Amazon Echo Announcements

I noticed yesterday Amazon released some new features including Media Control, does anyone know if this can allow OpenHAB to play announcements via Echo?

I saw that too…

It seems this new capability is only for Amazon Voice Services. AVS allows you tie in Alexa to custom applications/products, but the big limitation is they force AVS developers to use buttons (not voice) to trigger it. This essentially blocks developers from cloning the Amazon Echo.

I do not believe this new ‘send server-initiated messages’ feature allows us to have the Amazon Echo make ‘announcements’ from a server-side push, rather its been introduced to add support for timers/alarms and media controls via the Alexa/Custom Apps.

That was one of my questions - can you send messages to Alexa for her to announce. Sounds like this isn’t possible. Just got mine today and having a play - she is really very good at understanding commands. Can’t wait to integrate with openHAB!!

Unfortunately, you are right - not possible today.

It IS possible however to pair Echo with your OpenHAB server over bluetooth, and have the TTS announcements (i.e MaryTTS) play back on the Echo. By no means ideal, but it does work :slight_smile:

Is there an example or How To pair an Echo to OpenHAB? I would like to set different announcements for the kids. I currently have rules that will flash the lights in various rooms as visual clues, but I would like to add the audio guidance as well.

Such as…

  • Kids it’s bedtime
  • Kids Lights Out

Really no different that the bell at school, but with audio and a light sequence.


@Toneus - I had decent success with the following:

  • Connect a bluetooth receiver to your OpenHAB box
  • Pair Alexa with your OpenHAB (Running ubuntu desktop this was easy, not sure what steps are involved to do the same via CLI)
  • Setup MaryTTS - I ended up using the MaryTTS server rather than the OpenHAB binding, along with the ‘Spike’ voice model which has superior quality.
  • Create the OpenHAB rules you want to ‘announce’ on Alexa. Rather than using ‘say()’, I used a custom script which passes the text to the local MaryTTS server. Examples of how to do that can be found here.
  • In the same rule(s), add in the lighting sequences you want to trigger, and playSound() to play some audio file

This is a total hack around Alexa’s inability to ‘announce’ stuff; I unfortunately doubt they will be officially adding that anytime in the near future.