How lazy can you get by combining Alexa and Microsoft Teams?

The answer: very.

While an active Twitter conversation continued over what practical purposes you could have for setting your presence and status message in Microsoft Teams as mentioned in my previous blog post, I wondered – could I set my presence status using Alexa?

The Challenge

Given I have the speakers everywhere in my house, perhaps issuing a voice command could save me the gigantic effort of:

  1. Moving my hand over to my mouse
  2. Moving the mouse a few centimetres
  3. Pressing my avatar/profile picture in Microsoft Teams
  4. Pressing my current presence
  5. Selecting my desired presence state (in this case “Do Not Disturb”)

If you’re exhausted by the end of reading that and wanting to reward yourself with an ice cream for your efforts, then read on.

The Solution

Firstly, let’s start off by saying that Alexa has skills. Lots of skills. And I could probably figure out how to build one, but the point of this blog post is laziness.

Instead, I opted to use If This Then That (IFTTT.com) as it already has pre-built Alexa skills that allow you to issue commands simply by saying “Alexa trigger” followed by your voice command.

Secondly, I know that IFTTT can use webhooks, and Power Automate can receive HTTP requests.

Power Automate workflow

Using what I learned in my previous blog post, I know that I could set a status note as well as the presence itself. So I built the following workflow:

IFTTT workflow

Over in IFTTT I created an “applet” based on a trigger term:

The trigger looks like this:

And the action looks like this:

The Result

To prove that it worked and how quick it is, I created a short video:

Summary

Should you use this? Maybe. I don’t know. It’s not my place to tell you what to do (except for the countless times when I have about other topics).

This workflow could be improved to automatically expire the status after a specific period of time such as 25 minutes if you’re into the Pomodoro technique.

Or you could create another workflow to set your status back to Available, or to Offline, whatever you like. Plus, you could even have Alexa capture the words you’ve said and pass those through as the message.

Anything you like, as long as it doesn’t involve the gigantic effort of moving your mouse, pressing the button a few times, and possibly typing some text.

You’re welcome!


Also published on Medium.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.