Tips and Tricks to Get More out of Amazon Echo

Get Alexa and Yonomi to speak the same language

Connecting Yonomi to the wonderfully responsive “Alexa” gives you amazing voice control of your smart home. As good of a listener as Alexa is, she can be a little picky when it comes to the names of your Devices and Yonomi Routines and how to run them. We’ve put together a few tips to make sure Alexa always knows what you’re asking.

And if Alexa is having trouble hearing you, you may want to add another Amazon Echo in your home. Buy an Amazon Echo

“Turn  Off” your Routines

You can now use both the “Turn On” and “Turn Off” commands when running Routines via Alexa.  Previously you could use the “Turn On” command to execute a specific Routine by name, but this got clumsy if you wanted to have a Routine that turn things on and an opposite Routine to turn things off.

How to set up Routines that respond to “Turn On” and “Turn Off”

  1. Bright contemporary mansion interiorCreate two Routines in Yonomi. First create the “Turn On” Routine, for example “Living Room” (turn on LIFX bulb and play Sonos).
  2. Then create the “Turn Off”  Routine by adding the word “Off” at the end of the Routine name, for example “Living Room Off.” This Routine could be setup as the inverse (turn off LIFX bulb and pause Sonos.)
  3. Run discovery on your Amazon Echo, and both of these Routines will be mapped to a single ‘device’ in the Alexa app.
  4. Now you can say more intuitively “Turn On the Living Room” to run the “Living Room” Routine, and “Turn Off the Living Room” to run the “Living Room Off” Routine.  Give it a try and let us know what you think.

Make your Routine names Alexa-friendly

  1. amazon_echoUse simple and specific terms for your Routine names such as “Arrive Home” and “Watch TV”
  2. Avoid first-person phrases like “I’m Home” and “I’m Leaving”
  3. Avoid using the word “time” such as “TV Time”, or other words that Alexa may use for her own built-in skills.
  4. Avoid using words that could be confused with a native command such as “On, off, up, down, start, stop”
  5. Avoid using songs, band names, and genres in your Routine names such as “Classic Rock.”
  6. Make sure your Routine names don’t overlap with Device names or Alexa group names.  If you have multiple devices/groups/routines that start with the word “Kitchen” you are likely to have problems.  Check the list of connected devices under “Your Devices” in the Alexa App Smart Home section.  Make sure all of your Yonomi devices, routines, and connected devices from other services are clearly separated and won’t be confused.
  7. Whatever the Routine name, you can include words like “my” and “the” when speaking to Alexa, and the Routine should run properly. For example “Turn on (my or the) Living Room.”

Control your devices in more ways

Beyond simply “Turn on, ” you can use multiple commands with Alexa to control some of your Yonomi connected devices. Here are a few highlights:

sonos-gray-bg

Sonos:

  • Pause Music: “Alexa, Turn off my Living Room Sonos”
  • Play Music: “Alexa, Turn on my Living Room Sonos”
  • Adjust Volume: “Alexa, Set my Living Room Sonos to 50”.  Note: That value is a percentage, but you should leave out the “percent” after saying the value.

Logitech Harmony Hub:

  • Power off all activities: You can turn off your Harmony activities by directly addressing your Harmony Hub by its proper device name (as found in Yonomi), for example: “Alexa, turn off {Harmony Hub}”.  You can always rename your Harmony Hub in the Yonomi app to make things simpler too, for example “TV” or “Television”.

WeMo Link Bulbs (WeMo Link):

  • Turn On: “Alexa, Turn on my Bedroom Lamp”
  • Turn Off: “Alexa, Turn off my Bedroom Lamp”
  • Dim (if supported): “Alexa, set my Bedroom Lamp to 30”.  Note: This value is a percentage, but you should leave out “percent” after saying the value.

WeMo Maker:

  • Turn On: “Alexa, Turn on my Sprinklers”, “Alexa, Turn on my Garage”
  • Turn Off: “Alexa, Turn off the Sprinklers”, “Alexa, Turn off the Garage”
  • Turn Off for some time: “Alexa, set the pool pump for 30” (Note: Just say the value in minutes and don’t add the word “minutes”).

WeMo Crockpot:

  • Turn On: “Alexa, Turn on my Crockpot”
  • Turn Off: “Alexa, Turn off my Crockpot”

WeMo Coffeemaker:

  • Brew: “Alexa, Turn on my Coffeemaker”

Quirky Aros:

  • Turn On: “Alexa, Turn on my Aros”
  • Turn Off: “Alexa, Turn off my Aros”
  • Set Temperature: “Alexa, Set my Aros to 75”.  Note: Leave out “degrees” or “Fahrenheit”/”Celsius”.  Just say the value.

