Echo & Alexa User Discussions and Support Forums

When a person is not breathing, permanent brain damage begins after 4 minutes and death in 6 minutes after that. Can you count on help arriving before that time? Learning proper CPR techniques is easy and you can learn it in 30 minutes at CPR Test Center.

Interrupt a Routine

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Marco

Interrupt a Routine
« on: February 16, 2020, 02:39:26 pm »
Routines got a lot of improvements since it was first introduced, but there's still something it can't be done and although seems 'silly' it's not, that is to interrupt a routine once it's started.
The funny thing it's the fact most of the people raising this question are trying to do the same; create an alarm routine.
The problem is obvious; You need to stop the routine before initiates any alarm you've created in case it's you (and not a burglar). Today you simply can't do that. Please don't suggest "Alexa stop" because it's not the case.

jumping to a real example:

I have a motion sensor (From Philips hue) being the trigger of a routine. The first thing it will do it's to send an alert to my phone (Alexa App) and then wait for 20 seconds before turning on a smart plug connected to an alarm siren. If I could interrupt the routine (disable don't stop the routine once it's initiated), then the alarm wouldn't start. As I can't stop (interrupt) the routine, the alarm will always sound after those 20 seconds.

Either Amazon include a stop routine action (something some claim it's impossible as a routine is a script that can't be interrupted once it's started)
OR include some sort of "IF" action that would split the script execution, making it possible to interrupt before continuing to the next part.

Hopefully there will be a solution to this problem soon as it's vital to create conditional routines.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2020, 02:49:36 pm by Marco »

Re: Interrupt a Routine
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2020, 04:56:49 pm »
I have a 'Goodnight' routine that the wife uses.
It talks a reply something like, 'Goodnight Nancy, sleep well' then waits one minute and switches off the lounge lights.  This gives her time to leave the room.
I have started this routine, in error, on another dot when I have gone to bed first.  realising this I have said 'Alexa, stop' and the routine has stopped running.  Whether I have said this fast enough to still be in the reply part of the routine, or slower and been in the wait part I am not sure, but it works.
(I should be saying 'Alexa, Good morning ' to here the news before bed but forget, seems stupid saying good morning late at night!).

Offline Marco

Re: Interrupt a Routine
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2020, 07:08:39 pm »
It has something to do with a perfect timing on your stop command or with the fact it's a one action routine for sure.
Not only I've read other reports on this as I've just tested AGAIN and I can't stop the task by saying "Alexa stop" during the 20 seconds wait (second action). It will keep on going and reach actions two and three.

Re: Interrupt a Routine
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2020, 01:36:17 am »
I've both Wemo and Hue motion sensor
but only Hue sensor can act as trigger in Routine

Re: Interrupt a Routine
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2020, 09:09:53 am »
I don't use motion sensors with Alexa nor do I have her send me emails in a routine. However I can tell Alexa to arm my security system. I have few routines none of which I have the need to cancel (yet)
Alexa has a Follow-Up Mode which will allow you to tell Alexa additional commands with out the wake word. This causes Alexa to be in listening mode after speaking. Since Marco doesn't have a voice response in the routine and briancbb does that may be the key to stopping routines.
Having Alexa Speak during the wait time may clue in an intruder that Alexa has some control over a security system. However saying a simple Welcome Home message may not.

Offline Marco

Re: Interrupt a Routine
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2020, 04:39:53 am »
Hey tuiceman, thanks for the input but it's important to note that Follow up mode must be enabled AND only works within 5 seconds from the first [named] command.
It was created to help with questions/commands in sequence and not to serve as a 'conditional' as you're probably assuming.

"Currently available on all Alexa-enabled devices, including the Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Spot, this follow-up mode only works if Alexa is absolutely “confident you’re speaking to her, Amazon says. So be sure to ask your follow-ups quickly — you have just five seconds between the end of Alexa’s response and the start of your follow-up to hold the smart assistant’s attention. You can tell whether or not Alexa is still listening to you and ready for your next query if her blue indicator light ring remains on. Once it switches off, you’ll have to say her wake word again.

In order to get this functionality to work, you’ll actually have to turn on follow-up mode for Alexa. As Amazon notes in its customer service page regarding this new feature, you’ll need to go to your Alexa app, then select settings from the menu. Select your device, and then scroll down to follow-up mode and toggle it on (it remains off by default). Of course, Amazon must note that “While Alexa is active, your questions, requests, and related information are processed in the Cloud.”


Re: Interrupt a Routine
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2020, 07:35:11 am »
I wasn't suggesting follow up be used as a conditional and understand how it is intended to work.
I've been using Home Automation for over 30 years and voice control for at least half that.
Some times things that are introduced can be used for other things not intended, sometimes these are bugs and sometimes classed as an improvement.
I simply stated one difference between a stoppable routine and yours.
Another way to make your routine possibly stoppable would be to try a radio station skill and start it prior to when the alarm is triggered saying Alexa stop would stop the radio station skill but not sure if the whole routine would stop.

Offline Marco

Re: Interrupt a Routine
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2020, 11:06:33 am »
Yes, sometimes things can be used in a different manner but not in this case as the 'follow up' mode works only for a sequence of commands issued within 5 seconds.

Answering your 'implied' question; No, the routine won't stop, only the radio. Routines, at the moment, works as a single script of actions, so the whole sequence will be executed.

Re: Interrupt a Routine
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2020, 04:10:44 pm »
i have the same issue,  i have a long scheduled by time routine that turns different lights on over a period of time (2-3 hours) when nobody is at home..  however if i come home an hour later and say "hello" which starts off my welcome home lighting routine the original routine is still running and will then turn some lights on or off depending on the original routine.. 

i know i might be making my routines a little elaborate but this is the point of having them to save me running around the house shutting blinds and turning on lights etc....... but surely a simple IFTTT option in alexa so that if a new routine is started then alexa is to discontinue the routine named "*****" at that point until its start time again the next day.   

if there is a work around for this that would be great