[DEPRECATED] Smartthings + Alexa + Harmony Hub -- 2017 Guide


#1

Due to recent changes in the Logitech Harmony integration into Alexa, I thought it would be a good idea to create a new 2017 version of the guide for this particular integration. I also expect significant changes to the integration in the upcoming year, as we will surely see all three platforms maturing a bit this year. Logi is now focused on HA a bit more, and Amazon simply has plans for global domination…or maybe just home domination, globally.

**Note: This guide is a work in progress. All information contained within is subject to change as Logitech works to make their Alexa Skill functionality more comprehensive.


Smartthings and Alexa Integration


This process is well-documented and can be found in the following links:



Smartthings and Harmony Hub Integration


Prerequisites

  • Smartthings Hub with the Smartthings Mobile app installed (requires a Smartthings account)
  • Logitech Harmony Home Hub(s) (aka Ultimate Hub or Hub) installed
    • Hub(s) should be properly configured in the MyHarmony app or the Logi Harmony Mobile app (requires a MyHarmony account)
      • If you have multiple Hubs that you plan to integrate into ST/Alexa, give them unique names (e.g. “Living Room Harmony Hub”, “Den Harmony Hub”, etc).
    • Your Harmony Hub(s) should be updated to firmware version 4.12.36 or higher
    • Activities should be setup via one of the Harmony apps
      • If you have multiple Hubs that you plan on integrating into ST/Alexa, give them unique names.
    • Favorites (for TV channels) should be added during the setup process for your Watch TV Activity (if applicable)

Integration Steps

  1. In the ST Mobile App, go to My Home->Things->Add a Thing.
  2. Tap Add Device Manually.
  3. Tap Smartthings Labs->Logitech Harmony Home Hub (Labs).
  4. Tap Connect Now and follow the steps for authentication.
  5. Discovery should start and after a while ST should find your Harmony Hub(s) and Activities.
  6. Tap Select Harmony Hubs and check the hubs you want to integrate.
  7. Tap Select Harmony Activities and check the activities you want to integrate.
  8. Tap Done.
  9. ST should now see your Harmony Hub(s) and/or Activities as Devices in the Add a Thing view.
    • This step sometimes takes a while, so be patient.
      – OR –
    • You can press X to return to Things view. You should be able to see all the Harmony Hub(s) and/or Activities you just added as Things if adding was successful.
    • Return to Add a Thing view and continue with step 10.
  10. Once you see all the Harmony Hub(s) and/or Activities you selected in steps 6 and 7, tap Save
  11. You should now see your Harmony Hub(s) and/or Activities on the Things list (if not, see step 9, or verify that all Hubs and Activities were properly selected by repeating steps 1-8).

After step 9 and/or 11, all of your Harmony Hub(s) and/or Activities should be accessible as Devices in ST. These Devices can now be controlled as basic On/Off toggle Switches via the Things view, or included in Automation Routines and Smartapps.

This also means that if you have enabled the Smartthings Skill in Alexa (Alexa app->Smart Home->Skills->Smartthings), the Activities can now be voice-controlled as basic On/Off Switches by Alexa using the Activity name (e.g. “Alexa, turn on the TV” or “Alexa, turn on Watch TV”).

For those experiencing at status update lag between Harmony Activities and ST, please read the following post:


Alexa and Harmony Hub Integration


Logitech has created 2 skills to integrate with Alexa. Users are currently limited to associating only ONE Harmony Hub to each skill. The hub is selected by the user from a list of currently configured Harmony Hubs in the user’s My Harmony configuration during the setup of each skill.

(Note: Many ST Community members advise using Yonomi for multiple Harmony Hub scenarios.)

