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Sunday, June 16, 2019

SUPPORTED COMMANDS

There are broadly 4 types of commands utilised within the skill;

Device Selection & Management
Commands allowing for the query and selection of SqueezeBox devices connected to the LMS

Transport Control
Commands related to playback such as pause, skip etc.

Content Cueing
Commands to find and select Tracks, Favourites and Playlists

Skill Configuration & Information
Commands to tailor how the skill behaves

 

-- This is a draft document. Pre-launch, all available commands will be fully documented here. --

 

 

USING COMMANDS

Overview

In order to use the speech commands, the Alexa Squeeze Box skill must be opened. Like any skill, there are two ways to approach this.

In the first instance, users may simply open the skill as follows;

USER: 'Alexa, Open Squeeze Box'

The skill will respond if successfully opened and wait for a command which may then be spoken without the need to call 'Alexa'

Alternatively, the user may use the 'one-shot' approach by issuing a command while launching the skill;

USER: 'Alexa, tell Squeeze Box to List Devices'

In this case, the skill will launch and enumerate the Squeeze Box devices attached to the LMS.

 

Launch Caveats

While this second method is convenient, it's not fully supported. For example, some commands seem to be reserved for Alexa and don't work reliably as part of the one-shot approach. For example the following won't always work;

USER: 'Alexa, tell Squeeze Box to play playlist Weekend Tunes'

Often, Alexa will ignore the skill name and attempt to play content from a default service, such as Spotify. ('Play' seems to be a reserved keyword). Possible workarounds are;

1. Open the skill, then issue the command;

USER: 'Alexa, open Squeeze Box'

ALEXA: 'What would you like to do?'

USER: 'Play playlist Weekend Tunes'

 

2. Use an alternative form of the command that avoids keywords;

USER: 'Alexa, tell Squeeze Box to play playlist Weekend Tunes'

 

Commnand Syntax

Efforts have been made to implement natural language for interacting with the skill. However, it's a complex skill and people often have very different ways of interacting, or even naming things. (is it a song, track, cut, piece, or something else?).

Users will find that there are several ways of saying things supported in the skill. If something is not working quite the way you think it should, let us know on the forums and we'll try to address with an update.

 

Multiple Commands (in skill)

In cases where a command causes music to commence playback, the skill will always close, and must be launched again in order to issue further commands. (there are some exceptions, see below)

However, in cases where the command does not cause music to play, the skill can be configured to remain listening for further input. This is convenient, for example, where the user wishes to first obtain, say, a list of players, then select one and then set the volume on that device.

The concept of 'extended listening' is built in to the skill. It is 'on' by default but may be configured by voice to user preference. When extended listening is'On', the skill will remain open and prompt for another command, when appropriate.

Re-prompts are also supported and configurable. In conjunction with Extended Listening', re-promots, when enabled, keep the skill listening for an even longer period by re-prompting the user.

The following is a possible interaction when extended listening and re-prompt configuration settings are both set to on;

USER: 'Alexa, Open Squeeze Box'

ALEXA: 'What would you like to do?'

USER: 'List Devices'

ALEXA: 'There are Two devices. Device One, Living Room Radio', is connected. Device Two, Kitchen Touch' is connected. It is the selected device. What next?

USER: 'Select Living Room Radio'

ALEXA: 'Living Room Radio is the selected device' What next?

<waits>

ALEXA: 'Is there anything else I can help you with?'

USER: 'Set the volume to 50 percent'

ALEXA: 'OK, What next?'

<waits>

ALEXA: 'What would you like to do?'

<waits>

<skill closes due to lack of response>

 

Multiple Commands (Audio Player)

As well as supporting multiple commands inside the skill, we leverage the audio player architecture to alloow users issue certain commands after the skill closes.

Normally, a skill needs to be 'open' to accept commands. However, audio player skills allow users to say things like;

USER: 'Alexa, Pause'

Such commands are sent to the most recently used skill by default.Therefore, if the user has interacted with the Squeeze Box skill, and nothing since, they can issue transport commands such as 'play', 'pause', 'next' , 'previous' without launching the skill at all. handy!

 

Volume Diminishing

One of the problems with building a voice control for music playback devices is that those devices are inherently noisy and can interfere with reception of spoken commands.

Echo devices are pretty good at filtering out background noise, and having the pick-up device physically separate from the playback device can help as well, if users are careful about placement.

However, when your SqueezeBox Boom is pumping out tunes with the volume set to eleven (the skill can do it, be sure to try!), it can be difficult for Alexa to understand the user.

To mitigate this, the skill will diminish the volume on the selected device which the skill is open. Users do need to bear in mind, though, that a discrete Echo can control a Squeeze Box located in a different area.The skill will diminish the volume on the selected device, not necessarily the one located in closest proximity.