Integrating ST sensors/alarm security system with ALexa

I have have been trying to get a home security implementation + Alexa working for almost 8 months now. ST customer service has been very helpful, but its been awhile and I am looking at the email thread and I can’t figure out what my next step should be now.
I have the ST hub, 3 sensors (which are installed on 3 doors) and an zwave alarm. These components are configured such that if the system is Armed on my iphone, if any of the sensors is tripped the alarm will go off, if I set to disarm in iphone, then no alarm. This part works great, the last step is to integrate Alexa so that I can arm/disarm the system by talking to Alexa.
I would really appreciate if someone here could lay out the steps to do so… the discussion with ST support became a little convoluted with changes to the system, and different support people picking up the thread… not that I am complaining they are seem really eager to help.

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First you need to go Alexa app and connect to your Smartthings account (check SmartHome option in Alexa app).
There is also a discover devices option.

Then all devices can be switched on or off just calling “Alexa turn on Light X”.
You can also turn on or off routines…
I believe you need to set a routine to switch your alarm on or off.

You can’t directly arm and disarm through Alexa due to security reasons. You would have to create a virtual switch and then use CoRE or a routine to take that switch on/off to arm/disarm SHM. I would highly advise not having Alexa disarm

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Hey Lurky,

Not to be a ‘lurker’ but there are a couple ways to do this…First, the native Alexa integration doesn’t do. There are a few ways to solve this as I had to go through the same thing when I first got my system.

First, if you want the easiest solution, look for Alexa Helper, and app I wrote a few years ago. What it will allow you to do is set up a virtual switch…When you tell the virtual switch to go on, it will turn on the security. When the switch goes off, you can have it turn off security.

A more complex solution is Ask Alexa…If you think of Alexa Helper as a Ford, this is the Mercedes of the Alexa control skills. But just like a Mercedes, the “cost” is a complex installation process and features it sounds like you may not be able to fully realize without further investments in switches and such. So, I would start off with Alexa Helper. I am the author and have written an extensive installation manual here:

Good luck and I am here to help if you need me.

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Micheal, thanks… I have installed Alexa helper, parent and Scenario per the wiki.
But im not sure what to do next… I think I need a virtual switch the connects to my Sensor/Alarm configuration in the Smart things app.
When I open the Smart Things app, I see Smart Home monitor, which has buttons for Armed and Disarmed, this is what I want to control via ALexa, are the instructions I need on the wiki page? Thanks!


Yes…typically you assign some virtual switches and tie them to the ‘real’ objects and the app senses when the virtual switch change and then change the ‘real’ device.

from your original post:

So, you will connect your ‘virtual switch’ to Alexa and tie that to your Smart Home Monitor state (If I understand your goal). You should then be able arm/disarm with Alexa.

Let me know if I missed the point…

Thanks, but does your wiki have the steps to create (then connect) the virtual switch?

Yes…sorry I didn’t include that as well:

Hi Michael… this process is hellacious. Hopefully it will be better once I have the helper installed.
Given what I am trying to accomplish I think I need the Alexa switch (not the momentary switch).
I am following your instructions… it says to install the switch code under My Device Types. I don’t see this header inside smart things site:
It looks like My Device Types as changed to My Device handlers, should I install the code there and continue?

Yes…My Devices is the correct one. I will find that in my instructions and correct it. Be sure to use the Alexa Helper Thread instead of this one so I can ensure I see your message…doesn’t hurt to tag me as well.

Hi Michael
I followed the instructions as far as copy/pasting/publishing the code on the graph.api site and now i am looking for the ALexa helper app in the Smartt things app… the instructions say to find it here:
Market Place>>>SmartApps>>>+MyApps.
But when I search for this directory, I don’t see +MyApps under the SmartApps tab.
There is a +More category, but the helper isnt under there. Does this suggest that I didnt install it properly, or could the directory structure have changed? Thanks

The +Myapps is in your App, bottom right corner. Be sure you actually published the app in you IDE.

hi, yes that where I looked, + My Apps is missing from mine. when you say “published the app in you IDE” are you referring to the step where I clicked Publish after I pasted code into the graph.api.smartthings site (three times i think). Or is that a different step?

The code needs to be saved and published in your IDE(the web site you mentioned) then the app shows up in the marketplace in the mobile app on the bottom right corner. Can you share a screenshot of your app?

Are you referring to the virtual device or the actual app? We may have our terminologies mixed up.

Michael, see attached image

That is totally different than my interface…you have the small ‘hamburger’ in the bottom right. Bottom line, you need to find the ‘MyApp’ section to add this app to your main interface. Is the menu at the bottom right have anything?

Wouldn’t this make it easy for an intruder to disarm the alarm?

Are you choosing your location in the IDE before you go to your device handlers section? When I first started installing my own device handlers and smart apps, I was installing them at the root of my account and not under the location associated with my hub. Once I started doing this under my hub location, things worked as expected.

I basically re-ented the code again and then the '+ My Apps ’ appeared.
I open the helper and click create a new Alexa scenario… Now, from the list of scenario types, do I want to pick ‘Speaker control’ ?

I read the thread above, but can you be a bit more clear on what you are attempting to accomplish…Speaker Control is really for playing/pausing, etc of the speaker…Are you looking for a cause/effect thing to happen (i.e. sensor opens, speaker talks)?

Let me know.