Amazon Echo Skill for OpenHAB available!

Hi Philipp,
it looks quite perfect. I made some additions, but how can I contribute them. I’m not a experienced github user and it seems for me to complicated to get the necessary experience just for this one file. Can I send you a PM with this lanuageGER.js file and maybe some comments.
BTW: do you use this already and how does it work? Are you satisfied with the recognition of the actions?
Do you need to say “Alexa, sage openhab schalte das Licht ein” or is it just “Alexa, schalte das Licht ein”?

I did not understand the whole github pull-request-thing either at the beginning. :slight_smile:

You can use the GitHub-Website to edit files directly in the browser.
GitHub will automatically creatze a form of the project in your account and after saving you will be ask to contribute your change via pull-request.

However, it is worth leaning and understanding git. :slight_smile:

That might be feasible for single text files. But for actual code you have to ensure everything is compiling (and working!) that you send to the project. Manual changes have the tendency to fail due to typos or missing parts.
To make the maintainers and suers happy you should always stick to the workflow, this makes live much easier for everybody.


Have managed to moved from the HueEmulation to the Alexa OpenHab skill. Was a pretty easy process.

However, after a few days of using, i’m finding the behaviour less responsive…

Using HueEmulation everything was pretty instant. Ask for lights, on they go. On a very rare occasion i got a 'i’m having trouble finding lights named xxxx" from Alexa, but it was not often.

Using the new Alexa Skill, everything was working fine. But I’m getting “I’m having trouble finding lights named XXXX” quite often. But the stranger part of this is that sometimes, a min or two later, the lights switch on anyway.

Then, everything is fine…

Anybody else experiencing this issue? Could be that I need to hop to service which I didn’t have to do with the Hue Emulation. So it’s an extra step, so another thing that may/may-not be responding at the time.

Anybody else?


Hi Pete,
I’ve experienced the same behaviour. That’s why I moved back to HUEemulation, which is quite reliable. Nevertheless I’m continously watching the alexa skill developments and hope to switch back to the skill soon. At the moment the HUEemulation and the skill don’t have big differences in features, so there is for me no need to use the skill.

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Thanks. I may do the same, but will continue to test when the family not in and switch back :wink: I think this skill is going to be great, just need to bed down. We can all help testing it and giving feedback!


@PeteW & @staehler67 - Where are you running the Alexa HA service/endpoint? Is it a server/VM or low powered device? I have also experienced this from time to time but it comes and goes. No rhyme or reason but I would point my ‘development finger’ at Amazon’s endpoints based on what I have seen to date. They do have occasional service issues and increased latencies which may result in the described behavior - requests intermittently fail or take additional time to execute. I will say that I have NOT experienced the extremely slow command execution issue @PeteW described though - that one is new to me. Please share any and all details around that over PM or on the GitHub issue tracker.

This issue is certainly a priority for me as development resumes; know I aim to get this one solved one way or another. The Hue Emulator in terms of latency has a clear advantage - its communicating over the local network whereas AlexaHA is a custom skill it has to use the cloud based endpoints. Numerous points of failure or latency along the way. And of course there are no issue with using both the Hue Emulator and Alexa HA at the same time (I do!)… But I always prefer Alexa HA so I have clear audible feedback with each command.

Thanks all for your inputs here! Please keep 'em coming :slight_smile:

@Philipp_Prehl - thanks a bunch for taking the time to introduce german translations for AlexaHA. I am excited to get this merged into the project and pave the way for other languages as well!


Switching lights with a cloud service is a no no for me. Lights should be super responsive. And in a home automation setup you shouldn’t rely on a cloud service at all if possible. Remember what you get with this skill is:

Local voice > Amazon voice recognition > local Echo > Amazon cloud > myopenhab cloud > local Echo > openhab > local command

If anything is just a bit delayed in this chain, your command fails or is executed terribly delayed.

You should have a super reliable and fast internet connection if you want to use this skill.

