SmartThings Community

Using Contact and Motion Sensors to Trigger Alexa Routines (DTH in post 97) (Official Amazon Feature)

( #186

Doesn’t seem this is available in the UK :disappointed:


Have you updated your Alexa app? It appeared for me with the update last week.

( #188

The messaging feature? that allows you to select multiple alexa devices

all i see is this


Ah, i thought you meant the ability to use motion/contact sensors to trigger actions. That was only added for UK last week. I don’t have Messaging either.

(Chris Nelson) #190

Think it’ll come soon hopefully, we had to wait a week longer than the US for the motion sensors stuff


I tell myself they’re using our NA cousins as testers before releasing it to their most important customers :wink:


Ok, let me see if I understand the findings so far…
A “virtual switch” will not currently be recognized by Alexa/Echo, but I can create a virtual contact sensor in the IDE and it will work?

(Malcolm Hill) #193

Try Alexa switch, it works fine

(Jimmy) #194

For triggering a routine, correct.


So, this is really not a virtual device as you are pairing a real physical device and using a different device handler…is that correct?


Alexa thinks a virtual switch is the same as a physical switch. It will show up in your smart home devices and you will be able to turn it on and off by voice.

But you can’t use any kind of switch, physical or not, to trigger an echo routine at this time. Only a contact or motion sensor.


Thanks JD, and I have already connected a Visonic contact switch to my garage door, connected it to Alexa, and have her announcing a custom opening message via a routine.

My next goal is to use Alexa for all my text to speak announcements. For example, logically set a switch, (I was thinking of something like a virtual contact switch), that I could “set/open” when the alarm was set to away, and trigger an Alexa routine to make a custom announcement.

It sounded to me that the Alexa virtual button/switch process that malcolm_hill provided would be a possibility. To me it sounds like a true physical contact sensor, with a different device handler that I could logically set to “open” via a ST routine, or core.

If that was true, then it would probably work, but I wouldn’t want to have all of those physical switches in order to create an equal number of my so called virtual switches.

Hope this makes sense.



You can use a virtual contact sensor which also has capability.switch. That allows you to turn it on and off like a switch, but Amazon will also see it as a contact sensor and you can use it to trigger an Alexa routine. No physical device required. :sunglasses:

There’s a DTH for one of this type in post 97 above, created by @bjpierron

(Chris Nelson) #199

The Alexa app for the U.K. has been updated and now shows the messenging feature, however announce isn’t available on mine, only notify. Other U.K. users the same?

(Simon Tether) #200

Yes that’s how mine looks

(Sidney) #201

I’m having a weird issue, where Alexa will announce ‘Garage Door Open’ twice, every time the garage door opens. But, at the same time, she will not announce ‘Back Door Open’ when the back door opens. I checked ST and the notice for the garage is only once, and there is a notice for the back door.

Has anyone had this issue?


This is just an FAQ for how the feature works. To troubleshoot individual problems, start your own thread, and people will be glad to help. That way the FAQ doesn’t get flooded with individual discussions. Thanks. :sunglasses:

(Anthony Genovese) #203

I can’t get routines to work with any device when my trigger is a simulated contact sensor or the Alexa sensor DTH from this thread. Simulated sensors show that they change state in Alexa, but are just not triggering devices as they should from the routine. The weird part is that when I “play” the routine in the Alexa app, everything works as it should.

(Jason "The Enabler" as deemed so by @Smart) #204

This is what you need. You can trigger an Alexa to play and much more, from any trigger available in ST.

(Richard Bryant) #205

I was just typing this same message, you beat me to it.