Amazon Alexa gains IFTTT support in the UK

Amazon Alexa has long had IFTTT integration in the US, but when the Echo and Echo Dot were released in the UK, IFTTT was missing. That changes today with the announcement that Alexa now works with IFTTT in the UK. IFTTT, which stands for “if this then that“, is a web service that acts as a middleman to facilitate communication between dozens of different devices and services. While Alexa can natively work with many services, IFTTT fills the cracks where functionality is missing. The most useful IFTTT function is easily the “trigger” phrase which allows you to execute any IFTTT recipe by saying “Alexa, trigger…” followed by any custom phrase you choose.

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Controlling the Amazon Fire TV with the Amazon Echo

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Ever since Amazon released the Echo voice controlled speaker/assistant, I and many others have been hoping for it and the Fire TV to receive an update that allows the two to communicate. With the addition of new Echo IFTTT triggers last week, I’ve been able to cobble together a working proof-of-concept that gives you a glimpse of what it would be like if Amazon’s two living room products communicated with one another.

The procedure I’ll be outlining in this post is very much a proof-of-concept and not very practical. That’s why the title of this article does not start with “How to…” like most of my guides. I’ll be laying out exactly how I was able to use the Amazon Echo to launch apps on the Fire TV with voice commands, but the process is missing polish and features that would be necessary for the average person to use this implementation on a daily bases. Read more ›

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Amazon Echo receives new IFTTT triggers with interesting potential

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The Amazon Echo has just received new IFTTT triggers which may initially seem lackluster, but one trigger in particular has the potential for some interesting possibilities. IFTTT, which stands for “if this then that“, is a web service that acts as a middleman to facilitate communication between dozens of different devices and services. The new triggers added for the Amazon Echo allow IFTTT to perform actions when you ask for sports scores, sports schedules, or request a song. It’s the new song request trigger that I find most intriguing.

Since you can upload an MP3 with a custom title to your Amazon Music Library, this new trigger allows you to, I believe for the first time, perform IFTTT actions with the Amazon Echo using custom phrases. The phrases must just begin with “Alexa, start…“, followed by a customized MP3 title that exists in your music library. Using this simple, yet powerful addition, I’ve been able to create a proof-of-concept that controls the Amazon Fire TV by utilizing the Echo’s voice commands. Here is a sample video showing what can be achieved. I’m currently writing an article, which outlines all the details of how this is done, that I expect to have published on Monday. The process is by no means practical, so don’t expect a simple guide, but it does demonstrate what can be achieved.

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