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Yes / No Prompts With Alexa and Voice Monkey

Have you ever wanted Alexa to ask you if the lights should be switched on?

Well now you can do this and much more with Voice Monkey PRO’s newest feature Yes / No prompts, which allow you to trigger an Alexa routine depending on your choice of answer, Yes or No.

Imagine this…

You walk into a room and your motion sensor, senses your presence.

Alexa says: “Hello, would you like me to turn the lights on”

You say: “Yes”

* The lights turn on *

How to do this

It can seem complicated but once you get the hang of it, you can create some powerful automation magic!

For this example, Alexa will ask me whether she should turn on the smart plug linked to my treadmill if a motion detector is triggered.

You can replace the smart plug with anything you like, smart home lights, your Ring doorbell etc etc

I’m going to assume you have already successfully performed a text-to-speech announcement with Voice Monkey.

First, create the action

So we first need to create the Monkey, the Preset and the Routine that we will use to turn on the smart plug.

First create a new Monkey, I’m going to call mine ‘Treadmill Smart Plug Monkey’.

Next, create a Preset using this Monkey.

The Preset will allow me to reference the Monkey in my “YES” prompt.

And now I need to create the Alexa Routine which turns on the Smart Plug when the Preset/Monkey above is triggered.

In the Alexa App, I create a new Routine.

When this happens -> Smart Home -> Treadmill Smart Plug Monkey
Add action -> Smart Home -> Garage Smart Plug -> Power On

Secondly, create your Yes/No trigger Monkey

Go to the playground: https://app.voicemonkey.io/url

Choose the Monkey linked to the Echo device that is going to speak and ask the question.

In the “Announcement text” field, type in your question. For example “Hello, would you like me to turn on the treadmill?”

In the “Prompt YES” field, select the action Preset you created above.

You can then hit the “Send Request” button to test everything is working.

Trigger your Yes/No Monkey

There are multiple ways you could trigger the Monkey you created above. You could copy the URL generated and plug it into IFTTT webhooks or into a Home Assistant automation, or which ever smart home platform you’re using.

For this example, I will be triggering it from within an Alexa routine, whenever my Echo Flex senses motion detection.

To do this, I’m going to save the Parameters I generated above into a Preset called “Treadmill Yes-No Preset”.

I’m going to then use this Preset in my Alexa Routine as follows:

I’m going to give the Routine a name of ‘Treadmill Motion Trigger’.

In the WHEN section I’m going to select Smart Home then my motion trigger which is called ‘Garage motion sensor’.

After that I’m going to add an ACTION. I’m going to use the Custom action.

In here, I’m going to type “ask voice monkey to trigger preset two”

You can find the phrase you need to type in the Presets section of the console: https://app.voicemonkey.io/presets

Then choose the device you wish for Alexa to use, and that’s it, this is what the final Routine looks like:

So now, when my garage sensor detects motion, it will trigger “preset two”, which contains the question announcement ( “Hello, would you like me to turn on the treadmill?” ) and the subsequent Preset which will be triggered if I answer Yes (if I answer No, nothing will happen).

In summary…

Yes/No Prompts are a new tool in your Alexa smart home set-up, but can be hard to understand.

Essentially, you have two components: The action (what you want to happen if you say Yes or No) and The Trigger, which asks the initial question and triggers the action.

First you need to set-up the action which is comprised of a Monkey, which you turn into a Preset, and then you use this Monkey as the trigger in your action Alexa routine.

The trigger is another Monkey which uses an Announcement to ask the question and you use the Preset above as the Yes or No parameter. This trigger Monkey can then be used in your home automation software or triggered from another routine by converting it into a Preset.

15 Comments

  • Mike Mann 9 February 2022

    It’s only fair to add to my comment above: Christian has now replied and explained that he’s been overloaded with email since he introduced the Pro Plan. I’m pleased to confirm that upgrades do work but may take a few days.

  • Mike 26 February 2022

    Hi.

    Let’s suppose, rather than using an intermediate alexa action, i want to trigger an action in Home assistant.

