Announcing Contact and Motion Sensor APIs and Integration into Alexa Routines, Unlocking New Customer Scenarios in Home Automation, Monitoring, and Control

Brian Crum Aug 28, 2018
Smart Home API News

We’re excited to announce that contact and motion sensors can now be connected to Alexa, and that updates from sensors can now activate Alexa Routines, unlocking new customer scenarios in home automation, monitoring, and control. Customers can connect contact and motion sensors to Alexa in two ways: either through a smart home skill that uses the new Contact and Motion Sensor APIs, or with a compatible Zigbee sensor paired directly to Echo Plus or a compatible smart home hub. And starting today, SmartThings customers can use the sensors connected to their SmartThings hub with Alexa by enabling the SmartThings skill. So now, with the appropriately configured smart home skill or connected Zigbee sensor, a customer can ask, "Alexa, is the master bedroom window open?" and Alexa will respond with its status.

Contact and Motion Sensor Customer Use Cases

Customers can view their connected sensors in the Alexa App, query their status by asking Alexa, and use sensors to activate Routines to control other connected smart home devices, say special phrases, play music, receive notifications, and much more. Customers can use their sensors to automate a wide variety of custom-built Routines, such as:

  • When motion is detected in the living room, Alexa can turn on the lights, and then turn off the lights after 30 minutes with no motion detected
  • A motion sensor within a Wi-Fi camera can turn on a light and send a notification to your phone
  • You can ask Alexa if a door or window is open before arming the home security system
  • A front door contact sensor can activate Alexa to announce that the front door is open
  • A pantry door contact sensor can turn the pantry lights on and off when the door opens and closes

Contact and Motion Sensors Compatible with Alexa Today

By updating your smart home skill to use the new Contact and Motion Sensor APIs, you can enable your customers to connect their contact and motion sensors to Alexa. These new additions to the Smart Home Skill API are available in the US today, with support for additonal locales coming soon. SmartThings is leveraging these new smart home capabilities so customers can use their SmartThings multi-purpose sensor and SmartThings motion sensor, connected to a SmartThings hub, with Alexa Routines and voice query.

Customers with an Echo Plus can already use its built-in smart home hub to seamlessly connect and control compatible Zigbee devices, such as light bulbs, door locks, in-wall switches, and plugs, without the need for a separate hub or a smart home skill. Now, Echo Plus can connect to compatible Zigbee contact and motion sensors including contact and motion sensors from Centralite, and contact and motion sensors from Sylvania, with support from SmartThings sensors coming soon.

Integrating New Contact and Motion Sensor Capabilities

For Zigbee device makers, you can deliver an improved experience and reach more customers by integrating with Alexa and certifying your Zigbee devices through the Works with Alexa (WWA) Certification Program. In order to ensure compatibility with Echo Plus, Zigbee sensors must report as a contact or motion sensor and use the Home Automation 1.2 Zigbee standard.

For hub manufacturers and non-ZigBee sensor manufacturers, you can integrate your sensors with Alexa via a smart home skill that uses the new Contact and Motion Sensor APIs. This enables richer customer experiences and new interactions that extend the value of your devices and services by connecting them to Alexa’s voice user interface (VUI) and to the many devices certified to Work with Alexa. It is important to note that contact and motion sensors connected via an Alexa skill must support Proactive State Updates (PSU) in order to activate Alexa Routines. If you are a device maker with a smart home skill and you have not yet implemented PSU, learn how you can migrate your Alexa skill to the updated Smart Home Skill API

Reach and Delight More Customers

Whether you build contact and motion sensors or other smart devices that connect to Alexa, you can submit your products for certification via the Works with Alexa (WWA) Certification Program. The program raises the bar on responsiveness, reliability, and functionality, ensuring your customers have the best smart home experiences. When your devices are certified, they can carry the WWA badge in the Amazon Smart Home Store and on product packaging, increasing customer confidence that your devices integrate seamlessly with Alexa.

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