  • Harmony – Optimized for Smart Home Skill (blue icon in the Alexa Skills store)
    • Direct Alexa trigger phrase (e.g. “Alexa”, “Echo”, “Amazon” or “Computer”)
    • Allows Alexa voice-control of the On/Off state of Activities (e.g. “Alexa turn on the TV”, “Echo turn off the Den Roku”, etc.).
    • Allows you to setup Activities aliases during the setup process (e.g. “Xbox” as an alias for “Play Xbox One”, “Sleepy Time” as an alias for “Watch LMN”, etc.).
    • Extracts television (cable, satellite or air) channels set as Favorites and installed Roku channels as voice-controllable On/Off devices (e.g. “Alexa turn on PBS”, “Alexa turn off Youtube”, etc.).
  • Harmony Skill (red icon in Alexa Skills Store)
    • Skill access trigger phrase (e.g “Alexa tell Harmony…”, “Echo tell Harmony…”, or “Amazon tell Harmony…”)
    • Allows Alexa voice-control of the On/Off state of Activities (e.g. “Alexa tell Harmony to turn on the TV”, “Echo tell Harmony to turn off the Den Roku”, etc.).
    • Allows Alexa voice-control of volume, channel navigation, play state and directional navigation within some Activities (e.g. “Alexa, tell Harmony to increase the volume”, “Echo, tell Harmony to pause”, “Amazon, tell Harmony channel up”, etc.).

Commands Reference: [Work in Progress]

  • Activities
    • Harmony Smart Home Syntax: [TRIGGER] + [COMMAND]
      • “Alexa, turn on Netflix.”
    • Harmony Syntax: [HARMONY TRIGGER] + [COMMAND]
      • “Alexa, tell Harmony to turn on Netflix.”
    • Variations:
      • [TRIGGER | HARMONY TRIGGER] + [ACTIVITY | FRIENDLY NAME] + [“on” | “off”]
        • “Alexa, ESPN on.”
        • “Alexa, tell Harmony Watch TV off.”
      • [TRIGGER | HARMONY TRIGGER] + “turn” + [“on” | “off”] + [ACTIVITY | FRIENDLY NAME]
        • “Alexa, turn off the TV.”
        • “Alexa, tell Harmony to turn off the TV.”
      • [TRIGGER | HARMONY TRIGGER] + “turn” + [ACTIVITY | FRIENDLY NAME] + [“on” | “off”]
        • “Alexa, turn the TV on.”
        • “Alexa, tell Harmony turn the TV on.”
      • [HARMONY TRIGGER] + “switch to” + [ACTIVITY | FRIENDLY NAME]
        • “Alexa, switch to ESPN.”
        • “Alexa, tell Harmony switch to Watch ESPN.”
  • Channels (television-based Activities; this may also include radio-based Activities, but I haven’t tested)
    • Syntax: [HARMONY TRIGGER] + [COMMAND]
    • Variations:
      • [HARMONY TRIGGER] + “channel” + [“up” | “down”]
  • Volume (all Activities with a volume controller)
    • Syntax: [HARMONY TRIGGER] + [COMMAND]
    • Volume Increase Variations:
      • [HARMONY TRIGGER] + [“increase” | “raise” | etc] + “volume”
      • [HARMONY TRIGGER] + “volume up”
      • [HARMONY TRIGGER] + “turn it up”
      • [HARMONY TRIGGER] + [VOLUME UP VARIATION] + “by” + [NUMBER (1…20)]
    • Volume Decrease Variations:
      • [HARMONY TRIGGER] + [“decrease” | “lower” | “reduce” | etc] + “volume”
      • [HARMONY TRIGGER] + “volume down”
      • [HARMONY TRIGGER] + “turn it down”
      • [HARMONY TRIGGER] + [VOLUME DOWN VARIATION] + “by” + [NUMBER (1…20)]
    • Mute: [HARMONY TRIGGER] + “mute” (functions as a toggle for mute on/off)
    • Unmute Variations:
      • [HARMONY TRIGGER] + [“unmute” | “mute”]
      • [HARMONY TRIGGER] + [VOLUME UP VARIATION| VOLUME DOWN VARIATION]
    • Volume Options:
      • [HARMONY TRIGGER] + “set volume [NUMBER (1…10)]”
        • Alexa Response: “Okay. I’ll change the volume by [NUMBER] units going forward.”
        • Changes the number of levels that the volume changes per command.
  • Play Controls (video and audio Activities)
    • Play Variations:
      • Sends the Play command to an Activity’s primary device in a paused or stopped state.
      • [HARMONY TRIGGER] + “play”
    • Pause Variations:
      • Sends the Pause command to an Activity’s primary device in a play state.
      • [HARMONY TRIGGER] + [“pause” | “stop”]
    • Resume Variations:
      • Sends the Play command to an Activity’s primary device in a paused or stopped state.
      • [HARMONY TRIGGER] + [“resume” | “continue” | “play” | “pause” | “stop”]
    • Skip Variations
      • Sends Skip variation commands to an Activity’s primary device in any state.
      • [HARMONY TRIGGER] + [“skip” | “jump” | “go” | etc] + [“back” | “forward”]
      • Issues: I was unable to get my Time Warner Cable TV to skip forward, though skip back worked fine.
  • Direction Controls
    • This is specific to some Activities that allow direction controls.
    • Syntax: [HARMONY TRIGGER] + [COMMAND]
    • Variations: [HARMONY TRIGGER] + [“up” | “down” | “left” | “right”]
    • Variations: [HARMONY TRIGGER] + [“up” | “down”] – currently only function to Channel Up/Down within a TV activity
  • Other Controls
    • There are other commands currently built-in, though I don’t know that all of them have attached functionality.
    • “Alexa, tell Harmony to sync”
      • Alexa response: “Alexa is syncing with your Logitech Harmony account. This may take 30 seconds…”
    • “Alexa, tell Harmony to set sleep timer for [NUMBER] minutes”
      • Alexa response: “Okay. Harmony will turn off your Activity in [NUMBER] minutes.”
      • Harmony will send an End Activity command (Power Off All) in the specified number of minutes.
    • “Alexa, tell Harmony to cancel sleep timer” will cancel the previously set timer.
      • Alexa repsonse: “Okay, your sleep timer has been cleared.”
    • “Alexa, tell Harmony to cancel”
      • Despite being a valid command, I was not able to determine the context/conditions for its use. It will not cancel the sleep timer.

