Routines are one thing that can really make your home feel smart. We’ve previously discussed Philips Hue automations, so today we’ll be taking a look at some of the best routines you can set up right now on your Amazon Echo.
What Are Alexa Routines?
Alexa routines are a simple but powerful tool. A routine is one or more actions chained together. A very common Echo task is to adjust the lights, and then read the news.
Without a routine, you’d have to ask Alexa to do these tasks in two separate steps:
“Alexa, turn the lights on.”
“Alexa, news briefing.”
With a routine, you can assign a custom phrase to perform both of these tasks—and you’re not just limited to two actions!
“Alexa, work time.”
Routines can be customized with keywords, and they can be configured on a schedule. If you’ve got the right equipment, you could have your news flash briefing, along with the blinds opening themselves. Or what about turning your coffee machine on with a smart plug—all controlled by Alexa!
How Do You Create a Routine?
Creating routines with Alexa is easy. From the Alexa app, go to the Settings page by pressing the cog on the bottom right. Scroll down and select Routines from the Accounts page.
Create a New Routine by pressing the Plus button on the top right.
Start by choosing When this happens. This is where you’ll configure what particular action will trigger your scene. On the next page, choose how you want your routine to be triggered: either when you say a phrase or at a certain time.
Next, choose Add action. This is what your want Alexa to do in this routine. You can choose from several categories, or even get Alexa to speak certain phrases to you.
Once you’ve chosen an action, press the Add button at the bottom. You can now add another action, or if you’re finished, choose Create at the bottom.
5 Awesome Amazon Alexa Routines
Now that you know just how easy it is to program Alexa routines, here are five to get you started.
1. Start Your Day
This is a simple one. Just like a radio alarm clock, get your daily news briefing from Alexa. Configure your routine to run on a schedule—perhaps 7am on weekdays. Add a new action and choose the news option.
After the news, add a new action for Weather, and if you’re able to, choose Smart Home, and choose a light to turn on as well.
2. Happy Birthday Greeting
This one involves a bit of forward planning, but why not have Alexa say happy birthday to you or a family member? Configure your routine on a schedule (although you’re limited to one week in advance).
For the action, choose Alexa says, and then Birthday. Here you can choose from a range of greetings, from a simple “Happy Birthday”, to more complex messages.
3. Change the Mood
While Alexa supports smart lighting, voice control can sometimes be troublesome. Ask Alexa to turn on the lights, and you might be greeted with darkness, while that sarcastic, robotic voice cheerily replies “I found several lights, which one do you mean”. With this routine, you can easily configure Alexa to control lights, without needing to be so specific in your request.
Start your routine with When you say something. Enter your phrase of choice, such as “daytime working”, or “evening relax”. While commands require you to use your Echo’s wake word, you don’t have to type that in here.
For your action, choose Smart Home, and then select your light and color. Once done, go ahead and add as many actions as you want for each different light.
The benefit of a routine for lighting, is that you can change many different lights or other compatible smart devices. You’re not just limited to one scene or group per command.
4. Welcome Home
For this routine, how about a nice greeting when you get home from work? Configure a schedule for the time you usually arrive home—Alexa doesn’t support triggering from your location or based on sensor input, unfortunately.
For the action, choose Phrases, and then I’m home. Select a suitable phrase from the list. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to choose a random phrase.
5. Traffic Update
For this final routine, let’s get a traffic update. Create a new routine, and either configure a schedule, or a voice activation.
For the action, select Traffic and then Add. That’s all there is to it on the routine side, but we’re not done just yet. In order for this to work correctly, you’ll need to configure your commute. This lets Alexa know where you’ll be driving to and from, and even lets you add stops along the way!
Select Settings from either the navigation drawer or the bottom right settings cog. Scroll down to Traffic, and then enter your commute details by pressing Add address in the to/from fields.
What’s Your Favorite Amazon Echo Routine?
Today we’ve shown you some of the cool things you can do with Alexa routines. While these routines are very cool, they are slightly limited if you want anything more than the basics.
If you’re looking for a bit more control, then why not take a look at our best IFTTT smart home recipes?
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