Scenes Beta!


I like the idea of scenes. I have recently used the Dim and Dimmer SmartApp written by a community member and I’ve also tried out the Scenes from ST app (public, not beta).

One thing I wish could be improved upon is that Scenes interferes with sensor-controlled lights. For example, in the living room I have a motion sensor that turns on lights. With Scenes from ST, a scene will execute but then the motion sensor will execute again, overwriting the scene.

With Dim and Dimmer, I actually created a separate mode called “Manual Lighting Control”. When I execute Dim and Dimmer, it puts the hub under that mode and prevents my motion sensor from changing the lights.

Hope you guys can consider this scenario.

(The Viking AKA "Holy Crap You're a Giant!") #162

Use the routine to both set the mode and trigger the scene…


That’s true. I have to say I didn’t notice that the new app allows routines to trigger the scene. So I guess feature wise the two are equal.

( co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #164

They are “partners” now. Scenes are a good and more powerful way to organize the “lighting” settings of Routines. They can be edited and activated distinctly from the Routine and SmartThings can improve Scenes without breaking the Routines that call them.

Perhaps Scenes should have been a feature before Routines… but SmartThings Routines … called “Hello Home Phrases”, were born a long time ago.

Frankly, Scenes are just “special Routines”, but they would be less exciting if they were called that. … but slightly more useful though.


That’s exactly how it’s done in the Hue Application. If you want to create a New Scene for a single light or lights in a group, you set the desired color of the device(s) and brightness and then click on Create New Scene using “current light settings”.

(J Bentz) #166

FYI. Scenes got pulled into GH this morning, so it looks like they can be triggered directly from GH, versus requiring a routine as well.

(Steve White) #167

Scenes could be superior in one way, execution time limits. SmartThings has said it uses a different execution model than Routines and other SmartApps. I wonder if the 20 second limit for Routines has been eclipsed by this new model.

Christmas was ugly last year. I had to create some spaghetti code to get all 36+ Christmas-related devices to switch reliably when commanded. Looking forward to seeing if Scenes fixes this issue.

( co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #168

Fun to speculate…

  1. You’ll notice that the lights in Scenes are not executed in parallel. They were “really slow” at one point in the Beta but improved quite a bit. Still… that implies it could add up to 20 seconds.

  2. Indeed, if the new API is being used, then the execution-processing engine for the Scene is not a SmartApp, and is thus free from the hard-coded 20 seconds limit. We don’t know if SmartThings has imposed safety limits on their own processing engine.

  3. The new API itself can still somehow get entangled with limits under particular circumstances (which I don’t think would occur for Scenes, since they are just an independent series of steps). I presume it will mostly be rate-limited (i.e., number of API calls per second, or per minute).

(Robin) #169

It uses their new rules engine… we’ll find out more in the future :wink:

( co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #170

SmartThings has a “rules engine”? :open_mouth:

(Brian) #171

This is what I’m excited for. I like scenes but keep my rules as local as possible, so my usage of them will be limited until they run locally. Will we get a heads up whenever things are running locally?

(Steve White) #172

After starting Christmas decorating today I went to create a scene consisting of a few SmartPugs. One of the Smart Plugs was missing from the pick in Scenes. It was there for the picklist in Routines but missing from Scenes.

Anyone encounter this? Going to open a Support case next.


So I’ve waited for all the hoopla to die down before playing with this functionality and sat down to see what this has to offer.

While I think this added functionality within SmartThings is a wonderful addition and long overdue, it only provides very basic functionality for turning on/off lights and setting to a single solid color.

All of my lights (indoor and outdoor) consist of Hue and LIFX colored bulbs. Now that the holidays are approaching us, I wanted to see what the Scenes in ST would allow / not allow me to do.

So, prior to playing, with the lights in the front yard (6 LIFX Mini bulbs), I set up a few different Themes (Santa, Holly, etc) along with different (Flicker, Animate Theme, etc.) within the LIFX native application that allow these lights to constantly change colors, and fade in and out with brightness (Caution: pressing and holding the strobe effect could cause a seizure).