This is simply a quick first pass based upon my experience over the past day of working with the new Harmony skill. I will try to flesh this out and make more edits over the next few days. If there are any corrections or modifications that need to be made, please do so if you have the appropriate permissions level, or simply post them as replies if you do not have edit permissions.


New Harmony Echo Skills! Turn up/down volume, etc
How to control TV volume with Alexa, Harmony Hub & Smartthings
Harmony Hub - activities OK but?
Trying to change my TV input back with alexa
Trying to add harmony to Smartthings
Trying to make a "MOVIE TIME" action/automation with ST and Harmony
(Stephen Hill) #2

I’d mention that the Harmony - Optimised for Smart Home Skill isn’t available in the UK (yet?). So an alternative is to set up a separate integration through Yonomi.

This gives the ability to still say " Alexa, turn on TV" and for Yonomi to run the selected activity.


(Bobby) #3

Nice collection! I would mention the limitation of the Harmony skill, and that is, “Harmony – Optimized for ONE HUB in the Smart Home”, for more than one, Yonomi is recommended…Had more success turning things on and off with Yonomi than I had with Harmony’s direct Integration…


#4

In which circumstances do the left,right, up, down commands work with harmony? Can’t get them to work so far


#5

The only activity context-based directions that I have had to work successfully are Up and Down, unfortunately, and these simply change the channel within a TV-based activity (Channel Up/Down aliases).

I had the others stubbed in while I was testing and forgot to remove them from the guide. Thanks for catching that!


#6

OK cool thanks for clarifying. It would be so helpful if amazon included those commands in harmony. I suppose in time they will


#7

Yeah. I really hope that this year we see all of the Harmony-capable commands added and have Alexa become a fully-functioned Harmony “remote”.


#8

I’m sure we will :slight_smile:


(Robross0606) #9

I’ve been trying to figure out how you address multiple different Harmony Hub Activities thru Alexa and Smartthings. The above instructions go as far as telling you how to set them up, but don’t tell you how you would address them separately when you have more than one hub? How do you “turn on TV” if you have two TVs controlled by different hubs?


#10

So, the big limitation right now is that the Harmony Skills in Alexa were not designed to support multiple hubs, as you know.

The Smartthings Skill, however, will expose ALL imported Harmony Activities to Alexa as addressable devices.

