Recommendations for Smart Speakers?

Hi, I’m still relatively new to SmartThings (I’ve had my Aeotec V3 hub for just over a month now), and I’m interested in integrating a smart speaker into my system. The main thing I want to do is to be able to control it through the SmartThings app and use it in routines, e.g., making it read an alarm out loud when a trigger is fulfilled. I basically want a device that resembles the functionality of the Apple Homepod in Apple’s Homekit ecosystem or that of an Echo Dot in Amazon’s world.

I’m aware that Samsung was on the brink of launching its own smart speaker a few years ago (Galaxy Home Mini), but they scrapped that just before launch, so only a few prototypes were ever manufactured. In the SmartThings app, there’s a category for smart speakers as well as speakers, but the devices listed there are a bit weird; for example, it looks like there’s only one smart speaker supported, called “new Harman Kardon Certi” with no picture, and I haven’t yet deciphered what that is supposed to refer to. Googling the name leads to nothing.

Therefore, I’m a bit confused about whether smart speakers actually work in SmartThings and, if so, how you guys have integrated them. Though I’m not too fond of Amazon’s Alexa, is there a possibility of integrating an Echo Dot into SmartThings, either through an edge driver or Alexa switches and would you recommend that? (I’m in Europe btw)

You can use any Amazon echo device or I believe any Google home device, but the integration will be only one way. That is, you can tell the smart speaker to have a SmartThings-controlled device do something and that will probably happen.

But the only way to have smartthings automation control the smart speaker, such as change the volume, is fairly clunky: you have to turn on a virtual switch in SmartThings and have that virtual switch coming on trigger a native routine on the smart speaker platform. This can be pretty limiting. For example, you don’t get any dial type control for volume, you have to treat it more like a scene where you predefined the single level you want to set the speaker to. And while this method does work with echo devices, I’m not sure whether it works with Google nest devices or not :thinking:

Using Voice commands on either Alexa or Google Home to control smartthings – connected devices is a very popular use case, and which one you choose is up to you. They both work well.

If you have a Samsung galaxy phone, the voice commands through Samsung‘s own Bixby assistant work pretty well, and have some additional features not available for the other voice assistants, But while at one point they did make a standalone speaker device for Bixby that was briefly released in South Korea, it’s no longer available.

You can set up some Siri shortcuts that you can activate from the SmartThings side, but it’s more complicated than any of the others and isn’t a great integration. Of course, if your devices are Matter-compatible, you can use those specific Devices with both SmartThings and Apple home, so then you have very good Siri control of those.

So, as you can see, there are some options. If you’re primarily interested in speaking to a smart speaker in order to have voice control of your smartthings – connected devices, Alexa and Google home both work well, and which you choose is up to you.

But if you want a SmartThings automation to be able to control the settings on the smart speaker itself, there aren’t a lot of built-in features for that for any model. There are some things you can do, particularly for Alexa, but it’s not a great integration.

I hope that helped.

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If what you want is to be able to speak to the echo Dot and have voice control over SmartThings – connected devices, that’s easy. It’s part of the official smartthings features, and the linking is done at the account level, so it would work with all of the echo devices on that Amazon account. This is a very popular use case.

However, it’s only an account level integration. The echo dot would never show up in your Devices list in the SmartThings app and you couldn’t use the SmartThings app to control volume level or what music it was playing or anything like that. There are some possible workarounds, as I mentioned, but they’re pretty clunky, and only a partial integration.

Also, those account level integrations are, at the time of this writing, always cloud to cloud. There is no local integration or integration via edge driver available.

So it depends on exactly what you wanted to do. For voice control of your SmartThings connected devices, either an echo or a Google nest smart speaker will work very well and set up is easy. But that integration doesn’t give you device level control over the smart speaker itself. :man_shrugging:t2:

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You can specifically achieve this with Sonos speakers. You can play any message or notifications. There is an edge driver for Sonos speakers, so integration is native. You can play/control music, change volume and etc via Smartthings Routines.

However, just know that Sonos is NOT Alexa/Google Assistant/Home Pod level “smart”. As in, you can’t control your smart home with voice commands.

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There is also support for Bose, Harmon Luxury, and JBL Smart speakers and entertainment systems. Samsung Audio devices such as soundbars are also supported.

As you point out for the Sonos speakers, they can’t be used as a voice assistant in the same way you would an Echo Dot or Google Home device.

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Here’s the FAQ for the workaround I mentioned, where you use a SmartThings automation to start an Alexa routine (not a smartthings routine: Alexa routines are created in the Alexa app).

The method works, and is very popular in the community, but it’s not obvious, and it is more work to set up than a better integrated feature would be.

FAQ: Can I trigger an Echo Action without Speaking to It?

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First of all, thank you to all three of you; all of this info was extremely useful!

I’ve already had to do that to get my Dyson air purifier working with SmartThings and have, therefore, already experienced the nuisance of this method. That’s why I gave up on it after setting up switches that allow me to turn the fan on and off. Everything else got way too complicated for me, so I can’t see myself doing that with the speaker as well :slight_smile:

I do, and I’ve been using Bixby as my primary smart home voice assistant on my phone, watch, and laptop, which has worked relatively well, though I was hoping to expand on that so that others (e.g., guests) can also control stuff without having to talk to a phone.

