SmartThings Community

[RELEASE] Ask Alexa

(Micheal ) #4348

Happy Friday. I hope everyone is enjoying their summer. A few things to announce here.

First, many of you know my love for Rooms Manager. Well @bangali not only has put Ask Alexa Message Queue capabilities into his application, but also will support the GE Motion switch/dimmer DTH that I have taken ownership of. That seemed like a natural fit: the switch can go into “occupancy” or “vacancy” operating mode programmically and that aligns with some of the functions of Room Manager. (Rooms Manager: Smarter Rooms: Personalized home automation with Occupancy)

In addition, Ask Alexa ALSO supports the GE switches. If you want to change the ‘operating mode’ of a switch, you can do it as simply as saying "Alexa, tell SmartThings to set office to vacant’. Again, the operating mode is the ‘secret sauce’ of these switches, allowing them to go on and off automatically (and, from a hub stand point, locally) based on motion and/or amount of light in the room.

I made good progress on the DTH this week, and after the beta testers sign off on it, I will release it…probably next week if all goes well. I will then release a newer version of Ask Alexa and some of the extensions that support these new devices.

Anyway, enjoy!

Rooms Manager: Smarter Rooms: Personalized home automation with Occupancy
(Adam Hawk) #4349

Hey there, AA community.

A day or so ago, I used the JSON editor to copy and paste an update to my developer slots. Since then, when I ask ST about any of my devices. All Madam A says back is “hmm I don’t know about that”

Any advice for troubleshooting steps?

(Micheal ) #4350

Check you innvocation make… Try it as smart things… Not smartthing…

(Joel W) #4351

@MichaelS I was thinking that some day I would love to see different Alexa voices for different Echo’s. I am not sure that would ever be possible, but would be a load of fun. Call one Echo HAL and have a mail voice etc.

(Adam Hawk) #4352

Hmm. This is strange. My AA Dev code has just over 2900 lines if I look at it in an editor like Brackets, but when I try to put that same code into the JSON editor, it gets truncated to 2500 lines.

I’ve tried copying and pasting as well as uploading the file.

Any idea why that would happen?

(Micheal ) #4353

I have seen that and it really could be based on how it was copied/pasted. I have never been able to duplicate it, but using the upload function seems to because more reliable way to get the JSON in there.

(Micheal ) #4354

Amazon actually announced that. I have the code ready and it is just a matter of Amazon turning it on for everyone.

(Joel W) #4355

That is great news, looking forward to that.

(Adam Hawk) #4356

After some fiddling with the encoding of the file, I got the whole file up to the editor.

Madam A now responds, but it’s much more hit and miss than it was previously. A lot of the time I get “I don’t know about that.” I’m considering editing the invocation name to be two words, but I don’t know if that would help, and I don’t know how many places in the code would need to be updated.

Thoughts on improving recognition accuracy for trigger phrases?

(Kaan Ozturk) #4357

I have been using ask alexa for a while for some reason with the most recent update, my room macro stopped working. When I say " Alexa tell smartthings to turn off downstairs lights", she responds that “downstairs lights does not support that”. Any idea what could be the cause of this?

(Micheal ) #4358

For both @knozturk and @ADHawk you have the same issue. You are initiating the native skill…not Ask Alexa. If you change the invocation name (At the bottom of the Settings area of the app) to TWO words (Smart Things) and then update your JSON this will radically improve your results

Amazon changed this months ago making this necessary.

(Micheal ) #4359

Happy Friday…Nothing to report in Ask Alexa land, but I have released the new DTHs for the GE Switches/Dimmers I have been raving about.

(Micheal ) #4360

Happy Friday…It has been hot in the Pacific Northwest where I live. I hope everyone is staying cool!

Not much to report; the release of the new DTHs for the GE dimmers/switches went well and I am getting positive feedback regarding them. I am already working on a revision to add some additional features for a use case I have (visitors to my house).

