FAQ: Amazon Echo: The Official SmartThings Integration is here! (Initial SetUp FAQ)

For everyone that thinks it odd to say “Alexa turn on my XYZ virtual switch that controls mode change”,

You can say activate instead of turn on.


Hmmm… That didn’t work for me. Just “switch on” or “turn on.”

For switch names, I just name the switches whatever words I want to say or put them in a group named whatever words I want to say.

So I would probably just say “Alexa, turn on Away.” Or whatever The mode name was. That is I would name the virtual switch the same name as the mode.

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Just tested it again. Start, Activate, and Turn on all work for me. Deactivate does not.

This is the KEY thing to do to make Echo awesome. Forget the actual names, use names here for activities, rooms, etc. Make several names for the same set of lights if people call em different things. Go crazy. Well, within reason. At any rate, nice, long single words for groups work best. Making sure that only one word/phrase is likely to match is very helpful for the matching algorithm too.

Great writeup!

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Great FAQ!
I have 2 questions:

  1. Just so I understand, you can use SmartThings as the middle man between the Echo and IFTTT because the Echo cannot talk directly to the echo, right?
  2. Do we know if there is a device limit in the Echo. Either connected devices or groups?

I just about have all the info I need to get started. I have a TON of ideas!

Thanks so much!

If I understand your question, echo does have its own IFTTT channel but it’s just for things like the shopping list and the to do list. So it doesn’t really help and if you do use it for home automation control then you can’t use the shopping list as a shopping list.

So yes the chain is:

Spoken command

Echo recognizes switch command

SmartThings flips virtual switch because echo tells it to

IFTTT triggers next event because smartthings switch changed state

Event occurs

So, for example, I now have an event to turn off the power to my TV and other associated entertainment center devices. This is a harmony activity.

So this chain is:

I tell echo “Alexa, turn on the TV”

Echo recognizes that as a command to turn on a smartthings-controlled switch named TV

SmartThings turns on the virtual switch called TV because echo told it to

IFTTT is subscribed to the events of that switch through a recipe that IF that SMARTTHINGS switch turns on, then tell Harmony to turn on the activity “Power.” So it recognizes that the virtual switch was turned on, and tells harmony to turn on the “power” activity.

Harmony turns on the TV. :sunglasses:

I know that seems like a lot of steps, but it all happens in literally a second or two, and it works great. I really like it.

I I have posted the exact details of my Alexa/SmartThings/Harmony setup in Projects:

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@JDRoberts thanks for this got set up in about 2 mins, while I’m down at the shore for the weekend! Off topic question though, what is “echo nightstand”

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In my device list? Nightstand is just the name we’ve assigned to one of the table lamps in the bedroom.

Ahh. Just wasn’t sure if it an app or something because it was under convenience and it is called “echo nightstand”

Perfect and I completely understand now :smile:

Do you know if there is a device limit in the Echo. Either connected devices or groups?

Thanks for all your help!

I just like to know all of this stuff before I dive in deep :smile:

Oh, that one! That’s a copy of “the big switch” smartapp with the name changed so I know what it is.

Before the official integration was available, I was using the big switch smart app to have a Z wave switch follow a Phillips bulb. I could turn the Phillips bulb (which is on the nightstand) on using echo, and then the overhead light which is on a zwave switch is supposed to do the same thing as the nightstand. Sometimes it worked great, sometimes it didn’t work at all, sometimes there would be a 10 minute lag.

But now I don’t need to use that because the zwave switch can be controlled by Echo directly with the new SmartThings integration. :sunglasses: :bulb: :bulb:

Ahh yes I too was happy to uninstall some of my smartapps and endpoint that were used for the workaround. And it reminds me that I really have to thank @zpriddy and @Ron for some serious hard work they put into getting a solution for intergration ST and Echo up until today. Thank you guys!!


Don’t know if there’s a limit on the total number of devices that echo can handle. If anyone else does know, please post.

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I just emailed them and will post back the answer.

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I am happy that they do have integration finally but I am going to keep adding to mine and building out new features :slight_smile:



This is what I got back from Amazon:

This is Melissa with Amazon Echo. Thanks for contacting us today.

At this time, I am not aware of any limitations on the number of
"Connected Home" devices (HUE,Wink,SmartThings devices) you can have on
the Echo. I am also not aware of any limit to the number of "Connected
Home" groups that you can have.

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how does one get echo to play music (not sure what sources would be supported) to a Sonos speaker?

it discovered my sonos as a device, i was just looking to see what can be done with it now that it’s discovered. was hoping to be able to use the echo as voice control for the sonos system…

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I just setup @DarcRanger’s thermostat control via dimmer switches : Thermostat SmartApps that uses Virtual Switches to control Mode/Fan/SetPoints
And it works great!
“Alexa, set the thermostat to 75” feels natural and works great!
Now we just need a way to check the status of sensors like “what is the current temperature in the living room” or “is the dinning room window closed”. Although I think we would need an ASK Skill for this since the native integration will probably only do On/Off/Dim, unless Amazon opened up some more options.
I know @zpriddy had that on his To-do list for his skill :smile:
So glad I bought the Echo!



@JDRoberts, something I found out last night was the Echo does not like using “everything” as a group name. I created a group called Everything and put all my lights (that I wanted turned off) and my TV in so I could say “Alexa, turn off everything” before I went to bed…it just sounded natural to me. When I run that the echo says “sorry which device do you mean” so I say “everything” again and it works. Double checking what the Echo heard, it did hear me correctly so I would advise everyone not to use that as a group or even device name.
Just wanted to post it in case it helps someone else out :smile: