Harmony Hub – Setting Up Activities for Alexa

The Harmony Hub by Logitech is a fantastic piece of kit, once you get past it’s intricacies. This article explains things to be aware of when setting up activities in the Hub you want to use with Alexa voice control.

Naming Activities

When creating an activity there is a fair amount of importance about how and what you name them. This section provides guidance.

Type of Activity

Don’t use anything other than “Add your own Activity”. It’s the only way you get to specify the name, which is important for reasons below.

Changing a Name Doesn’t Really Change It

This is critical to get right. When you create an activity in the Harmony Hub the name you use is hard coded (kept forever). You can rename your activity, but that doesn’t actually change the name – it gives it a new “friendly” name in the app, but underneath (hidden from you) it’s keeping the same name.

Why is this important? Because Alexa doesn’t use the friendly name, just the original, so when you sync your Harmony hub with Alexa only the original name will appear.

Shows what an activity looks like after it’s been renamed.

I found this out the hard way after spending a fair amount of time setting up activities for watching TV, playing games, launching Netflix, etc. Then synching with Alexa, wondering why voice commands didn’t work well and trying to rectify issues by renaming activities. Even deleting the scenes in the Alexa web app and resending didn’t solve the problem.

What Alexa Does to Names

Lastly, when you synchronise with Alexa it will drop the first word in the activity if you’ve used a common trigger word such as “watch” or “play”. E.G. “Watch TV” becomes “TV” and “Play Civilisation” becomes “Civilisation”.

Lesson here is that if you get the name wrong you’ll need to delete and recreate the activity, which can be extremely painful.

Creating and Synching Activities

Create

Now the steps for synchronising your activities with Alexa.

As mentioned already choose “Add your own Activity”.

Then give it the all important name and select a suitable icon.

Select the devices you want to control and other settings as appropriate and you’ll end up with a screen something like the below.

Synchronise

Open the Alexa App and choose to add a new device.

Scroll down to TV and choose Logitech Harmony.

If you haven’t already, then link your account and then you can discover devices.

Using in a Routine

From the Alexa App choose Routines.

Choose the trigger, then Add action.

Scroll down to Smart Home.

Choose to Control scene.

Then select your activity (in this example “Blog Test”.

Complete your activity and you’re good to go. Now you can use Alexa to “Start” your activity!

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