Nest Thermostat:

  • Set Mode to Off: “Alexa, Turn off my Living Room Nest”
  • Set Mode to Heat-Cool: “Alexa, Turn on my Living Room Nest”

Create unique names for your devices

  1. Name each device uniquely such as “Living Room Sonos” and “Bedroom Sonos” or “Upstairs Nest” and “Downstairs Nest.” Make the names intuitive to you.
  2. Alexa may have trouble with device names that contain special characters like the ‘colon’ in “Sonos Play:1”.  You can always rename devices in your Yonomi app to simplify names and make it easier for Alexa to understand.
  3. Check the list of connected devices under “Your Devices” in the Alexa App Smart Home section.  Make sure all of your Yonomi devices, Routines, and connected devices from other services have unique names.
  4. Device names that contain a partial or full match of another device name within them may cause problems.  For example, Alexa may get confused if you have both a “Living Room Lamp” device and a “Living Room Light” device.
  5. You can include words like “my” and “the” when speaking to Alexa about your devices. For example, “Turn on (my or the) Bedroom Lamp.”

Control your WeMo LED Bulbs and WeMo Link Hub

Additionally, our Alexa integration now directly supports WeMo LED Bulbs and other bulbs connected via the WeMo Link Hub which isn’t natively supported by Alexa.   If you have a WeMo Link, just re-run discovery on Alexa, and you’ll be able to control any connected bulbs with your voice.  “Turn On” and “Turn Off” commands are supported in addition to the “Set” command to adjust the brightness.  Just say “Alexa, set my kitchen lights to 50” for example (leave off percent) and you’re good to go.

Two ways to get Yonomi and Alexa to play together

Setting up Alexa through the Alexa App:

Yonomi is now featured directly in the Alexa App! You can find us under the “Smart Home” section, or by searching for us “Skills”.

  1. Launch the Alexa app and sign in.
  2. Tap on the menu icon and then “Skills.”Alexa Tips - Skills-01
  3. Search skills for “Yonomi” and tap on “Enable Skill.”Alexa Tips - Skills-02
  4. Sign into your Yonomi account and tap “Connect with Yonomi.”Alexa Tips - Skills-04
  5. Then tap “Discover Devices” in the Alexa app, or say “Alexa, Find my Devices”, and Alexa will find your Devices and your Routines.Alexa Tips - Skills-06

Setting up Alexa through the Yonomi App:

  1. Launch the Yonomi app and sign in.
  2. Android: Tap the icon in the upper left-hand corner and select Accounts & Hubs.
    iOS: Tap the settings icon in the upper left-hand corner and select Accounts & Hubs.

  3. Android: Tap + in the bottom right-hand corner and select Amazon Echo Account.
    iOS: Tap + in the upper right-hand corner and select Amazon Echo Account.
  4. Sign into your Amazon Echo account and press Connect.
    Echo Setup
  5. Once the sign in and confirmation is complete, say to Echo, “Alexa, discover my devices.”

Voila.  You are now ready to talk to your home in a whole new way.

IMPORTANT NOTE FOR U.K. USERS: The Yonomi skill setup can only be done through the Alexa app for now.  Connecting your Alexa account inside of the Yonomi app will not work correctly.

Note: If you don’t see a confirmation or the Alexa account doesn’t appear to have connected – don’t worry, it probably has. Check the Alexa app under Menu > Smart Home (or Settings > Connected Home) to verify that Yonomi is connected. If you see a Yonomi row and the text “Unlink from Yonomi” then you’re good to go. We’re working on remedying this with Amazon.

This article has 26 comments

  1. Vidtec Reply

    Point 6 is almost impossible to achieve when you have as many devices as I do. I have a Garageio for the garage doors and it uses the word “Garage”. I have 3 LiFX bulbs in the Garage called Garage Left, Garage Right and Garage Middle and an Alexa Group called “Garage Lights”. With Yonomi routines also having the word Garage in them, this simply doesn’t work. I renamed the bulbs to G1, G2, G3 and keep the group name as Garage Lights. So what can you call the Yonomi routine? Its a Garage! I have similar issues in other parts of the house… suggestions welcome as I’m thinking of just disabling Yonomi from Alexa.

    • Paul DesRosiers Reply

      Hi Vidtec,
      That’s great you have so many devices…truly an enviable smart home. We do understand the challenges of having unique but intuitive names for your devices, Alexa groups and Yonomi Routines. Have you tried naming your Yonomi Routine just “Garage” and keeping your Alexa group named “Garage Lights?” It’s not ideal to have the names that close, but Alexa can sometimes distinguish between the two. It may be worth the test.

