Amazon recently introduced routines to Alexa, which lets you perform several actions using a single command. Here's how to set it up.
One of the biggest inconveniences of smart speakers to date is having to speak multiple commands to perform a simple task. For instance, changing the color of smart bulbs, locking the door and adjusting the thermostat temperature used to take three separate commands. Now you can do it with just one using routines with your Alexa speaker.
Alexa routines are not all that unlike a scene you might create with your Philips Hue lights or a scheduled scene you can run with an app like Yonomi. But now you can play news and weather updates and control your entire smart home, all with a single command. Here's how to set it up.
To create your first routine:
Once a routine is created, you can edit it by going back to Settings > Routines in the Alexa app and tapping on a routine. You can remove or rearrange actions, add new actions, change the time or day the routine runs and change the phrase. You can temporarily disable the routine from here by tapping the toggle next to Enabled, and if you tap the three dots in the top right corner, you can manually play a routine or permanently delete it.
Unfortunately, there is one caveat with routines: they are limited to smart-home control and news, weather and traffic updates. This means you can't have a routine where you say, "Alexa, story time," and dim the lights and listen to an audiobook or your favorite podcast. You can't have a routine stream music or start a skill either.
Still, this should reduce the overall number of commands you have to issue to Alexa to accomplish what you want, and if nothing else, it's a huge leap in the right direction and a big win for Alexa users everywhere.