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Clodo avatar image
Clodo asked

Frustration about integration in an existing personal home-automation system

In my home, i have a custom home-automation system command(string)>response(string), with a Telegram bot (called "Memole"). Commands like "Temperature", "Power report", "Activate garden" etc.

I have a lots of Alexa and i develop (note: for myself only) a Custom Skill and a Home Skill.

Now, for the Telegram equivalent "Temperature" (1 word), i need to tell:

"Alexa: ask to Memole Memole about Temperature".

7 words VS 1 word. Claiming that my wife remember it is utopian.

"Alexa": ok, mandatory Alexa activation.

"ask to Memole Memole": Invocation name must be two word.

I understand the marketing rule, but it's a sad restriction for personal/hobbyist, not related to publish the skill in a store. A simple "if skill is private, allow one word invocation name" is a dream.

"about Temperature": Again, another big restriction. LITERAL utterance "*" it's not permitted anymore, so i need to write one thousand "about {SearchQuery}", "for {SearchQuery}", "the {SearchQuery}" all with the same Intent, "forward {SearchQuery} to my system".

Any suggestion is appreciated. Thanks.


My real, final dream: Amazon that allow a feature called like "Passthrough": If a skill is in developer mode, only local (Alexa linked to the same account of the skill author), forward any request to an Intent "Catch all", and if reply false, continue with the normal Alexa parser flow.

This will allow me to tell "Alexa, Power report" to obtain the output of my system (a mix of info from Photovoltaic, Tesla Battery etc).

Just my two cents and just my dream.

alexa skills kit
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Rokas avatar image
Rokas answered

I have nothing to suggest in this case, because this is definitely a limitation of platform, but if you want to share your dreams with alexa dev team, you can do so in uservoice alexa webspace where you can write your feature requests.

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Amazon_Bernardo Bezerra avatar image
Amazon_Bernardo Bezerra answered

Hello @Clodo and thanks for your interest in developing for Alexa.

A quick comments on the pain points you described:

- invocation name:
+ if your skill is intended for personal use only, you don't need to submit it to certification and can use a one word invocation. If you want to add other users to it, you can start a beta test and invite them using their e-mail address
- usage of AMAZON.SearchQuery:
+ if you are using the AMAZON.SearchQuery slot type, then it must have a leading phrase (or word). However, you can also create your own custom slot type with a set of predefined values that it will accept (see slot validation). AMAZON.SearchQuery is geared more toward trying to capture less-predictable input that makes up the search query.

So in the end you could have something like: "Alexa, ask Memole temperature" (or "Alexa, ask Memole for temperature", which for me sounds more natural).


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Clodo avatar image Clodo commented ·

About the 2 invocation words, thanks, i thought it was forced. My feedback, add a "(if a certification is need)" in the red warning "Invocation name must be at least 2 words".

About the AMAZON.SearchQuery slot, my system accept hundreds of commands. It's unacceptable that i need to reply all of them in custom-slot or intents. I can do for the most-used, but it's not a real solution.

I have temp sensors, heating system etc and i can't override the stupid, inaccurate and useless Alexa reply about "Alexa, temperatures". I hope in future Alexa stop being a toy, and become a real gateway for real home-automation.

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