Thanks to Amazon Alexa, you can control much of your smart home with just your voice. But what about controlling it simply with your location? When you set up geofencing, your smart home reacts based on your smartphone’s proximity to your house. Amazon Alexa routines are an easy way to do this.
What Is Geofencing?
While it may sound like an actual fence you place around your home, it’s actually a type of virtual fence. No installation is required. You use a tool or service, like Alexa, to set virtual boundaries. For example, you may set up an instance where your lights turn on when your smartphone’s in range of your home network.
Depending on the tool you’re using, you can even set up specific distance parameters, as long as the range is compatible with your smart home devices. Geofencing triggers an action to occur when your smartphone crosses that virtual fence or boundary. This can work coming and going, such as turning off lights when you leave.
Using Amazon Alexa Routines
While you can set up individual devices, using routines is easier if you want to trigger multiple devices. A routine groups together smart devices triggered by specific phrases, times, or actions.
Geofencing works through the location option when setting up a routine. Not only can you control your smart home devices, but you can also have certain skills happen, too, such as getting the weather as you leave the house to go for a run.
Set Up Geofencing
All you have to do is create an Amazon Alexa routine that includes the actions you want to happen, such as devices doing certain things. You’ll need your Alexa app. You’ll also need to enable location services on your device.
Open the Alexa app and tap the menu at the top left. Choose Routines.
Tap “Create Routine” to create a new routine. If you already have a routine that you’d like to change, you’ll see it listed here. Tap it to adjust the trigger.
Tap “Enter routine name” and select a name for your routine. Then tap “When this happens.” You can actually do this step first and enter a name when you’re done if you’d like.
This is where you set up geofencing. Tap Location as your trigger action.
Select whether you want an action to happen when your device arrives or leaves the location you set. If you’re using Alexa on your phone, you can set various locations, such as your job, to give you reminders based on when you arrive or leave, such as reminding you to pick up groceries when you leave work.
Choose from your current location, setting a home address, and setting a work address. You can also manually enter addresses. If you don’t already have location permissions set, you’ll be asked to allow those now.
Also, if you don’t have your location turned on on your device, you’ll need to do that before Alexa creates the routine. Otherwise, you’ll get an error message. Depending on your phone, you can swipe down from the top of your screen and select Location. You may need to swipe down twice to access the full menu. The other option is to open “Settings -> Lock screen & security -> Location.”
If you entered an address, enter a name for the location and tap Save.
Finally, tap “Add action” when you’re taken back to the initial routine creation screen. If you want to control your smart home, tap “Smart Home” and select the devices you want to control. You can select more than one and create groups. If you’ve already created groups, you can choose those too. You’ll also have to choose what each device does, such as lights turning on or off.
Obviously, select other categories if you’d rather trigger things like music, skills, messaging, and so on.
Once you’ve saved your routine, you’re ready to try it out. Try leaving and going back home to ensure everything works like you want.
Also, now that you’ve set up a location, you can ask Alexa to give you reminders based on that location, such as “Alexa, remind me to dry clothes when I get home.” Just make sure you use the correct location name.