Kinda annoying that there’s not a single device that combines these features. I’m also surprised that Samsung hasn’t launched their own smart speaker yet (apart from that Galaxy Home prototype). I feel like a product like that would fit into the SmartThings ecosystem perfectly :frowning:

I had already read about the Sonos speakers briefly, but this clarified a lot since I wondered whether Sonos could also handle voice commands.

Nice, this is good news! Since I am thinking of purchasing a new TV this year anyway (and a soundbar like the new Music Frame alongside it), so I guess that will be my go-to for now. For the voice commands, I’ll just stick to my current setup using Bixby until there’s a SmartThings-compatible smart speaker that gets the entire job done. (I also have an older Bose entertainment system, which is unfortunately not supported, although it looks almost identical to the one listed in the supported devices.)

Again, thanks to all of you, this was incredibly helpful and much more informative than I had expected! :slight_smile:

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The newer Sonos speakers do integrate directly with Alexa, not sure to what degree though so may be worth digging around in Sonos support a bit…

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Samsung acquired Harman in 2016, so it’s likely that any SmartThings smart speaker will come out under that brand since they have the audio expertise.

I suspect that the “CERTI” You saw in the app is a placeholder for a future “certified” smart speaker. But that’s just a guess, I don’t have any inside information.

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Good point that I forgot about. I have the Sonos Move and I use it both as a smart speaker and an Alexa voice assistant (supports Google as well). While convenient and you can use it to play sounds from ST Routines, there is still no direct Alexa integration with ST so it’s really no different than owning a separate Echo device for the purposes of Home Automation control.

Here is an example of using the Move in STHM for voice response to an intrusion detection.




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I believe Sonos speakers have different levels of Alexa integration, Roam, I think, can do more than the Move for example…

However I don’t use my speakers with Alexa (hate voice assistants for privacy reasons) so will stop commenting now :crazy_face::joy:

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Ahh, that could make sense! Would at least also explain why I can’t find anything about the speaker literally anywhere else outside of the SmartThings app

Thank you! The same could then also be achieved with a Samsung soundbar, I presume?

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I initially went through the tedious process of creating a different virtual switch for each voice announcement I wanted. Then Taustin introduced the Alexa Multi-trigger driver, and it was a game-changer for me. It’s one device that offers 19 different virtual contact sensors to trigger Alexa routines. I tried using 2 Ikea Sonoff speakers for my announcements, but they didn’t work reliably and were expensive, so I returned them. Echo devices, on the other hand, are cheap, sometimes priced as low as $25 when they’re on sale. This setup works perfectly, allowing me to announce anything I want from SmartThings, and it’s very affordable. If you want more announcements, you can simply add another multi-trigger device and get 19 additional announcements. It’s a flexible and scalable solution that allows you to expand as needed. No, it’s not as easy as sending the announcement directly from the ST routine, but I don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on speakers either.

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Oh wow, I hadn’t come across that particular driver yet. The last time I tried this (for my Dyson), I ended up with a dozen virtual Alexa switches from the vEdge driver, which made everything look like a mess, so I gave up and threw them all out again :confused:

I just installed it and will try it out soon, but it looks very promising. Thanks for sharing it!

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I just created a separate room called Virtual devices and stashed all the devices in that room to keep it neat and organized. Keep in mind that these particular virtual devices can only be changed by ST routines, not from Alexa. There is also an auto-revert function that turns them back off at a specified time period. Your routine would open the sensor, Alexa sees it and makes the announcement, and then the auto-revert closes the sensor after the time you specify, ready again for the next announcement.

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If you try to install it you discover it is a Harman Kardon Virtuo.

Harman Kardon Virtuo - CSA-IOT

[Exclusive] “Samsung AI” Simm comes out as Harman speaker…Refrigerators, TVs, and other companies can also be connected. - MK

Samsung to unveil novel AI speaker under Harman brand - 매일경제 영문뉴스 펄스(Pulse) (pulsenews.co.kr)

Virtuo is the smart speaker from harman/kardon that simultaneously talks to Bixby and Alexa | DDay.it

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Looks cool, Bixby built in.

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Ah, you’re right! I hadn’t thought of running the setup process to expose what it actually stands for, but now that also popped up for me. Thanks for the hint! I also read through the articles you’ve attached, and this is basically exactly what I’m looking for: a smart speaker with a voice assistant that is fully (and, more importantly, directly) compatible with SmartThings. I’ll be on the lookout for when it launches, I hope it’ll also make its way to Europe eventually and won’t stay limited to certain markets.

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Virtuo is the smart speaker from harman/kardon that simultaneously talks to Bixby and Alexa | DDay.it suggests it works with Alexa as well as Bigsby and that it is a SmartThings hub.

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Looks like its Matter certified as well. That’s probably how it works with Alexa and Bixby at the same time.

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