This is the most middle-class article I’ve ever written, but let nobody say I don’t know my audience.
What we’re talking about here is using an Amazon Alexa Routine to set off a chain of events. It could indeed be boiling a kettle and listening to the Radio 4 Today show every morning. It could be switching on the heating and listening to Slayer.
Whatever floats your boat, Alexa can pretty much handle it, as long as you have the right smart equipment.
What you’ll need for this
- An Amazon Echo speaker in your bedroom
- An Alexa-compatible smart plug (there are a whole host of compatible models on the link, starting from as little as £10)
- An Alexa-compatible smart light bulb (optional, we’d recommend this TP-Link model for £20)
How to set up an Alexa Routine
First open the Alexa app on your smartphone or tablet – the browser-based app hadn’t been updated to support Routines at the time of writing.
Now click on Routines from the main menu on the left-hand side and click the + button in the top-right corner.
Under When This Happens, click the + button. Now you have two choices: if you want the Routine to run at the same time every day, you can click Schedule. Or if you want the Routine to run upon a voice command (such as “Alexa, good morning”) choose Voice.
We’re going to choose Schedule, as this is our morning alarm call. You can set a schedule to run only on weekdays or even on selected
Getting the kettle to boil
Once you’ve established the schedule or voice command, you need to add Actions – things that will happen when that time is reached or voice command is issued.
Let’s start with the most complicated of these – making the cup of tea. Now, here we confess to a little white lie. Alexa’s not going to be able to make you a full-blown brew. But she can get the kettle to boil, with a little preparation.
Before you go to bed at night, fill the kettle with enough water for your morning restorative. Then plug the kettle into your smart plug.
Back in the Alexa app, click Add Action and select Smart Home. Now select Control Device and select the smart plug (we’re assuming you’ve set it up in Alexa already). The default should be to turn the device on, but if it’s not click on the device, then press Next.
Your Routine should now list the plug being turned on.
Playing Radio 4 (or the station of your choice)
Now to wake you from your slumber with the lilting tones of Justin Webb gently berating a politician.
Back in the Alexa Routine, click Add Action again and choose Music. Under Select Music Provider choose TuneIn.
Now under the Play section at the top, type “BBC Radio 4”, then click Add.
Assuming that you’ve set your schedule to wake you anytime between 6am and 9am, Monday to Saturday, your Alexa speaker should burst into life at the scheduled hour with the Today show.
Turning on the lights
Finally, how about a little gentle light to help you get out of bed without stubbing your toe on the chest of drawers?
First, we’re assuming your smart light bulb has been screwed in somewhere in the bedroom – either in a bedside lamp or in the main light socket.
Now go back to your Alexa Routine and press Add once more. Click Smart Home again and Control Device, and this time choose the light bulb.
If you’re using the dimmable TP-Link bulb we recommended, at this point you’ll be asked to choose the brightness level of the bulb. We suggest a gentle 30% until your eyes have adjusted.
Click Add and now finally click Create.
Voila, you should have an automatic weekday Routine that wakes you to the Today show with a gentle light, and has the kettle boiled by the time you stretch and make it downstairs.
Now read this: What are Alexa skills?