      We’d also suggest naming your Yonomi Routines around events and activities such as “Arrive Home” and “Watch TV” rather than by a room such as “Garage” or “Living Room”. Overall, you may want to do some experimenting with different names to find the Routine names that make the most sense to you and Alexa can identify. Let us know if we can be of more help.

      Thank you,

      The Yonomi Team

  2. Leslie Reply

    This is excellent. I have had Alexa for over a year but have only been using your app for a week and it’s truly simplified my smart home experience. Better control over Harmony Hub, Nest, Parrot Flower Pot, and August Lock. Thank You!! Keep the updates coming. I’ll be adding more products that work with your app into my smart home.

  3. Dan Reply

    Good info but you discuss WeMo LED Bulbs, WeMo Link Hub, coffee machine & crockpot but what about the WeMo wall light switch? It doesn’t require a hub or cloud account so it doesn’t show up on the “Add Account” page. The “WeMo Light Switch” has it’s own “button” in the supported devices list… but the button doesn’t go anywhere. No matter how many times I click “Discover Devices” Belkin switches never comes up… and I have two of them working happily via their dedicated app. Is this an orphaned device?

    • Joss Scholten Reply

      Hi Dan, thanks for reaching out.

      We do support nearly all Wemo devices, including Wemo switches, Insight switches, and the in-wall Light Switches. These devices are considered “local” devices and don’t have an associated cloud account — instead we talk to them via your phone and thus your phone needs to be on your home’s local wifi network for them to be discovered and controlled.

      If they’re not appearing in your Yonomi app, then make sure you’re connected to your home wifi network and run discovery again (Nav Drawer > Find New Devices).

      If the issue is they’re not appearing as Smart Home Devices in the Alexa app, note that we although we’ll discover them in Yonomi, we don’t expose them directly as devices to Alexa since Alexa already supports them natively. You can still add them to Routines in Yonomi (once the app finds them), and then execute those Routines to control the Wemo devices and any others in that Routine. Also note that your Echo uses a similar discovery mechanism as we do, so if you don’t see them natively discovery by Echo in your Alexa app either, then there may be a network or router setting that’s causing issues.

      If that doesn’t work, send us an email at support@yonomi.co and we’ll be happy to look further!

  4. Paige Reply

    Just linked this up this morning and seems to work great. One question: how do I address groups of Sonos speakers? For example, I have a speaker in the kitchen and one in the living room and I’d like for both of them to play the same Apple Music station in sync, but when I add the speakers through the routine, they play the station, but different music.

  5. Michael Reply

    Trying to have Alexa send commands to Sonos via Yonomi…
    Works fine when I have the Yonomi app active on my iPhone, but does not seem to send the command when the app is not active, or when the phone is locked… It does display the notification on my iPhone, but the command is either not sent or it’s not being recognized by Sonos.

    • Michael Reply

      (Background App Refresh is on for Yonomi in my iPhone settings, as are all notifications.)

    • Kent Dickson Reply

      Hi Michael,

      In order for us to deliver a command to devices like Sonos your phone/tablet has to be joined to your Wifi network and the Yonomi app has to be running. It’s OK if the app is in the background and if your phone/tablet screen is off but the app just can’t be completely killed.

      If the above conditions are correct but it’s still not working there are a couple of other things to check.
      Please ensure the following settings are enabled for Yonomi on your phone/tablet:
      – Notifications (via Settings > Notifications)
      – Background App Refresh (via Settings > General > Background App Refresh).
      – Make sure that your phone is not in Low Power Mode (Settings > Battery).

  6. Brian Parisi Reply

    So Great that I now have voice control even of all my old X10 devices using Harmony Hub.

    If you want individual X10 module control it does take a lot of Harmony Activities and matching Yonomi Routines but it works great. You can also have the Harmony activity trigger a macro on your control application (AHP in my case, still working along with the iPhone app), you can point it to your PC) for in depth routines. Yeah its old stuff but I have 48 modules/switches and lots of programming and don’t feel like upgrading…. yet. I started automating my home 20 years ago, before it was even popular or easy. Smartlinc, Hal and Netmeeting for cams and remote control video and X10 is also built into my security system.

    Here is the most important tip. Only use the >startup start an ‘activity’ where the start up routine shuts off the X10 Unit(s) you’re controlling. I had tried all of the Power Options on the Harmony X10 Device setup, the home theater devices and the activity. This method appeared to be the only one that worked and didn’t shut off either the Home Theater or Lights when running a Yonomi ‘off’ routine or starting a different Harmony activity.

    Good Luck!

    It’s really cool to say ‘Alexa waterfalls on!’ and it works!

