Simple Control Alexa Smart Home Skill Now Available

Amazon has now launched Alexa in India. Could you enable the skill for India and if so, any indication of the timeframe?

There are a number of new countries to enable. We’re starting to work through them now. Canada is in review for the Custom Skill. Assuming that goes well, Smart Home for Canada and UK will be next. That will complete the available English speaking countries. We then could add India and Germany, but those would involve actual localization whereas say Canada involves no localization. My guess is we could investigate those countries in Q1, but no estimate on completion yet.

Hi Will,

if you could use any help in German localization I’m happy to help! (German native speaker).


At last the Alexa Custom Skill was just approved, so that is now available in Canada for the first time, as well as the US and UK.

Next up is adding new countries to the Smart Home skill which currently is US only. The review process for that type of skill is very significantly more involved though, so I would not be surprised if it takes a while.

For instance in Sweden, Amazon has released the English version of Alexa. I believe it is due to Sonos built in Alexa. Is it not better to release the English version in all countries to begin with? Otherwise we in Sweden needs to fake an Brittish address set up a Brittish Apple ID and download skills from England. And then have phones and iPads with double Apple ID. Furthermore there are plenty of native English speaking in all countries. Thanks in advance. /Harry

Is there any update on when the Alexa Smart Home skill will be available in the UK or anywhere else outside the US?

Shortly after my last update in this thread, Amazon blocked all updates to SmartHome Skills that had not been completely re-written to a totally new API they had just introduced at the time. Not even a small update can be released. Nothing. Without a complete rewrite.

While that rewrite won’t take that long, it just is not a priority at the moment as we’re on critical path improvements. Given how well the new Siri support introduced last month in 5.6 is taking hold, I am evaluating now how much effort we want to spend on Alexa versus Siri in the future. Siri supports all countries and languages, Alexa supports just a few. Siri does not require a Hub. Alexa does. Siri does not require any centralized login or cloud relay, Alexa does. Siri can be in your pocket, Alexa more or less needs to be installed in each room. I am trying to move away from hubs, accounts, and logins. I want privacy, security, and simplification to be core themes of V6. Alexa holds every aspect of that back.

Today we support both Alexa and Siri. Most likely, we’ll rev the Alexa skill to the new API in 2019 and then as part of that add support for any additional English speaking countries available at that time. Given that our Siri support will become even better and likely support voice parameters in 2019, what at that point will be the remaining reason to provide Alexa support – beyond the fact that in a few countries users currently have Alexa speakers around their home already? OTOH, users also have iOS devices in their pockets and around their house so is there really any relevant difference there? I would prefer not to spend double the resources on two voice control platforms long term if one of them is clearly better for our user base. Right now, from my vantage point it looks like Siri has taken the lead. Anyway, before we dive into the (seemingly superfluous and pedantic) rewrite of the Alexa Smart Home Skill, I’ll make a final evaluation next year as to whether it’s really needed. Continuing feedback as to Siri success/failure versus Alexa will be helpful over the next few months.

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Alexa is working fine here in Texas, USA. We now have Echos in required rooms (because it works, and works with Simple Control).

Glad to hear Siri is getting better, but please don’t kill-off Alexa … we love her.

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Personally, I think Alexa support is pretty important.

That’s not the question I’m posing. Also we know the difference between “important” and the actual number of users using it down to the exact number of invocations per hour based on Amazon’s analytics. So the question of relative importance in the case of Alexa for us is one of the most well defined quantities we know.

Rather, the question is more, in Fall 2019, when Apple’s Siri Custom Intents have had a year to grow, and users have genuinely tried them, what does the landscape look like then? I would bet 95%+ today saying they like Alexa are simply saying that because they use it today like I do because until less then 60 days ago it was the only option. So what I’d like to gather going forward is, for people who have used both sufficiently for at least say a few weeks, what will you use going forward, both, Alexa, or Siri and why exactly?

Well that’s true to the extent that you’re capturing the only population of data that you care about. Using myself for an example; I haven’t taken the time to fully explore the SIRI or Alexa integration in Simple Control yet. So if i show up in the invocation data, it was by accident :slight_smile: However, I have a view which has less to do with Simple Control’s implementation and more to do with Alexa and Siri’s integration into other things that I HAVE implemented. So to expand on my admittedly useless statement above; I have high level view that Alexca is a better, more accurate, easier to invoke AI. Everytime I try something with siri I seem to quickly get frustrated with how inaccurate it can be. I “feel” like I have generally fewer issues with Alexa.

But as you said, that’s not really your question. I will have to spend some actually trying both in the Simple Control context and circle back. The on thing that won’t change is that Alexa (if you already have it in the room) is easier to invoke. These are first world ultra lazy views to be sure… but I don’t want to pick up my phone and hold the siri button. I might as well open the app at that point. I don’t use HEY SIRI becasue it costs battery. I will never own a home pod becasue they’re ridiculous.

+1 on above.

I have tried both Siri and Alexa. I prefer Alexa as of right now.

Like the previous poster, I am leveraging Alexa a lot within my whole home setup - and I think it is a dominant platform in the market. So I am not sure it will matter how far along Siri comes - Alexa is the platform of choice for me. I understand there may be challenges but not supporting Alexa at all seems unfair to Alexa users.

If this thread becomes a “don’t get rid of Alexa because I use it even though I admit I know nothing about Siri Custom Intents and really haven’t tried it”, then I’ll close this thread. Stay on topic. See my post above if you have new data to contribute. Nobody said we were getting rid of Alexa and the last two posters are acting like it.

Hi Will. For me using phone/tablet to control my home is a pain and smart assistant is the way we go. 1 thing you want to keep in mind google/amazon assistant are cheap so cheap u can place one in every room. If you dont own an iPhone like me getting siri in every room costly. Google new home hub is a perfect match for simple control if you guys have any plans to integrate with it.

Is there any plan for google home integration?

New countries should be going live today for the Custom Skill. The new countries include Australia and New Zealand and possibly others. Check the Amazon Alexa app.

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Hey Will.

I know the custom skill is now available for Australia but wanted to see if you are still intending to make the the Alexa Smart Home skill available on the Australia store.


Haven’t looked at that yet. Amazon basically introduced a new Smart Home API and with almost no notice said everyone needs to rewrite their Smart Home skills to it in order to submit any changes. So the Smart Home Skill needs a lot of work to do anything to it even just adding a country with the same language. We’ll probably take a look at this after V6 is out and things have slowed down.

Thanks for the update.