Echo Dot Diary: How Alexa routines can level up a smart home

Alexa routines

One of the things that I appreciate most about Amazon’s smart home ecosystem is Alexa routines. For those familiar with HomeKit, these are basically the same thing as automations. Unlike HomeKit, Alexa routines do not require a HomePod, iPad, or Apple TV to run them. Any Echo device, even the most inexpensive ones, can control other devices based on a plethora of parameters. In this guide, I’ll dive into the ways that Alexa routines can be triggered and how I am using them.

Ways to trigger Alexa routines

A total of six trigger categories show up in my Alexa app. These include voice, schedule, device, location, alarm, and Echo Button. Voice allows users to create their own custom phrase that will then perform a given routine. Schedule, which is the trigger I use most, allows users to specify a time when a routine will run.

The device trigger can be activated by sensors, locks, and more, making it super handy for engaging a deadbolt once a door sensor detects it has been closed. Location is one I have not used yet, but would come in handy for turning lights on or off when leaving or arriving home.

The last two triggers are limited and unique. First off, the alarm trigger is activated when any given alarm has been dismissed. I have yet to use this one, but seems as though it could come in handy for turning all the lights on when waking up in the morning. The last trigger is for Echo Buttons which have been discontinued. This is unfortunate as assigning a button to do a specific task could prove to be very handy.

How I use Alexa routines

With over 40 different Alexa routines set up, one could derive that I am a heavy user of this feature. A large majority of the Alexa routines that I have set up control music playback throughout my home. I have some scheduled to play specific artists and albums throughout the day and also to  change the volume to specific levels.

Next up, I use multipurpose sensors to trigger my deadbolt to lock each time it closes. This specific routine requires an Echo Plus to act as a Zigbee hub, but I’ve not regretted this purchase as its audio quality is much better than I thought it would be. The other types of routines I have revolve primarily around toggling my smart home’s lighting during the day and at night.

9to5Toys’ Take

Upon reading this guide, it’s not hard to identify that I am a fan of Alexa routines. Not only do I find them useful, I deem their existence as a crucial way for average consumers to understand the benefits of upgrading to a smart home. If users can have a door that automatically unlocks when the come home, a thermostat that saves energy when they leave, and lighting that can easily be turned off when not in use, not only will it be convenient, but will also likely end up saving money too.

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