Anyway, on the Ask Alexa front, I have a beta that I have been using that utilizes the NotifyMe skill. This is for those that want notifications from the Ask Alexa Message queue. I have delayed releasing this new version as I had hoped this function would get better. Unfortunately, the developer sent this:

Amazon says they cannot make any notification limit exceptions for Notify Me. And, they clarified that if any one user exceeds their per-user limit, Amazon blocks everyone from using the skill (which is the state the skill has been in for over a week now).

We are now attempting to get Amazon to tell us what, exactly, their per-user notification limit is so we can preemptively implement the same limit on our end. By doing this, we can keep Amazon from blocking Notify Me due to the high activity of one or more enthusiastic users. As soon as Amazon reveals this information, we’ll implement the cap on our end, ask Amazon to unblock the skill, and then let you know what your new notification limitations are.

We apologize for how long this is taking, but we’re moving as fast as Amazon allows.

Thanks again for your patience.

Such is life…I will keep monitoring this, and if Amazon comes out with a better notification system I will add it to Ask Alexa.


(Micheal ) #4361

Happy Friday…A few things to mention this week!

I am updating the GE switches with a new version that gives more programmatic control over the various settings of the device. I had a few specific use cases where I could use them, and assume others could as well. You can get the new versions here:

I did get a final resolution on the NotifyMe skill:

As you might have noticed, notifications from Notify Me started working again on or about July 26 (hooray!)_

Amazon both “unclogged” our skill and shared with us their new notification limits: 5 notifications in a 5 minute period per user

As a result, this is exactly what Notify Me now enforces, ensuring no one user can break the skill again. If you try to send more than 5 notifications within a 5 minute period, Notify Me ignores your sixth request and returns the following error message:

error: “Too many requests”,
message: "Amazon enforces a limit of 5 notifications in a 5 minute period. Please wait at least 5 minutes before trying again.

About five minutes after you receive above error message, you should be able to send notifications again.

Thanks for your patience and support.

-The Thomptronics team

Finally, thanks to @ADHawk I pushed out a small update to Ask Alexa. It is JUST the IDE app and doesn’t make a significant change, but if you are having issues with PINs and SHM, this might be your fix. We are now at 2.3.9f.


(Mike Guest) #4362


Hi. I’m currently running 2.3.9d, and i’m wondering if you can explain about the notifyme stuff.

Is this something that’s coming that will allow Alexa to speak remotely umprompted, or will it simply make the orange light shine to tell me I have a notification? or have i missed your meaning altogether (not entirely impossible)

Currently I get notifications by getting bigtalker to talk to a tablet running lannouncer which is bluetoothed to Alexa. Whilst this works i’d love (alongside many others) to find a way of just getting Alexa to speak my alerts directly. (However my understanding is that this is not exposed functionality)


(Jeremy S) #4363

I can’t figure out how to add my new Rachio controller to Ask Alexa. I looked through all of the menus and don’t see a way to add a sprinkler controller anywhere. Has someone figured this out yet?

(Micheal ) #4364

The sprinklers appear as switches so you can add them in the switch area and control them with on or off commands.

(Micheal ) #4365

I have not implemented NotifyMe in the current release (Which, you should go to 2.3.9f) as I am not sure it is the functionality people will want. It does not “wake” and alert you with voice when a message comes it; instead it just does the light as you guessed…you then have to ask about message to get the text.

I recommend looking here:

This is pretty much the functionality I already have with the Ask Alexa Message Queue…if you use a Sonos speaker you get an even better experience as those speakers CAN wake and start talking.

Hope that helps.

(Micheal ) #4366

With football season getting started, I will be forgoing the Friday updates during the preseason. Keep those suggestions or questions coming however!

(Taylor) #4367

When I try to test the skill I am not getting any response. Just blue bubbles forever. Any idea of the issue? I have tried rebuilding the skill 3 times but still the same result.