[SOLVED] Getting useful output back from a group of sensors (Alexa)

Here’s the scenario. I have several window contact sensors, and I’d like to be able to do something like “alexa, ask home if the windows are closed” and get output from alexa like “they’re all closed” or “the master bedroom window is open.”

Now, polling sensors with webcore is super easy and I’ve actually written a piston to poll and use logic to list which sensors are open. I can also call this piston from alexa via ask alexa, which again is easy. What I’m missing is the ability to get alexa to give me a report on what’s open. It would be nice to just have a parameter like xParam that could be passed back to ask alexa, which I could populate with the piston and just call it as a custom acknowledgement message, but as best as I can tell this is a one way street.

Other ideas would be to write a virtual sensor that polled all of the sensors in question but gave back input in the form of which windows were open.

Has anyone played around with functionality like this? Note that just hooking up an external supported speaker is out of the question unfortunately. If it were that easy I’d have already done it. :frowning:

I do exactly this. With one caveat: the answer does not come from an Echo device, but from my android control tablet. The chain goes like this:

A. I say to an Echo Dot: “Alexa, trigger window report”.
B: this triggers an IFTTT Maker (now called Webhooks) action, which sends an http get request to webcore.
C: webcore does its inventory of all doors and windows, and outputs a push notification indicating which ones are open.

D: on my android control tablet, the notification is intercepted by AutoNotification (a Tasker plugin)… and that app outputs the notification on the tablet’s speaker.

There’s no native ability in Alexa to do this. However, there are two different community – created smart apps that can do this and much more. You might take a look at those. One is EchoSistant and the other is askAlexa. Both are popular and they have slightly different features so it’s worth taking a look at both. Both have fairly complex set ups, but also active support communities who can help if you run into any problems.


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Thanks for your reply. I have askAlexa installed and integrated with my nest thermostat via NST manager and it sees my door and window contact sensors. I also have it working with webcore, but it seems like macros or pistons lack the ability to give back the information that I’m looking for, or I’m too green at this to see how I can get them to report back to askAlexa what I need. I’ll check into echosistant as well, it might be a good alternative.

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Hmmm. There are a couple of ways you can get this out of Ask Alexa. PM me with your setup and use case and I am sure we can get you the output you are looking for.

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Well, using EchoSistant you just do this…

Alexa, ask home what windows are open
Alexa, ask home how many windows are open
Alexa, ask home what doors are open
Alexa, ask home how many doors are open
Alexa, ask home what’s open
Alexa, tell home to check the house.

all of those work just fine as soon as you have the app installed.

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Thanks so much. I’ll PM you now.

edit: maybe not so much, I don’t have PM ability yet because of my trust level. Would it be possible for you to PM me so I can reply to it and give you the info, or would you like me to just post it here?

Thanks again!

Doing it now!

The solution to my problem was to use the reports feature in askAlexa. Thanks MichaelS for your patience!