By now you probably know that Alexa can serve up information such as the weather report, the sports scores, or even answer your burning questions on one of Amazon’s smart speakers …
By now you probably know that Alexa can serve up information such as the weather report, the sports scores, or even answer your burning questions on one of Amazon’s smart speakers or smart displays, as well as control smart home devices with a voice command.
But you may not know that thanks to Alexa routines, there’s much more it can do. For example, you can create an automation that has Alexa brighten your smart lights, adjust the heating from the smart thermostat, play a certain radio station through the Amazon Echo device itself and switch on your smart coffee machine, all when you dismiss your morning alarm.
It’s also possible to create a routine that has Alexa flash your smart lights a certain color when the video doorbell is rung, or turn off the lights, lower the heating and turn on a robot vacuum when you tell it, you’re heading out.
The key here is that routines enable Alexa to do several things at once, and the trigger for these actions can be a voice command, an action from another device (like a smart doorbell) or something else entirely. All of this is set up using the Alexa smartphone app, and routines can be used with any of Amazon’s Echo smart speakers and displays.
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Sounds good doesn’t it? It’s pretty simple to set up, so let’s get cracking. Unfortunately, it’s not something that can be set-up through an Amazon device, instead, you’ll need a smartphone to hand, with the Alexa app open.
Tap the More tab and select Routines. This page shows any routines that have already been created, a timeline of when your routines have been activated, and a list of featured routines recommended by Amazon. This list is great for inspiration and to show what Alexa routines can do.
To enable any of these recommended routines, simply tap on them to see how they work, then tap the ‘Enable’ button in the top-right corner. Once a routine is enabled it can be activated by speaking to the Alexa of any Echo device attached to your Amazon account.
For example, a recommended routing called Goodnight turns off all smart lights connected to your Alexa system. Alexa will then say a random phrase that wishes you goodnight, and open the Sleep Sounds skill, where you can play a calming sound to help you fall asleep.
Another example of a routine already created by Amazon is called ‘I’m home’. Enable this, and when you say: “Alexa, I’m home,” the assistant will play your Flash Briefing to update you on the day’s news headlines, then cue up a playlist of relaxing music for two hours. You’ll need to dig into this routine to select your music provider of choice.