SmartThings Community

[RELEASE] Ask Alexa

(Anthony S.) #4428

Yea it was an annoying surprise when I discovered that it wouldn’t work the Sonos commands like others did in the past.

I did make a lot of custom commands to support various use cases.


I really enjoy this app in the current version. Since I run Alexa in German, I did quite some changes in the code to switch the input parameters and the responses to German as well. This works somewhat ok.
I noticed that there is now an option to post synonyms to the expressions in the Alexa skill. I had a look at it, but did not get it to work. If that would be integrated in Ask Alexa, it would be a lot easier to adjust it to different languages as just the synonyms and the responses would need to be changed.
Would really appreciate that as a next step. Happy to support as well, if a German translation is of any help.
Michael H

(Micheal ) #4430

Interesting…I thought of those like aliases, but you are probably correct…they might be able to be used for a different language.

Let me play with it and when I get the next version posted we can see what we can do with it.

(Mark) #4431


I used to be able to use Ask Alexa to turn on my Nest Thermostat in heating mode but now I only get the below response?

“I could not process your request, ensure you are using the correct demands for the device”

Is there a specific way to turn on the thermostat?


(Mark) #4432

Actually it works great, it’s Smartthings that keeps changing my device from Heating to Nest Thermostat Heating. I think the new app changes it whenever I open it.

(Micheal ) #4433

Happy Friday. Unfortunately, since it is budget season at my real job, I have been doing that instead of working on Ask Alexa. I know…where are my priorities?!? So there will not be a release this week. I do anticipate it before the end of the year, so maybe we can make it an early Christmas present!

Either way, it is working well for me and once I get it documented, will ensure everyone gets access to it!

(Ben Dixon) #4434

Budget season, I feel you on that!

Have a general dumb question. I use my Echo as an alarm clock. Is it possible to use Ask Alexa to basically obtain the alarm time that I set before I go to bed (so I can use in something like webcore)? Or would I ultimately have to tell Alexa\Echo my wake time and then create a separate ask alexa command (essentially issue two voice commands) to push this data so that it’s accessible in smartthings? Or maybe the other way around; can ask alexa accept a wake time and also setup a Echo alarm in the background?

Having better insight into when the alarm is set gives me some helpful automation paths. I have other means to detect, but i’d like to know 30 minutes before. I guess I could just get up the same time everyday, but it tends to vary weekday vs weekend vs baby vs workout day.

Sorry, my alexa\Echo terminology is not yet up to speed but looking forward to getting ask alexa up and running. Took a quick spin on the very detailed documentation (nice job BTW).

Speech to Text for Automation for an Echo alarm?
(Micheal ) #4435

The alarm time (if you set it via “Alexa set alarm to x:xx”) is not obtainable from my experience. There is an ifttt tag that allows you to trigger something when the alarm goes off.

I do something similar but have it base it on the time I normally get up and my mode.

(Ben Dixon) #4436

Good tip, thanks. Kind of suspected there is a separation of access, but wanted to be sure. Wish alexa fired off an event at the time it’s set, but such is life.


Was wondering if you found a way around for your alarm with Alexa as I’m looking for the same soluion? Waking up at different time in the morning, would love to find a way to start the morning routine 30 minutes before based on that time.

(Ben Dixon) #4438

Not really, but I haven’t explored yet (it’s on the todo list).

What I’m currently doing is using the IFTTT that @MichaelS mentioned. I use that along with bed presence sensors, and other signs to decide the moment to transition from night mode to home.

But I still am very interested in seeing if a skill (if authorized) would allow you to know alarm request related data so I can do things like start warming up the house a bit earlier (and similar). I’m using a Withings sleep as a bed presence and looking at the data, I’ve also been curious if my sleep data transitions as I get closer to when the alarm goes off, but it doesn’t look promising.

I’m currently digging deep into some other custom device related APIs and handlers, but I’ll eventually look unless someone solves it before. I have to think there must be some way to do this through alexa.

(Ben Dixon) #4439

After spending an hour, I’m sure the current API via Alexa doesn’t have a viable path (at least not yet). SO, I have an idea, but I don’t want to junk up @MichaelS’s thread for a small use case not using Ask Alexa. So my attempt at an open discussion here:

(Peter) #4440

Hello. I have been pulling my hair out trying to install askAlexa correctly. It works in developer but not verbally. I live in Canada and my echo device is configured for English (Canada). You said you had to redo the alexa skill in Canada English. Where exactly did you set this in the skills?

I would be so grateful.

(Micheal ) #4441

Actually, I have seen this before, but not 100% sure it is your issue…Simply set it to English (American). Do you actually see the skill in your Amazon app on your mobile device? If you can get it to work in the developer section that means you did everything right and it is a matter of enabling it on your system. Your app should look like this (the skill at the very bottom)


Hi Peter

This is going to be a stretch as i have not looked at it in a year. I will try and look today and see what i can remember and figure out.

(Peter) #4443

Thanks to your post of over a year ago, I redid the ask alexa skill set in the developer program and at the beginning there is an option for Regional Language. Chose English Canada and then the rest. It worked finally. You are the man!

If your Amazon Account is in Canada when installing the Alexa app on your phone by default it goes to English Canada. Must match language in developer app for development skills to work.

(Ed Hall) #4444

I hope I have a simple question. I’ve installed the software to open /close garage door when needed. Alexa is telling me that the device does not support that function. Any idea on where to start looking for what I missed during setup?

(Jean May Jr) #4445

Depends on how Alexa sees the device; i.e. if it thinks it is a switch you may need to turn it off/on instead of opening/closing.

(Micheal ) #4446

When you say you ‘installed the software’…which software are you referring to? The DTH for the garage door opener device, or Ask Alexa.

By design, the NATIVE Alexa app will not open a garage door as it is an ‘entry’ and Amazon is worried about liability from having this functionality. However, Ask Alexa will allow you to open and close the garage door using your Alexa, along with giving you the status of the device.



I’ve just installed askAlexa. My SonosOne responds to the command ‘Ask SmartThings’ although I really need to pronounce very carefully for Alexa to understand me. Alexa replies to me then ‘what I want to do with my Smart Things environment’ or ‘give me a device and a command …’
So I think so far so good? But then when I try any command like ‘give status of Temp Sensor 1’ or the name of a Voice report I get no reaction anymore and the dialog times out. When I try to type in the developer console test all my commands that are written are well understood and I do get the answer. Even when I give a voice report a name like ‘get lalala’ then it is well understood and I do get temperature back. Can anyone help me please? I feel I am close but I am missing some point?