  7. Tosh Reply

    The “turn off” function doesn’t seem to be working for my echo. For example, i have a routine to turn my kitchen lights blue. I say “Alexa, Turn on kitchen blue”….lights go blue! Now, echo won’t do anything else while this routine is running. Do i have to “turn off” kitchen blue? If so, how do I execute that? I created a second routine with “off” at the end of the name. Here’s how my setup looks

    Routine Name: Kitchen Blue
    Actions: Turn 3 hue lights to blue @ 100%

    Routine Name: Kitchen Blue Off
    Actions: Not real sure what to do…i tried to make the lights go back to 100% white but Echo says that command is not recognized…the command i use is “Alexa, Turn off Kitchen Blue”.

    Thanks!

    • Kent Dickson Reply

      Hi Tosh,

      It looks like you’ve set things up correctly. Did you re-run discovery on Echo after you set up these routines? To do so just say – “Alexa, discover my devices.”

      To make double sure everything is current with Alexa you might open the Alexa app, go to menu > Smart Home then scroll to the bottom and select “Forget All Device and Groups.” Then re-run Alexa discovery. Now try to run both “Alexa turn on (or off) Kitchen Blue”.

      If you are still having trouble please mail our support team with more details – support@yonomi.co.

      Thanks.

  8. Boudyka Reply

    Stop Press, Urgent, please arrange for the Yonomi app/skill for UK to work with alexa.amazon.co.uk with UK sign in asap.

    Since the change to UK based geolocation and website redirection, Yonomi users in the UK will be unable to the use the app or alexa skill anymore.

    Please and Cheers

    • Joss Scholten Reply

      Hi there — we’re aware the skill is not yet available yet in the UK as the official launch has not occurred yet. We have been working with Amazon and the UK skill is in certification and should be available in the next couple of days.

  9. Lorie N. Reply

    I have tried “turn on living room sonos” and she still doesn’t understand what the heck i want. I also have a problem with the “Favorite” not sticking. I have more than one favorite in my sonos list, but from what I can see on yonomi is I can only pick one. I list of commands would be very helpful – as would a video.

    • Kent Dickson Reply

      Hi There,

      Is “Living Room Sonos” the proper name of your speaker? If so, make sure that you have Alexa discover her by saying – “Alexa, discover my devices.”

      To play a specific Sonos favorite, create a routine that contains the action Play Favorite (selecting that particular favorite). You may wish to create multiple routines, one for each favorite. Then have Alexa discover those new routines by saying “Alexa, discover my devices.” At that point you will be able to fire your routines by saying – “Alexa, turn on {routine name}.”

      And for Sonos oriented actions and routines, your phone/tablet does need to be joined to the same Wifi netwrok as your Sonos gear.

      Hope that helps.

  10. Andrew Reply

    I have the app activated in the Alexa app…I am very confused as to what this app can do that I can’t already do.. I can tell Alexa to turn my house off, and it turns off all the devices in the group.. without this app. I want to be able to stack commands, such as “turn on stereo/play King’s X/Set house temp to 70/turn on lamp” under one command … I thought that is what this did.. I can tell find 1. A way to program it from Alexa 2. Anything it does that Alexa can’t already. Am I wrong? I mean, the skill is there, but when I run discovery it doesn’t do anything new..No links to a program creation/command creation page are to be found. CAN IT DO ANYTHING? For now, I am assuming I just don’t understand..It sure isn’t easy to understand..

    • Kent Dickson Reply

      Hi Andrew,

      Yes, you definitely have the right idea. The best bet is to create routines is to create a routine that contains those stacked actions. Once you save that routine, have Alexa add it by saying “Alexa, discover my devices.” Then you should be all set to fire that routine from Alexa by saying “Alexa, turn on {routine name}.”

      The above article covers this a bit and so does this one.

      Cheers,

  11. Atishay Reply

    I love this app. Specially when I had to integrate WeMo switch to the harmony activity. This was the only app, which made it possible for me.
    Extremely few times, it doesnt work via Alexa, then i to run the routine via my iPad.
    I have couple of TP-Link plugs also, which i wanted to integrate with one of the harmony activity.

    When are you planning to integrate TP-Link devices?

    Also, can you please make it possible to Turn on and turn off routines in one routine only, like the harmony does.
    This will less populate my “Favorites”, “Routines” screen and less devices in Alexa too.

    If this is possible, then it is a great HIT in market.

    • Kent Dickson Reply

      For now the best practice is to create paired routines – one with the on state and one with the off. But we hear what you are saying about simplifying this and will be working on a number of improvements.

      TP-Link switches are on our roadmap.

  12. Cary Reply

    I have 38 favorite TV channels programmed into Harmony. Alexa does not recognize all of them. I have identified my Comcast Cable box as the control for channels. What am I missing?

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