Amazon Echo

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Type:Voice Command Input

Protocol: WiFi through a custom official integration.

Capabilities:Through an official integration, can use voice commands to control many devices in your SmartThings network

Device Type Author: official integration


Echo and SmartThings work very well together, and there is much discussion in the forum about various projects and applications for it. One of the most popular uses is to combine it with the Logitech Harmony universal remote and SmartThings to create hands-free voice control of home entertainment devices, such as "Alexa, turn on Netflix." Instructions and examples can be found in the forums.

Other popular uses include handsfree voice control of lights. Unlike other voice control options such as HomeKit, echo does not require pre-authorizing each user. So anyone who comes in the house, including children and visitors, can use echo at any time they are within range of it.

Echo also has exceptional far field listening technology, which makes it able to distinguish most voices from a further range then a typical phone-based system. Some community members report using a single echo to cover multiple rooms.

Echo handles most voices and many accents very well. It does not seem to have a preference for male versus female voices or vice a versa. If your echo appears to have difficulty understanding any one person, have them do the "training" exercises in the echo app.

Official support article on connecting Amazon echo to smartthings [[1]]

Community setup FAQ: [[2]]]

Community FAQ on using Echo to control virtual switches to changes modes or run routines: [[3]]

Unofficially, one community member has been working on an ASK project to provide a smartthings "skill" for echo which allows for control of some additional device classes. This is a much more technically complex option to install, but does give some additional features: [[4]]

Known Issues

  • At the present time, echo can only control lights and switches, using the "turn on/off/dim commands. Therefore, when you discover your SmartThings – connected devices in echo, echo will not discover devices of other classes like thermostats, locks, sound systems, sprinklers, etc. It also will not list modes, routines, or Harmony activities. However, because SmartThings allows the creation of "virtual switches" it is quite easy to represent many things other than lights and switches as a virtual switch, and have Echo voice command of them through the Amazon echo. For example, by setting up a virtual switch to turn on your "Night" Mode in SmartThings, you could say "Alexa, turn on night" and have echo turn on your night mode. You could also use a virtual switch assigned to an [[IFTTT] recipe. In this way SmartThings greatly extends the home automation control capabilities of the Amazon echo. Further control of other devices using virtual switches can be obtained with a community-written application called Alexa Helper.
  • At the present time, echo is designed to take in voice instructions, parse them, and pass them along to smart things. There is no direct method for customizing what echo itself will say, or instructing it to play notifications. This capability would need to be added by Amazon.
  • At the present time, there are only two wake words available for info: "Alexa" and "Amazon." Amazon has said that more will be available in the future.
  • An optional voice remote is available for the echo. Only one can be paired per echo. The voice remote is just a microphone, so echo can hear you, but you will not be able to hear the response through the remote.
  • Community members have discovered a number of quirks involved in echo device and group names. In some cases, this depends on the exact set of names you are already using. Discussion in the following forum topic: [[5]]
  • echo's voice recognition service is an evolving protocol. Over time, some words, such as "Roku," are more easily recognized as more customers use them. Other words get removed from use as device names and are now reserve for echo's own use, such as "Alexa, turn power off" where "power" initially could be used as a name of a switch, and now is processed by Echo as an instruction to itself.
  • although Amazon echo does have an IFTTT channel, it is very limited.

Device Type

The device type is automatically created by the official integration.