The below link shows how to create a virtual switch via the IDE. I can say I love the echo and how it makes my house much smarter and it is very easy to control the lights, locks, etc without pulling my phone out.
I actually got the Echo and LIFX lights first and then added ST. Echo added a lot of great functionality. It’s a little tricky to get everything working just right, but it’s not difficult. You will like the end results. I can say “Alexa, turn on night time” and all the right lights go off and on and mode is changed, etc. Much easier than walking all over the house to turn lights on and off and you don’t even have to have your phone handy. Definitely worth the investment for the Echo.
Another way to control locks which I use is ifttt. You can create triggers to lock doors. Use Alexa trigger lock the front door. Dont recommend using for unlock. People can stand at window and yell to Alexa to unlock your door.
Another question: Are there any disadvantages to creating separate routines in echo that resemble the Good morning routines in ST ? for example, creating a routine in echo that controls the same switches that ST lumps together in a Good morning routine for example? This was I don’t have to install any new apps or virtual switches? I am new to this so I am may be way off? Thanks
It is really personal preference. When I first got into this I worried about the same things, but at the end of the day if it works for you and it is easily manageable by you, that is all that really matters.