[SHARE] Ask Alexa Skill - How are you using Echo?

Continuing the discussion from :

This thread is a place for everyone to share how they are using the AskAlexa skill created by @MichaelS

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I’m sure most everyone will do what I did… I created reports for my doors, lights, and things like that…

But, I found a use that is really handy!

My wife is always asking the kids if they had fed the dog that morning, or that evening. So, I created a way to find out!


  • 1 Iris 2nd gen motion sensor
  • 1 Dog food container with a flip up lid (Kitchen garbage can)
  • 1 square inch of double sided 3m foam tape


  • Stick the motion sensor to the inside of the lid. Name the sensor something like “Dog Food”


  • create a report (name it what you want) using the motion sensor. Have it report the time of the last movement.

How to use it -
me: Alexa, ask home for the Last time Dug was fed report
Alexa: tells me the last time there was motion on the sensor!


This is awesome!

By the way, there are many similar use cases in medical support situations where people like to check to see if a specific drawer (Which contains prescription meds) was opened that day, and all that. Alexa just provides an easier UI. I just mention this because it would also apply in some situations to open/close sensors as well.

Note that just like your dog food example, these are not use cases where you want a siren to go off when the sensor reports activity or anything like that. You just want to easily be able to check when there was last activity on a particular sensor. :sunglasses:

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It’s important to know when the dog was last fed…good job!
But will it answer the question, “Who let the dogs out?” (woof) (woof) (woof)…


What a coincidence!.. I set up something similar to announce if our dog has not been fed …using private boolean in RM and a contact sensor in my dog’s food container. It announces on our SONOs as a reminder if we did not feed him … And is triggered only when there is motion in the kitchen. Now I dont have to guess whether my wife has fed the dog already before leaving for work. It has been working great since last 1 week … I shall try the alexa skill next…


@MichaelS and @N8XD have opened up Alexa to unimaginable uses. Here are my favorite tricks:

Alexa, tell my home good morning (routine based, Alexa changes temperatures, starts brewing my coffee, changes mode, unlocks doors, turns lights off)

Alexa ask my home what temperature is in baby’s room

Alexa use my home for weather report (reads from my Bloomsky)

Alexa ask my home what car is in the garage

Alexa ask my home who is present

Alexa ask my home when my teenager left (event based on motion)

And…my most favorite: Alexa tell my home I’m too hot (and she turns down the temperature by precisely 1 degree).



Hey Bobby, love that list - you got me on the car and which garage?

Care to share which things you have doing that?


And we can tell who did Keith with motion and camera recording :slight_smile:

My best one was spotting which kid stole all the candy from the doorstep this past Halloween. Called him out, most impressed.

Automatic in both cars via IFTTT updates virtual presence.

My use cases are all similar but just playing around right now to see what works best. I’m building a new home and will be making it smart as possible.

My best example right now (aside from the doggie food) is turning the shower on.

Me: Alexa ask home to turn the shower on
Alexa: ok, turning shower on.

I could copy @SBDOBRESCU and build that into a routine too…Alexa good morning etc. Which I’m sure I’ll play with that to see if it gets WAF.

Before anyone asks, I have this simulated right now, as my new digital shower is new home only. But in principle this will work as it responds to URL commands for on and off. I have a virtual switch executing two dummy URLs and all works :slight_smile:


Cool. I have automatic in my car, will try that.

I have a morning report (weather, lock/SHM/mode report) and a nightly report (lights/locks/doors/mode/SHM), I also use it to activate routines that are needed on command (routine called “in the office” which puts the house into “work from home” mode which disables the office light from turning off when motion stops, useful for working at the desk or my wife playing the piano in there. I also have a routine called “time to leave” which unlocks the door and opens the garage. But the biggest draw was the 2-way feedback on statuses on the fly (like SHM, locks, garage door, etc).

I have to share this one, as I just freaked out my friends:

Sonos: your lights will turn off in five minutes
Me: Alexa, tell my home to stop 0laying with the lights, downstairs
Alexa: OK
Sonos: your lights will no longer turn off, enjoy your company

Thank you @MichaelS and @ady624


So I finally got mine set up after much trial and error. Some of these are really cool. Can you share some screen shots or the coming just to get my creative juices flowing?


I am brand new to Echo and Smartthings. I have just installed the Echo and Smartthings Home Monitoring Kit. I am NOT a S/W developer (at all) can you give me any advice to assit in installing ASK ALEXA Skill…is it in the Amazon Skills repository?

Hey there and welcome to ST. Installing AskAlexa can be very intimidating, but follow this link and follow the directions closely. The developer has created a very great install guide.


Your correct these instructions are very intimidating (for a non programmer). Have you successfully installed the S/W? Has the developer submitted licensed the code to AMAZON or attempted to get it added as a “Skill” in the app repository?

If you follow the directions very closely you will not have a problem.

and no, he hasn’t. DO NOT publish the skill… if you do the entire world will have access to your system… lol

Thanks for your prompt response. I have not installed the S/W. I’m
re-reading the instructions again, and again. If I do something wrong what
is the potential fallout? Can I SAVE the original configuration and
restore the Alexa to the factory settings?

This does not change Alexa in any way at all. All of the original functionality remains and is unchanged.

The only fallout is that the smartapp doesn’t work… that’s it.

Follow the directions and ask questions when you need to. The developer is awesome and is always happy to help, as are the rest of us.

I’m tagging him here… @MichaelS

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