I’ve used SmartThings and Alexa for a year to set up some basic home automation of lights in my family room, kitchen, living room and front walk landscape lights. I use Alexa routines to implement voice command; morning – turns on kitchen and family room to a moderate brightness, cooking – turns the kitchen light to bright, evening – dims the kitchen and family room lights. I’ve implanted timers for the living room lights and walkway lights. I also have a SmartThings automation to turn on the lights when my phone (in my pocket) pulls in the driveway.
My installation consists of Leviton WiFi switches and dimmers, and some Tuya (Zigbee) plugs. I have a SmartThings hub and two Alexa Dots. What I found very confusing when setting this up was the overlapping functionality; Both Leviton and SmartThings have scenes and room, Timers can be implemented in Leviton, SmartThings, Tuya, and Alexa. Dimming likewise can be done in Leviton, SmartThings, Tuya, and Alexa. Automations can only be done in SmartThings. Voice commands can only be done in Alexa.
So across these three layers of software, where should functionality be implemented? My choices were these:
Leviton and Tuya. Nothing other than setting up the device and giving it a name.
SmartThings. I’ve defined many scenes; groupings of devices, on/off, and dimmer settings. It is possible to implement timers in SmartThings based on sunrise, sunset, etc, I’ve chosen not to as the same functionality is available in Alexa. I’ve implanted my welcome home lights in SmartThings as an Automation because Alexa has no equivalent functionality. It is possible to define rooms in SmartThings but the definition is more useful in Alexa
Alexa. I’ve defined all my voice commands and timer using Routines. I’ve also define rooms (groupings of devices) in Alexa. This allows me to say, “Alexa, turn off kitchen.” It is possible to group devices and setting within Routines but I found it simpler to define the groupings as scenes in SmartThings and then invoke them by name within the Alexa routine.
This organizational scheme allows me to add/change anything easily, keeps my setup simple, prevents having functionality splattered across three different software layers.