Virtual Buttons for Alexa

Hi. This was just released before the weekend and it looks good news on how to make announcements in Alexa and alot more. Anyone already figured out how to use this with the Vera system?

Here’s the list of features -
Virtual Buttons can perform any action supported by Alexa Routines, which include…

  • Make Alexa speak (without asking, “what are my notifications?”)
  • Play music
  • Launch a skill
  • Read email
  • Give a weather report
  • Turn on a light
  • …and more

In fact, the list just keeps growing as Amazon continues to add more actions to Alexa Routines.

How does it Work?
Virtual Buttons creates Alexa smart home button devices you can “press” virtually via a simple REST API. As with Notify Me, you can access Virtual Button’s REST API from IFTTT, a curl command, Javascript… anything that can make a REST call.

you can link ifttt to vera a couple of ways Vera & IFTTT integration - it can be done today!

what are virtual buttons and where do i go to get them?

I thought this might be a good work around for the things i’ve been trying to do but it requires a monthly fee. Not for me… :nauseated_face:

i found the virtual buttons app in the list of amazon alexa skills. i was hoping it will enable an alexa announcement when my vera door sensors are opened. is there a way to do that via Vera & IFTTT integration?

i didn’t notice there was a subscription fee. i added the alexa skill for free.

Are you, in USA as the skill does not appear in UK list or, does it have a different name.

If the buttons can be linked too ifttt then there should be a way to link to vera.

In the instructions you have to:

  1. Create a Patreon account
  2. Enable the skill
  3. link the skill to Patreon account
  4. go to www.virtualbuttons.com to get the virtual buttons.

Step 4 is where the fee is introduced. You have to pay for each button you create or buy a package of buttons.

Hi Elcid, here is the app link of Virtual Buttons by thomptronics -

rlagent, you’re right! after the first 3 steps, it now directs me to virtualbuttons to pay monthly fees for the buttons. i’m now hesitating to take this route for alexa announcements triggered by Vera devices

Cheers robie, that skill is not listed in uk. Any way i refuse to pay for virtual property, specialy on a yearly fee.

I agree… If they charged a one time fee I would consider but not recurring payments.
Maybe they should rethink their business model as i’m sure there are others that feel the same.

I use a variation of my plugin to control the Echo (in fact, I directly run the .sh script with params) to trigger routines on my Alexa devices. It works 100% ok. Ie: I have scenes triggering from Vera and launching music, flash briefing and things like that on Alexa.

If there’s enought interest, I might consider adding it natively to the PlugIn (supporting only TTS at the moment). 100% free, 100% local (well, at least local to Amazon’s cloud).

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The realdb, looks good i will install it laterthis week if i find time. Can you make a local http request to vera to make alexa speak? If so could you give an example url

Yes, you just have to invoke the url.

http://ip_address:3480/data_request?id=action&output_format=json&DeviceNum=666&serviceId=urn:micasaverde-com:serviceId:Sonos1&action=Say&Text=Test

Where test is your text and 666 your device number.

That’s sonos, no?

C

therealdb cheers, will give this ago.

yep. for optimal compatibility, I support Sonos’ actions as well :slight_smile:

Next week I’ll finish a work project and I’ll definitely have more time to stabilize this plugin and add new features, as the aforementioned routines execution.

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Really looking forward to it. The only reason I asked was because ElCid was asking about Alexa…

C

Catman, i think i can edit the url for my purposes. cheers anyway

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Creating and linking to a Patreon account is free (step #3 from the instructions). And, if you can live with just the one free button (Virtual Button 01), you do not have to pay for any membership tiers to use the skill.

FYI, I’m one of the developers for Virtual Buttons. We created it due to the popularity of our Notify Me skill… and because we just simply wanted to use Virtual Buttons ourselves!

So, why aren’t Virtual Buttons 02 through 20 free like our Notify Me skill is? We simply can’t afford the server costs. For example, Notify Me – which people use to send over 2,000 notifications per day – is already costing us too much money. We simply can’t afford to release another completely free skill like Notify Me without getting some nominal revenue to offset our server costs.

We totally understand why people might not want to pay for more than the one free button. Similarly, we trust that people will understand why we can’t afford to offer them for free.

randyth, when i buy a single smart switch, it is mine and i have a physical object. With your virtual button i can not buy it i get to rent it. With the physical switch the developer has server costs to, plus material costs. So my question to you is why not a single payment?

Also is your skill not available in the UK as i can not find it?

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