:

  • afternoon weekday *

  • afternoon weekend *

  • away *

  • cleaning *

  • evening weekday *

  • evening weekend *

  • guest *

  • morning weekday *

  • morning weekend *

  • sleep *

  • vacation *

Be sure to have unique names for your SmartThings modes and routines and that they don’t interfer with the Smart Home Monitor commands.**

would this be causing it and if so, how would I address it?

(Micheal ) #4249

I am PMing you as I need to see your entire list…

(supa) #4250

Thanks for all of your hard work!
How do I arrange the order of voice and weather reports if I run a macro to run a voice report and a weather report? Like how to make it announce the weather before the voice report?
How do I change which station the weather report is pulling data from? I live in zip code 91790 (West Covina), but it keeps reporting La Verne’s weather report. Weather underground shows West Covina weather fine.

(Micheal ) #4251

The reports are ordered the same as you select them in the interface…that part isn’t the clearest in the instructions.

As for the weather report you set that at the bottom of the report setup page.

(supa) #4252

I set it to the correct zip code, but the city it announces is wrong.
It keeps announcing La Verne instead of West Covina for the zip code 91790

(Orange Scuba) #4253

Just curious but have you tried 91791 or 91792? I’m in the OC and my zip always comes up Anahiem on all sorts of apps and that’s not the city I’m in. So I have had to adjust the code to dial it in a few times. I think living in areas were cities are separated by signal lights can cause some confusion.

(supa) #4254

Yup. I did. Thanks for the suggestion though.
It announces the correct city before I updated to the newest version from the at least 6 month old version.

(Micheal ) #4255

This didn’t change within my app…it gets all of its information from SmartThings and WeatherUnderground so I assume they changed something in their back end systems.
Very odd, but glad you got it going.

(Micheal ) #4256

Hope everyone has a great Easter. There isn’t a lot to report this week. Alexa is still doing some neat ‘tricks’ almost 3 years into her life. I mentioned this before, but I love it when a piece of technology I own continues to evolve instead of me having to purchase the ‘latest and greatest’ hardware. If only cars, washing machines and houses were this way!

Anyway, if you look in your Amazon app under routines, there is a new function called ‘volume’. May not seem like much, but think about the last time you issued a volume command, then were ‘surprised’ when the next time you talked to her the volume was too high or low for that situation. Now the volume of each routine can be set per routine. I am thinking of doing a progressive alarm…Start at 10 and have her say something, then 20 to say something else, then 30 and so on…my lights do a progressive turn on…why not the volume?

In addition, along with the volume you can also include music as a part of your routines. With the addition of the volume piece above, that makes a lot of sense and will allow for some VERY creative routines to be done. All of this, for the most part, replaces the functionality of one of the first apps I delivered (and was published by SmartThings)…the Talking Alarm Clock. While this is still relevant for those without Alexa devices, in my household I have basically depreciated the need to have Sonos’ in each room as there is now an Alexa in each one!

Finally on Amazon news, has anyone tried this: This is a bit different than the speaker to speaker intercom, but kind of cool in its own respect. I love it when Alexa adds features that I don’t have to in Ask Alexa!

Speaking of Ask Alexa, I still continue to plug away at the next version. Nothing substantial to report; I have been helping some folks with installations and finding areas where the documentation can be improved. And, am taking some time this weekend with Adrian(WebCoRE) to make sure his app is fully compatible with Ask Alexa. This has come up a couple times and will be important in the future for these two apps to have tight integration. Finally, I added a ‘repeat’ feature…when I was doing something the other day with Alexa I mis heard her and said “I wish Alexa could repeat that answer”…and she DID. So I decided to add that to Ask Alexa. So, coming soon……

(Jason "The Enabler" as deemed so by @Smart) #4257

Hi Michael!
Now if they would just allow you to announce to a specific Echo device, they would have finally achieved the functionality of the first version of EchoSistant!

(Franklin) #4258

I did this and it works like a charm! I have it say good morning at 15, then it gives a traffic report at 25, then a weather report at 35 then plays music at 45 until I stop it. I am a heavy sleeper, so this helps get me movin without a blaring alarm.

What they need is a timer in here as well between steps. Like the music would start low but over time increase.

(Micheal ) #4259

I did something similar with my wake up routine, but I have to say the little things they are adding to the native functionality is rather impressive!

(matthew t.) #4260

Thank you so much for all this hard work! Looked through the code and it looks fantastic. I love it. just for S&G’s, i used “google” as my word Lol. “Alexa, ask google to…” heh.

Anywho, i’m curious if there was a reason why there isn’t a “fans” category? I live in a hot place all year round, and I usually turn them on and off separately from lights. I love the “in here” function, which i am using, and it would awesome to say “Turn the fans on in here”. Maybe i’m missing a functionality that is already there!

