Using presence and door sensor to trigger Echo weather, music, etc

I am new to ST’s, Echo, and IFTTT. I have dug around the forums a little bit but not finding the answers I am missing.

I have found several guides on how to use Alexa to trigger actions via ST’s, however I am trying to do the opposite. I would like to set up a task as follows:

iPhone Presence - Changes from Away to Present
Front Door Sensor - Changes from closed to open
Echo - Reports the news, or plays music, etc.

Any help on this would be great! Currently I have the MichaelStruck : Alexa Helper Smart App installed and I have connected both the Echo and ST’s to IFTTT

I’ve been looking for something similar. From what I can tell, this isn’t an integration problem, it’s an Echo API issue. Currently, there is no way to make the Echo speak without first being spoken too. Basically, timers and alarms are the only events where Echo will make noise without prompting (and even those are prompted).

I imagine they did this so that Echo didn’t become the annoying notification noise machine our phones are. However, it’s still disappointing. Maybe they’ll change it in the future.

Well that is unfortunate.

This works…but you’re gonna laugh. You can actually command alexa to do or say something this way under smartthings control

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The way skills work is that the Alexa invokes a skill, which passes data to a function on a server that then returns a response. This handshake has to start from the Echo so that there is an established path back to it.

Much like how a browser makes a request from a server, the server then returns data to the requesting browser. The server has no way to push something through to your browser if you make no request (it has no idea where or who it is). Don’t expect this to change anytime soon, if ever.

I wouldn’t say it’s not possible for them to add. As someone above posted, the remote allows you to use the “Simon Says” function from the remote. I don’t see why, if Amazon chooses, they couldn’t do something similar and broader. I, for one, would really like to see that added.

I have an Amazon AWS developer account and have created a few Alexa skills. It is true the Alexa Skills Kit API does not support push notifications.

However, a few weeks ago, I received a survey from Amazon to put in order 10 different items as future enhancements to the platform in order of priority. “Notifications” was one of the items to choose from (and I voted it as my #1 item), so it is on their radar, if not already under development.

It is technically possible to support this functionality. The handle back to a specific Echo device can be stored with a trigger/timer so that at some point in the future, it uses that handle to push a message back to a specific device. I haven’t looked into it at all, but I’d assume this is the way SmartThings is able to push events to our hubs now… at sunset, push an event to hub (some unique hub handle here). The hub (or the Echo) just has to always be listening.

I believe this will definitely happen, just don’t know when.

It seems we are not to far from Back to the Future II "Welcome home Jennifer"
Do you think ST will be able to push that to Echo at some point? I just bought my Hub and just been playing around with some smart plugs and our Androids as presence sensors. I do plan on getting more stuff as time goes by, I was looking at the ITTT page and noticed that all the Echo recipes started with “If Echo” “Then do blah” and was disappointed.

If you get the Aeon Labs multifunction doorbell. Record yourself saying “Alexa, what the news?” or whatever the phrase is. Then, build a smart App or use CoRE to configure the following…

If presence changes from away to present and is followed by the door opening play track x on the doorbell (which is mounted close to the echo) with track x being what you recorded to ask alexa to do…

Now that I got my doorbells working as alarms, I serious thought about doing the following scenario which is why I think this will work for you. No reason why it won’t…

First time motion is detected in our kitchen in the morning have my doorbell ask Alexa about today’s weather.

I can’t think of a reason this won’t work, but it will cost you $50 for the doorbell.

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I like this one for people who already have the doorbell. :sunglasses: Very clever!

Wouldn’t it be easier in that case to just have the doorbell play the greeting then? But hearing myself say Welcome home Dave would be kind of weird.

Yes, if it’s just a greeting. I think people were talking more about having the echo do things like play Spotify music. In which case you could use the doorbell to tell the echo to start playing while you yourself are still in the driveway so the music would be on by the time you got into the house.

Many people want to be able to send commands to an echo with some way other then just voice. That’s a feature that Amazon will have to change, there’s nothing smartthings can do about it. So use your Amazon echo app to request it as a feature update. :sunglasses:

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I found this: aws lambda - Amazon Echo - Push a message to the device - Stack Overflow
the 3rd answer seems promising. Do you know what this guy is talking about?

Yes, but that’s an option for developers, not regular users. You would have to set up your own Amazon developer account, host your own server, and then what they’re saying is that instead of actually getting a voice file from echo, There are pathway options where you could send it a pre-recorded voice file and let it process that.

So they’re using the Amazon Web services developer option for people developing an echo skill that is intended for use by non Echo devices and instead of capturing a new spoken command, they are just using pre-recorded audio files.

It’s all possible, but it requires additional devices, some technical skills, and it’s pretty convoluted.

What everybody wants is exactly what you described at first – – the equivalent of putting echo actions as the “that” in an IFTTT recipe.

I really don’t like the idea of relying on IFTTT to make stuff work. While it is useful, I imagine a lot things could go wrong with that. I’m not really sure how secure it is. I feel like it creates a door to your system. But I could be wrong I just started my researching on this stuff.
Thanks for the new word. Had to look up convoluted. lol

That’s why I said “the equivalent” of making it a “that” in an IFTTT recipe. :sunglasses: It wouldn’t necessarily require IFTTT at all, it might just be some way of issuing a command to echo. But if we are going to get that, it would probably also show up in the Echo IFTTT channel first.

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I’ll keep watching. :slight_smile:

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Since this thread started, some very clever community members have created two different options for triggering Echo responses. Both do require getting an Amazon developer account and some technical set up, but for those people who are interested, they are definitely worth looking at.

These are AskAlexa and EchoSistant.

Both are listed under voice smart apps in the quick browse lists in the community – created wiki.

Again, both of these require some technical expertise and have a pretty complicated set up process.

Still waiting on Amazon to provide an easy way to do this, but it’s not here yet, so it’s good to have alternatives. :sunglasses:

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Replying to get updates. I’m interested as well and will dig into additional options

I saw this post

About notifications being added to Alexa and I already see options within AccuWeather where you have to give permission for these notifications to be pushed to your device, but it seems useless, you still have to ask Alexa to tell you what the notifications are, they don’t just play automatically.

So, how is this any different having to say Alexa, what are my notifications or what did I miss? instead of just specifically asking for the latest weather update.

Is this all they are going to do or are they eventually going to allow full on notifications (with opt in permission per skill) so you can push actual notifications that get spoken right away.

It would be awesome if Alexa knew I had to go somewhere at 3pm, saw the weather was going to rain and would alert me at 2:30 or something and tell me to bundle up and bring an umbrella because it’s going to rain etc. you get the idea or for any app to be able to push spoken word or selected alerts from other skills such as described above with playing music when you come home from work without you having to ask it to, so it can be built into some kind of scene that gets triggered etc. and greets you, tells you what you missed while away, asks you things or what ever. Wakes you up in the morning by reading your to-do list for the day, triggered by you getting out of bed or something lol.

All kinds of cool ideas, we just need everyone to get together and learn how to play nice with each other, so everything can communicate with everything else and do, well, everything lol