    Could it be made possible to set the “action” to send a webhook rather than trigger a preset? (or set a webhook url to be the preset?) in this way, I could ask home assistant to turn on the treadmill rather than alexa (or perhaps to perform more complex actions that Alexa could manage)

    Regards

    • Christian 30 March 2022

      Hi Mike,

      Not at the moment unfortunately.
      There is the option of passing through a website which is opened by a screen enabled Alexa device but this isn’t ideal.

      If there’s enough demand I’ll certainly look into building it.

      Christian

  • Mostafa 30 March 2022

    If you don’t answer to it’s prompt, Alexa will reply “Trigger Underscore Reprompt”. Is it a work in progress or is there any way to customize or silent this message?

    • Christian 30 March 2022

      Hi Mostafa,

      I’ve just issued a fix for this, thanks for raising.

      Christian

  • Brantome 4 May 2022

    In trying to set up the question preset, what does “Choose the Monkey linked to the Echo device that is going to speak and ask the question” mean? Where did the “Monkey Show 15” appear from? And does the device name in the monkey “Show 15” have to correspond to an actual device name in your Alexa account?
    Going round in circles tbh 🙁

    • Christian 4 May 2022

      Hey Pete…apologies…since this is all a hack/workaround for the lack of Alexa smart home features, inevitably it leads to a complicated set-up. However, I could probably do a far better job of explaining it all, so sorry for the confusion!

      So I’ve used the “Show 15” as my trigger Monkey to make Alexa ask the Yes or No question. You can name a Monkey (virtual trigger) any name you like. I usually create one Monkey for each of my devices, hence why I’ve called this particular one “Show 15”. Once you’ve created a Monkey in the dashboard, you then create an Alexa routine, with this monkey as the trigger then you open the Voice Monkey skill as the routine action and select which device to use (in my case the Echo Show 15).

      I hope that makes a bit of sense?

      Feel free to email me your use case, I’d be happy to help out ([email protected])

  • FRANK ENGELMAN 6 July 2022

    Is your Monkey Show 15 triggering an Alexa Routine?

    If so, what is the “action” in the Routine?

  • FRANK ENGELMAN 6 July 2022

    I finally got it to work.

    What I didn’t understand was that the “Echo Show 15” monkey was supposed to trigger an Alexa Routine that invokes the Voice Monkey Skill as is done when making Voice Monkey Announcements

    This is a great way to make Alexa Routines interactive

  • FRANK ENGELMAN 7 July 2022

    What is the preferred image size for the URL link?

    It seems to stretch to the full screen rather than the actual size

  • FRANK ENGELMAN 7 July 2022

    I am enjoying this pro version and have set this up for some elderly persons to improve their current proactive time-of-day music being played in a session in an Alexa Routine to now allow them to say “Yes/No” if they don’t want it at the time.

    I just added another loop so that if they say “no” to music, it will ask “how about the radio?”

    Is there a way to pay for an “ad-free” version?
    I’m afraid the “Voice Monkey” image could confuse them. It pops up even when I have my own image for them

  • Johnny B 14 August 2022

    Hi,

    I would want to sign up, but I believe the Yes/No function is only available in English. Since I’m French, I suppose I can’t start something by saying Oui or Non instead of Yes or No. Can you confirm?
    Thanks.

  • Kate 19 September 2022

    I can only trigger this routine if I say to Alexa “Alexa play Voice Monkey” no other way, so I’m not even telling alexa which Preset to use and what if I have more than 1 monkey? This will not work by the scheduler in Alexa which I was hoping it would. I’ve spent days and days pouring over these instructions and I just can’t get it to work. I’m disabled in a wheelchair and was so happy that there was a way that alexa could ask me yes/no questions but now it would seem I wasted my money unless someone can help. I have wrote to the programmer and haven’t heard anything back.

  • Kate 21 September 2022

    Just to let everyone know, Christian took the time and trouble to help me out and now I have it working. Thank you Christian xx

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