Feature Request - groups of things and using them in modes

I’m looking ahead to when I might have a lot more zwave switches in the house. Currently, I have them grouped in room groups in the Things view. However, as we know, the groups are not controllable as a whole. This makes it more difficult when setting up something like the Hello Goodnight action.

So, the request is to have the ability to create “actionable groups of the same device type” that can be called in a hello mode. For example, in he Goodnight action, I would want to turn off lights in all the downstairs rooms and the upstairs hallway. If I were to swap out all my switches downstairs for zwaves, that would be a lot to choose in the action. Being able to say “all devices in the kitchen, dining room, living room, etc groups” need to turn off would be simpler and also more logical from a UI point of view. Giving the ability to control individual items and groups would give a use more options, including a shortcut (groups) to more quickly setup the task.

Now, I know I could do this by creating virtual switches. But creating a virtual switch is not an “elegant process” at the moment. I think that most people (or maybe it’s just me) thought that if I grouped them together on the Things page I could press the button to turn them all on or off.

Does anyone thing this makes sense or am I just being crazy here? (And feel free to say crazy, I’m not insulted very easily!)


Yes, it does make sense. If fact, this is also related to our “scene” discussion in another thread. Had ST implemented scenes properly, this wouldn’t be an issue. You’d simply define a scene, say “Kitchen Lights Off”. If implemented properly, a scene becomes an “object” that can be added to another scene. So, for example, your “Good Night” scene could activate “Kitchen Light Off”, “Living Room Light Off” and what not.

I concur this is a consideration that ST should address to allow an easier user experience and greater flexibility in defining actions across multiple devices without having to touch each one to have said actions or triggers occur.

So, devices… As I now understand their role is to be essentially a “Behind the scenes” 1 to 1 map to a physical device or Thing.

Then comes in SmartApps. SmartApps should discover the Thing(s) if they aren’t already discoverable via built in methods, create the Thing device and then act as the interface between the events and the device.

I’ve been struggling with this for the last two weeks and was going about it all wrong…

I was installing devices and controlling the device via the device. To me, this made sense, but as stated above, not exactly how ST was meant to be.

Instead, I really needed to simplify the device code and focus on the smartApp to find, install and manage the devices.

So in your case, setting up a SmartApp to create a group of switches that then creates a virtual switch “device” that controls that group back in the SmartApp would be the way to go.

Then you can control that virtual device “scene” or whatever via anything and the SmartApp is the controller for that, deciding which devices to control.

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The other thread is exactly what made me post this! :slight_smile:

A well designed Smart Home system should do both things equally well: provide simple and intuitive device control as well as flexible and powerful automation engine (scenes + rules).

ST provides only rudimentary device control (on/off) from the device grid. Having to open device settings to change dim level or set thermostat temperature is absolutely inadequate, because they are not settings, they are controls. Unfortunately, someone at ST does not get the difference. I heard someone saying that ST does not want to be a “glorified remote control”. Well, it’s a pity, because both control and automation are equally important. It would be more prudent to let the users decide what’s more important to them.


The on/off of a virtual switch doesn’t give me that control that I was hoping for. There is this unofficial Virtual Dimmer app by @wackware which might be a hack for this, but this really needs to become one of ST’s core competencies

For me, a user of hue lights and zwave dimmers, I want to dim and change the color of a group of lights, the current ST UI forces me to open the things interface, hit the gear icon in the corner of the thing, then adjust it’s color or brightness.

With 4 hue bulbs and one z-wave incandescent dimmer in my living room, the current UI takes about 20 taps to change them all. Making groups of things as it is now only makes this problem worse, Going back from a “thing settings” page doesn’t get you to the group that the thing was in, it dumps you back to the dashboard. This turns 20 taps into 25. Big fail.

Hue Pro does this group control well, so I use it instead of ST to accomplish this, but it can’t control the Zwave, and my wife can’t use it from her iPhone, so I’m not satisfied.

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Definitely love the idea. We’ve wanted to provide an option for “Rooms” but it hasn’t come to fruition yet.

In the mean time I’ve been using Lights and Switches to group my lights. Add an area, select multiple switches, then you have a single button on the Dashboard that controls that group. For example, I have 4 lights in one group called Living Room so that I have quick access to all the switches from one area. I can then click the gear at the top of Lights and Switches to automate that group.

Have you tried the smartapp Hue Mood Lighting? I use it to quickly change the color of my lights. I had to create several to get all the colors schemes I wanted. I also have ones for just my living room, bedroom and dining room. It may not do everything you want but it’s a temp solution. Hope this helps.

It would be nice to actuate these groups from either SmartApps and Hello Home Actions.


Is there a way to reference/call/use Smartapps in hello home? I would like to use some of my Hue mood lighting smartapps with a Hello Home phrase.

Please cross reference to new discussion which itself has relevant references…

  1. Add one Virtual Momentary (or Switch) Device for each SmartApp.
  2. Edit the SmartApp to subscribe to the VMD pushed() Command and kick off its main actions.
  3. Have your Hello Home push or turn on the VMD.

Sadly, we have asked but not been granted any other way to make SmartApps chain or be called as sub-routines, AFAIK.

But: Any SmartApp can execute any Hello Home Action (referred to as a “phrase”).

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