So, what you need to do is:

  1. In MyHarmony, rename activities so that they have a unique name across both Harmony Hubs (e.g. “Watch Living Room TV”, “Watch Home Theater TV”, etc). Make sure you Sync after renaming Activities/Devices.
  • What I have done is left my main Harmony Hub (the one that I watch the most and need the most control over) as is. So those Activities retain the original names, such as “Watch TV”.
  • This is also the Hub that I use as the Hub for the Harmony Skills in Alexa. This is the one that allows greater control over volume and changing channels through Alexa.
  1. Once you are sure you have unique Activities across Hubs, sync all Hubs with MyHarmony and remove any “old” ones from Smartthings.
  2. Re-add Harmony Hubs and Activities to Smartthings.
  3. In the Alexa app, either Forget All Devices, or manually Forget the old Harmony Activities. If you made changes to Activities on the “main” Hub (the one used for Harmony Skills in Alexa), you will need to disable both Harmony Skills also.
  4. If you had to disable Harmony Skills, re-enable them in Alexa, assigning “Friendly Names” as is appropriate.
  5. Have Alexa Discover Devices to bring in any device changes you made in Smartthings.
  6. At this point, you should have all Harmony Skills Devices/Activities from the main Hub, as well as Smartthings Harmony Activities, as devices in Alexa.

So, what I’ve done is kept my family room Hub Devices/Activities with the “default” names. So if I tell Alexa, “Turn on the TV”, Alexa turns on the TV in the family room.

I have named my other Hubs after the rooms where they are located. I also prefix the activities with the location name also. So, I then use “Alexa, turn on Den TV” or “Alexa, turn on Game Room TV”, or “Alexa, turn on Game Room Xbox”, or “Alexa, turn on Den Roku”.

Occasionally, Alexa does get confused, since the names are so similar and will either turn on the wrong TV or prompt you with the “Which one did you want?” dialogue.

Other than that, it works perfectly fine until the Harmony Skill adds multiple Hub support.

Alternatively, you can use Xonomi, http://www.yonomi.co/blog/hey-alexa-meet-yonomi/. This has been used by the ST community for a while.


(sapstar) #11

Hi, I am new to smartthings and trying to understand the benefits of integrating harmony hub into smartthings. I currently use the harmony skill and yonomi to integrate harmony into echo. What additional value I get by using smartthings?


#12

Integrating into ST would simply give you the ability to manage/trigger Harmony Activities just like you would a “normal” device in ST. It gives you the ability to include Harmony Activities into your ST Routines and Smartapps. It would also allow you to directly address those Activities from Alexa as devices (but this is now covered by the Harmony – Optimized for Smarthome Skill as well).


#13

Added a link to a post for instant status updates between Harmony Hub and ST. Thanks @destructure00.


(Scott March) #14

As mentioned in the bullet list at the top, of the two available skill sets (red icon vs blue icon in Alexa skill setup) each can control ONE hub. I just used this myself to assign the blue icon skill set to the Living Room hub and the red icon skill set to my Bedroom hub. I had both assigned to the Living Room prior not knowing I could assign them individually. To get at the hub assignment within Alexa skill settings, I disabled the red icon and then went ahead and re-enabled it, logging into Harmony to pair them. Once at the end screen, read the fine print toward the bottom of the paragraph and you will see a link to “reassign” the hub choice. That done, Bedroom now reacts to the “Echo tell Harmony to …” activity commands.


(Robross0606) #15

Still far from ideal since the language is different for each hub. Until you can address them using the same language (i.e. “Alexa, turn TV in the Family Room on”) I will continue to use IFTTT because that’s precisely what I’m able to do there albeit with awkward “trigger” keyword.


#16

Yeah. I’m really not sure why room context wasn’t factored in to all these systems from the beginning. Even with ST, the Rooms are merely containers and not even functional groups.

At least Amazon added functional groups to Alexa which can easily be used for scene control (kinda).


(Robross0606) #17

I actually just discovered you can rename any device in SmartThings which has basically solved ALL my problems. I simply renamed the activities in SmartThings to be contextual like “Televsion in the Family Room” and “Television in the Theater” and now everything is working fine. I can simply say “Alexa, turn on Television in the Family Room”. No need to change the names of the actual Harmony Activities since you can give them different names in SmartThings.


(Bobby) #18

How do you turn off the activity that is active?


(Robross0606) #19

Yes, that’s slightly odd but more a SmartThings problem. If you move from Activity to Activity, the Smartthings seems to sometimes get confused that multiple activities are all “On”. Sometimes it seems to resolve itself over time. Sometimes it doesn’t. In any case, you can turn off the active activity the same way you turn it on (i.e. “Alexa, turn off Television in the Family Room”).


(Daniel Ionescu) #20

Define turn off.

You usually switch activities or turn off TV