Naming Convention Question (2020)

I’m considering renaming all my devices (Hue, Lutron, Alexa, Z-Wave, Zigbee…~80 total) to reduce the seemingly-increasing voice command issues on the front end and create some better order on the back end.

I’m getting ready to install Serena shades and outdoor Hue lights (~20 new things), implementing ActionTiles and starting to work with WebCoRe (and automation more broadly), so now seems like a good time to pause and implement a consistent naming system.

I figure if I’m about to ask my wife and kids to get used to new devices/routines/commands/interfaces, I might as well do it in one fell swoop, disconnect/rename/reconnect/regroup, work out any kinks, and make future changes easier.

I know naming when it comes to Alexa can be a real mess, and it’s clear that the use case will determine the best approach. I’m aware that Alexa’s device groups can address most of the naming conflicts (but only if device names and group names aren’t similar…it’s not clear to me whether multi-room music groups add to this issue).

My specific question: I’m wondering if it makes sense to take a coded-naming approach – like CBLRSW (color bulb-living room-southwest) or LutronWallDimmer07 – starting at the bottom (Hue bridge for instance), carry that naming through ST/WebCoRe and then just name things using device groups (or natural names when required for single devices) in Alexa and give them understandable names (again for devices or groups) in ActionTiles?

Do you sense there’s any reason not to take this approach if I’m not interfacing with ST/Lutron/Hue…just Alexa and ActionTiles? Is there other detail that’s helpful here? Am I missing a trick?

Perhaps this is just a fools errand without real benefit?

I’m open to suggestions/cautions/ridicule.

  1. point at a device and ask the wife what she calls it.
  2. name it that.
  3. bask in the fact that yoir family does not want you dead.

Ok I’m joking… A little. But this has saved MANY arguments in my home. Fortunately my wife generally sticks to (roomname) (devicename)

No, I wasnt joking about 1&2


If my wife called any one device the same name on two different days, I’d be thrilled. I imagine I’ll be steadily chasing her evolving terminology using Alexa device groups. The issue has more to do with the fact that I have Echos, Ecobees, dimmer and shades all in the same room. So naming a device by it’s room starts to confuse Alexa (which starts to anger my wife). Putting at risk your point number three.

Go ahead and rename the two devices to those names and attempt to turn them on with Alexa and see what happens :slight_smile:

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I do plan to change the device names in Alexa to the names she uses.

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Not really. Lights - tie them to the room group in Alexa associated with the Echo in that room, and therefore they’re ‘lights’ no matter what they’re named. I believe with Ecobee’s (don’t have one someone help me) the same goes for temperature.

Shades those get harder as they’re not natively supported by Alexa yet in groups so I handled that by a complex set of WebCoRE pistons that get the last Alexa device that I spoke to and use that. It mostly works.

I STILL stand firm on getting your S.O. to name them - any other way and it gets very bad eventually.

Yes, you will be chasing her terminology - nature of the beast and to @jkp’s point - it’s easier to name them in ST and have Alexa propagate the names forward because:

  1. easier to troubleshoot
  2. when you have multiple Amazon accounts in a household linked to the same Alexa device, each with thier own connection into your ST tenant, you won’t want to be logging in to her phone every 5 minutes to change the names (that was fun learning that one… Also applies to grocery lists, and who’s Spotify account you’re using at the moment…)
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There is a thread from 2018 that you may want to read through if you haven’t already. Pay attention to the posts from @JDRoberts

How do you organize your devices? Naming conventions? (2018)


I did EXACTLY that. It probably saved my marriage…

My wife loves what we can do with ST and Alexa, to such an extent that we don’t use our Aeon minimotes anymore.

Seriously though, I did ask family members what to name devices. That really did help my family accept ST more than I expected. I did the same for my parents.


Yep, I also did this with my wife. The problem is her forgetting what she called it originally and then screaming “no, lady!” to Alexa. At least it’s comical!


Yeah. I’ve read that one a few times. His comments about use case dictating approach and using groups to accommodate variance in the verbal request are definitely top of mind for me.

I’ve spent the last few weeks combing the forum and reddit and other sites for ideas and approaches. Probably (almost certainly) overthinking this. But figure I’d rather spend the time getting it right now than redoing it in the future.

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Lol, you should hear my parents with their thick Greek accents talking to Alexa. It’s entertainment value at its best.