Official Support for Scene Controllers

Now that ST supports the new Scene capabilities (which work great btw) any chance we’ll see official support for Scene Controllers such as the Leviton Vizia RF+ 4-Button Remote Scene Controller?

Come on ST @slagle let’s have an early Xmas present :slight_smile:

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It’s the same word, but not the same meaning. Scene controllers in the Z wave context are using a specific set of Z wave commands. They are an old technology from the third generation of Z wave (we are now at the fifth) and their purpose was to allow a local controller, usually in a single room, to issue simple on/off/ dim commands to a small number of Z wave devices that were all within 1 hop of that controller. Commands went directly from that local controller to the individual Z wave devices, they did not get communicated back to the hub.

All of this was useful at the time, but it doesn’t really fit the SmartThings architecture, which includes devices from multiple protocols and which has an app which expects to have current status at all times. That just doesn’t work if the local scene controller isn’t telling the hub what it’s doing.

Plus, relying on those Z wave command set would mean you couldn’t press a button on the scene controller and have it turn on a zigbee Switch or Wi-Fi pocket socket. And that would probably be both confusing and frustrating for most smart things customers who don’t know anything much about the different protocols being used.

Instead, from the beginning smartthings has always relied on an architecture where the “button controller” would send a message to the hub and then the hub would send the message to the end device, regardless of the protocol being used. this can be done either with Association, as works with the minimote, or with a newest version group of zwave commands called “central scene commands,” which send A scene number to the hub which then sends out the appropriate commands to the end devices. For example, this is how double tap and triple tap work on the Homeseer switches.

This has a couple of advantages. First of all, you can include devices which are all the way on the other side of the house in a button command if you want. And second, you can include any device which SmartThings controls, without having to pay attention to the individual protocols.

So to be honest, it’s kind of like asking why the newest smart TV doesn’t have a built-in VCR tape player. It’s just not really the way things are done now.

There are a number of other multiple button devices that you can use, or, as mentioned, the ones that recognize different hat patterns, or even mount a small tablet as a controller.

Just as one example, the remotec 90 is a current generation multibutton device which works very well with SmartThings, and you can set the individual buttons to turn on devices, including virtual devices, change the mode, change SHM armed status, pretty much anything SmartThings can do with pretty much any device smartthings can control. :sunglasses:


That would just never be true of the Leviton VRCZ4 third generation device because of limitations of the older architecture. Even if it was fully supported by SmartThings, it would always be limited to control of other Z wave devices within one hop of it, and that would be it. And it wouldn’t update the hub with changes in status when its buttons were pushed, so status in the app would continually be out of sync.

So I have no idea what the official position is on the third generation scene controllers, but it won’t be surprising if SmartThings doesn’t add support for them.


I recently received a note from someone who is confused by this post and thought I was saying that it didn’t make sense for SmartThings to support central scene controllers like the Homeseer switches.
Z wave has two completely different kinds of scenes. The original, local scenes, where the scene controller sends a command directly to the end device without telling the primary controller (the hub) about it.
And the newer “central scenes” where the scene controller sends a command to the hub with the central scene number, and then the hub does stuff with it.
Z wave introduced central scenes primarily because of the increasing use of mobile apps since if the hub Doesn’t know about the instruction, the mobile app will get out of date. But they are also very useful for multiprotocol platforms like SmartThings.
So central scene controllers make perfect sense for SmartThings and other multiprotocol platforms precisely because the hub is told about every command.
But the original local scene controllers which can work only with devices of their own protocol within one hop and which don’t tell the hub what they are doing, make much less sense.
I hope that clears up the confusion.


Stella response at usual @JDRoberts.

Looking for official support for attractive scene/button controllers that would also get wife approval. Whether it’s old or new technology, the Leviton scene controller has a simple clean style that would not look out of place in a single gang switch.

Let’s have something from ST that supports controlling the new scenes, call it whatever they want.

I have Tablets on the wall in key locations; these would work better if ST approved the ImperiHome app thats been with them now for months. I’d even smile if they updated the Android App Widgets feature to support Scenes.

Still hoping ST are listening.


Absolutely, more multibutton wall controllers would be awesome. :sunglasses:

There is this thing, but to me it’s kind of retro looking. It works well with SmartThings, though.


Personally, I prefer the look of the MCO home switches which should work with SmartThings, but multi endpoint Support continues to be a little flaky. That’s a current generation feature where I would really like to see smartthings upgrade the platform support. :sunglasses:


And tragically, there’s the case of the Aeotec wallmote, which just came out and people are reporting keeps losing connection and has terrible battery life. Maybe they’ll improve that next year, we can always hope.

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JD, out of curiosity do you have a preference of Zwave over Zigbee? I have a mixture of both, but I often wonder if I could switch to 100% Zwave in order to take full advantage of associations and everything you just mentioned above, in order to have a more robust and speedy system.

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This is a great question, and one that comes up a lot. I just answered a couple of weeks ago, but I’m tired and I don’t remember exactly which thread it was in. I think it was one of the ones about the echo plus.

The shortest answer is that I personally select devices based on what’s best for that specific use case, which sometimes Z wave, sometimes is zigbee, sometimes is something else. It’s actually the main reason I chose SmartThings in the first place, because it supported multiple protocols.

I really like zigbee sensors and I really like the Hue bridge, so if I was forced to make a choice I would pick zigbee. But the Wi-Fi interference issues are always tricky, and Z wave does have an advantage there.


ActionTiles is now already compatible with Scene Activation by using a Routine as intermediary. Dashboards can have a Routines List Tile or selected individual Routine Tiles.

It’s definitely not as “official” as we’d like. Hoping SmartThings gives us direct access to Scenes…


I’ve waited years for something like the Wink Realy (discontinued?) or the Brilliant Control (vaporware?, and have had to settle for the Enerwave in the meantime. I know I could mount a tablet, but I want something plug and play, and even better something with a built in dimmer for the circuit.

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Brilliant is well funded and beta units delivered, so not vaporware, thankfully.

But they are quite expensive; perhaps because they do “too much”. And no proof they interface well with SmartThings.

Briteswitch is still definitely vaporware.

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The other risk with something like Brilliant and the high cost, is that they don’t reach critical mass and go belly up in a few years.


My feelings exactly.

Though SmartThings got acquired by Samsung before that happened.

I’m sure Brilliant’s investors are already looking for an exit.

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