@d0t I assume the problems by amazon as well. I run my openhab on a VM and for test on a raspi3. There was no difference.

I’ve enriched @Philipp_Prehl patch with some additional translations but am not in the place to “github” this. Is there another way to forward this file to you?

Hi @d0t I’m now just using the Amazon Echo OpenHab skill. So no additional installed component from my end. I’m running OpenHab itself on a Pi, but that’s never had a performance issue.

Agree that the extra ‘hops’ are likely to cause issues. I’ve got great superfast-broadband here, but I think the issue will be more around latency and WiFi/Broadband quality. If there’s any drops, then it’s not going to communicate with the cloud. However, that’s the same issue for Alexa itself, as it needs the net available to work.

Having said that, the last couple of days its not been a problem. Which makes me think it might be a quality issue on my wifi/broadband as the HueEmulation has always been ok. Doesn’t that need internet connection too though…


Ah…not sure I’ve posted in the right place - sorry if that is the case…as I’m using the Alexa Skill…

Is this different than the official one or have they merged? If not, what’s the difference?

Not sure. Didn’t know it was merged. I assumed there was one you needed to install on your own server and one you just configured in the Alexa app.

If its merged and it’s now the same thing, then sorry for the confusion!

I hear you; agree that I also desire the fastest response time with each command, however Amazon Echo imposes serious limitations as to what you can accomplish with any sort of non-bridge/emulator interface and even the latest Smart Home API. Alexa HA on the other hand is a custom Alexa Skill and does not have such strict restrictions. You can have customized feedback and verbal voice interactions for practically anything imaginable throughout the house via OpenHAB and the ASK API customized via configuration instead of coding. If you only need to switch/dim devices and hear ‘OK’ for everything bridges/emulators are ideal, but if you need more sophistication in your HA Logic and voice interactions (i.e. “Alexa, ask OpenHAB for a status update” or “Alexa, tell OpenHAB to change the house to party mode”) then Alexa HA & OpenHAB is an awesome combination IMHO :smiley: I use both simultaneously; but mostly use Alexa HA.

Thanks - try PM for now…

@Philipp_Prehl - sorry I haven’t had a change to commit this to master yet! ASAP!!

Alexa HA is a custom Amazon Skill & the OpenHAB binding has been developed using the Smart Home API. Then there is also the Hue Emulator approach which is extremely fast. Each has their pros & cons :slight_smile:

They are different and cannot directly merge…

@Philipp_Prehl and @d0t: I’v managed the thing with github and pushed a request for merge into phprehl/alexa-ha repository, as this multilanguage branch isn’t merged in the unityfire/alexa-ha yet. Correct me if I’m wrong.
Hope you like my changes :wink:


I have finally had a chance to upgrade from OH 1.8.x to OH 2.0.0, and to my delight literally everything regarding the custom Alexa-HA Skill worked perfectly on my setup without any code changes! More thorough testing is underway and various other improvements are needed, as well as (finally) merging in the various Pull Requests (looking at you @Philipp_Prehl & @staehler67 :sunglasses:) , but things are already seemingly in good shape.

Some big changes that are still very much needed include the switch from LITERAL to CUSTOM slot types, better internationalization support (languages, units, etc) and generally a more extensible voice interaction model. Know that all of this, and then some, is coming in due time!

For those of you who tried to use Alexa-HA with OH 2.x but hit a roadblock, I am always glad to help. Feel free to PM me or better yet post your specific issues on our GitHub project for resolution.

Best regards,

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Hey guys,

i am currently living in an apartment where we have multiple Rooms with multiple Alexas and multiple Items with the same name. For example: “Bedlight”, cause everyone living in the apartment has a Bedlight.

Now the Problem ist, that if we say “Alexa, Bedlight off” she finds multiple Items with the same name. And even if we delete the respective Items in the respective Apps for the users in the room, after a few minutes she loads the items herself again.

So is there any chance to say this Alexa controls these items and this Alexa that items?

Thank you guys.