I wouldn’t mind adding it myself, but i just wanted to see if there was any plans for it! Thank you!

(Micheal ) #4261


Thanks for the kind words.

Regarding ‘fans’, SmartThings doesn’t have a concept of fan as what they call a ‘capability’. Those are just switches that control the fans. While lights could be in the same situation, that is used. Adding more items becomes redundant at a certain point (for SmartThings) if their capabilities aren’t different.

However, you make a good point as ‘switches’ can control a variety of things. I assume you are referring to ‘room’ controls for the fans, correct? If so, it is rather easy to do as there is a list of ‘nouns’ that I have to update (edit…just did…I have to change a few things as that same list of nouns is used in other areas), but it does work for the room control when you say ‘turn off the fans in here’. If you are referring to individual devices, you key off the name (label) of the device so you can also do it that way.

Let me know if this is what you meant and I can give you the location to put this in and the instructions on using it. It is rather simple.

(matthew t.) #4262

Hello Michael,

Thanks for a speedy reply. I was indeed referring to room controls for the fans. Thank you for the heads up!

I did run into something a bit odd, and maybe it was written down somewhere, but I didn’t see it. When asking my Alexa decides to associate, all worked fine (even my see Sonos! Woohoo!), But then I went and updated a few groups, some settings, etc… went and updated the code and gave room controls a whirl, but it said it wasn’t associated. I associated again, and it worked perfectly once again. I later realized there are now two “echo” devices under that group now, named slightly different.

(Micheal ) #4263

After doing some testing, I am surprised you can’t use ‘fans’ as an option…While not a noun in your version, it actually ignores the noun and just looks for room name (or here) and verb (on/off, etc). Give it a try and let me know if that does indeed work. If not, I may have changed something else in my code for my version recently that makes it work smoother.

As for the association, you found a little ‘quirk’ in how Alexa assigns the device ID. I need to verify this, but any time you change your developer section (specifically save and build) it seems to assign a new ‘seed’ to the randomly generated device ID, which means any associated IDs will probably not work. I noticed that on mine, and only now put 2 and 2 together as I recently did some developer work. Not much I believe I can do about that except document it. But I will do some research.

Let me know about the room thing, maybe watching living logging and doing a “Alexa, tell smart things to turn off the fans in here” and PM me what you are seeing.

EDIT I did verify this…if you update your Developer’s site the Device IDs for the rooms WILL change, making your old associations not work. I will document this and do a bit of research on how to not have this happen, but anticipate is the way it was designed, so we may be stuck with it.

(Micheal ) #4264

Here we are at another Friday. And, we finally have ‘real time’ notifications on Alexa…well, kinda…

Using the NotifyMe skill (Via the Amazon app), you can send notifications to Alexa. It will simply be the ‘ding’ sound and you have to go and retrieve your messages (notifications), but it is a start.

I actually wasn’t all that impressed since I was really looking for real-time VOICE notifications, and not just a ‘ding’ when messages arrive. Second, and I understand this, since you are using the NotifyMe ‘Service’ it ‘brands’ the messages as such (i.e. ‘You have a notification from Notify Me’). Either way, I DID integrate this into Ask Alexa. My question is…is it worth releasing a new version just with that functionality? If people are interested I can certainly package it up as it only requires the main app and the message queue extension to be updated. It WILL require you to edit code to put in your NotifyMe AppID (the size is too long to be entered by hand), but anyone who has installed Ask Alexa can do this, and we all know I will provide detailed instructions on how to do it. It is just that I don’t see a lot of value in it considering I already have real-time alerts using my Sonos speaker.

The big thing will be where Ask Alexa, as a stand alone skill, will be able to push messages. That is really up to Amazon and when they release this functionality to everyone. As a developer, it wouldn’t make much difference if I have this in MY developer dashboard…everyone has to have it as it is tied to individual accounts (since I don’t publish Ask Alexa…it is considered an individual skill since you copy the code into YOUR developer area).

Anyway, send me your feedback here and I will see if there is interest in pushing this out.

Have a good weekend!


Hi, I am confusing myself with trying to get a routine to run. I set up the routine in Smartthings and if I use the ST app and hit the button, it works fine. The routine turns off certain lights, turns on a specific light, and locks the front door.

If I say “Alexa, ask smartthings to turn on bedtime,” I get a noise but nothing else. In the Ask Alexa settings, I have bedtime selected in the Modes/SHM/Routines section.

Is this simply not possible due to trying to lock a door, or am I missing a step somewhere? I apologize if this has been asked somewhere but it seems to be the only thing I cannot get working.