Today we are happy to announce support for thermostat query, a new feature for Alexa skills developed using the Smart Home Skill API. The feature is now available in the US, with support for the UK and Germany coming soon. With thermostat query, customers can issue a voice command to an Alexa-enabled device, such as the Amazon Echo or Echo Dot, and hear Alexa say the response. For example, a customer with a single thermostat could say, “Alexa, what is the temperature in the house?” and Alexa would respond with the current inside temperature. This complements thermostat commands that already allow customers to set the temperature value.
This new feature simplifies development efforts by enabling specific voice interactive experiences straight from the Smart Home Skill API. In the past, smart home skill developers had to create two skills (one for smart home, the other for custom voice interactions to allow querying data) to provide this overall experience. Today developers building smart home skills targeting devices with temperature control can enhance their customers interactions using the new thermostat query feature for these two common scenarios:
- A customer requests the temperature value (what it is), for example “Alexa, what’s the temperature inside?”
- A customer requests the temperature setting (what it should be), for example, “Alexa, what’s my thermostat set to?”
When setting the temperature, the values for both scenarios are managed using Celsius. Customers can choose to interact with Celsius or Fahrenheit via settings in Alexa app (see figure 1), however, all the values passed into and returned from the smart home skill adapter must use Celsius values. For customers who choose Fahrenheit, the values are automatically converted to Celsius.
Figure 1: When settings are turned off, temperature units are in Fahrenheit.
For more information and technical details, review our documentation on temperature control and query messages. Please visit the following references for more information on smart home skill development.
Understanding the Smart Home Skill API
Five Steps Before Developing a Smart Home Skill
Coding Smart Home Skill Directives Using Node.js
Managing Device Discovery for Your Alexa Smart Home Skill
Controlling the On/Off State of a Smart Home Device
Scenes for Smart Home Home Skills