Since its release, Amazon Echo owners have been looking for a way to make multiple things happen with a single command. There are some third party apps that claim to help with this, but the result has always been spotty at best. In October of 2017, Amazon introduced Alexa Routines.
Alexa Routines allow you to create a customized command to make multiple things happen at once, or you can schedule events to occur at specific times. This will give owners the ability to set up commands like “Alexa, I’m going to bed” that turns off the lights in your common areas, and turns on the lights in your bedroom. Scheduled routines allow you to set reoccurring scenes that span all devices supported by Alexa, such as turning on lights from multiple manufacturers at a specific time each day.
Routines aren’t limited to turning devices on or off, though. You can also trigger existing scenes, play the news, traffic or weather. I would expect to see more functionality released over time. I dream of the day that I can say “Alexa, now youz can’t leave” and watch all of my doors lock while “Come Together” starts playing throughout my house. I keep a bunch of fat Italian goomba’s in a back room for just such an occasion. That’s a Bronx Tale Joke, and it’s awesome.
At this time Philips Hue, August SmartLock, TP LInk, Belkin WeMo and Logitech Harmony devices are supported by routines.
More devices will be added over time. More devices have already been added, such as Insteon, which wasn’t initially supported.
Here’s how to set up Alexa Routines:
Step 1: Open the Alexa app and then open the menu.
Step 2: Tap Routines.
Step 3: Tap Create Routine.
Step 4: Tap the When this happens section and choose either When you say something or At scheduled time.
Step 4a: If you chose When you say something enter a word or phrase to trigger your routine.
Step 4b: If you chose At scheduled time pick a time and when the action should be repeated.
Step 5: Tap Add Action.
Step 6a: If you select News, Traffic or Weather you will be asked which device this should be played back from. All of these actions in a routine will play back from only one device.
Step 6b: If you select Smart Home, you will be asked if you would like to control a device or turn on a scene. In either case you can select one device or scene. If you chose a device, you can decide whether to turn it on or off by clicking the large white circle. Scenes can currently only be turned on. Click Add to add the action to your routine.
Step 7: Repeat steps 5 and 6 until you have all of your actions added to your routine.
Step 8: Tap Create Routine to save your changes
If you used a word or phrase to trigger your routine, you should now be able to trigger your routine from any Alexa device in your house. If you scheduled your routine to happen at a selected time, you will have to wait until that time to see your routine work.
Note: Although the Alexa app says that it could take up to one minute for your routine to be available, I found it could take up to ten minutes.