Then there is Hue in which setting up Scenes is somewhat similar to what ST has implemented, it is so much easier to create / modify a scene within Hue. I also have a bunch of the 3rd party apps that bring these lights to life with different effects (Hue Thunderstorm, Hue Disco, etc…) similar to what I can do with the LIFX app natively.

Along with both apps allowing me to turn on/off lights based on Sunset to Sunrise and widgets from both apps on my device to allow me to set different Scenes and /or Themes w Effects with a single touch, using a set of Routines or webCoRE to turn these lights on/off is all there is to offer with my already previously defined Scenes created in the native apps.

I also like flickering candlelight for the non holiday time of year or just fading lights in and out with a smooth transition.

For me outside of setting up/using Routines / Smart Lighting / webCoRE to simply turn on / turn off lights based on different environmental variables (leaving the house, vacation, bedtime, motion, etc.) this basic functionality of Scenes in ST defeats the overall purpose of what the other apps already do natively and easier (setup) for my use case scenarios. I would want one place to be able to set everything up with the advanced capabilities or not use it at all as it just becomes one more thing to manage and maintain, making things more complex when something breaks.

I’m sure there are other bulbs where they might be restricted or have no native app to setup any level of timing, routines, themes, scenes or effects natively and having this new functionality might be worth taking advantage of.

I realize that most people using ST are probably setting up lights for basic on / off functionality and setting a basic color based on something and these Scenes are great to take advantage of. A Use case I do like is that if someone broke into my house, I could set a scene to change all the lights Red, but without setting up a bunch of other scenes to revert the lights back to their original setting (color, brightness, on/off) would be a pita.

This is not a knock on what ST has given to us as I said before, this is awesome that they are moving in a forward direction, but it has a long way to go and I’m hoping that they continue to build on this functionality and enhance the capabilities in the future. Hoping it’s not just a one and done feature introduced. :slight_smile:

(Mr. Smith) #174

Now that Scenes are released and I see the UI I now understand why they did them separately. As you suggest, AdamV, I had originally posted a concept that added a Scenes feature directly to Routines (Suggestion For Scenes within Routines). However, this would only allow Scenes to be triggered from Routines. With them separate, a Scene can be triggered in other ways.

Like Tgauchat suggested, I too would like to be able to capture the current state as a Scene. And the lighting board idea is such a good one. I’d especially like to see how that feature could work in ActionTiles…

(John C) #175

Let’s hope this is on the near-term roadmap. Agree: it would be an awesome (optional) way to capture a set of scene parameters…

(Steve White) #176

I would like to see device selection in Scenes based on capability (i.e. Switch, Light, etc). For those of us with very large systems grouping everything in a single list makes it hard to find specific devices without a lot of scrolling. What is more disturbing is that there is a limit of around 100 devices. This effectively makes Scenes are useless (to me) as many devices don’t even appear in the list and there’s no way for me to add them through any other means. I do not have this issue in Routines as devices are selected by capability.

In the meantime I’m unable to use Scenes until SmartThings changes something. I have an open ticket but don’t expect a fix anytime soon as I suspect the underlying fix is much more involved.

(Ben Edwards) #177

I would expect Routines to go away in a future version—being fully supplanted by Scenes. I never liked scenes that much but understand there is a lot of inertia behind them in the home automation world. I get that they are not the same thing but they are close enough—or can be bent to be close enough—for most people, that I think having them both adds unnecessary confusion.

I too am sad to see the Family tab go, but I knew that day was coming. I think ST pays pretty close attention to what parts of the app are being used and makes decisions based on that data.

(Steve White) #178

I"m hopeful that SmartThings is actually in the process of beefing up the concept of “users” as an object and the removal of the family tab is more about preparing to bring this to market. The user object in my ideal world would be managed from the dashboard as locks are. Each object would have presence as established by one or more associated presence devices. In a perfect world users would have granular in-app permissions, a PIN code for locks & keypads with lock permissions & schedules, and the ability to receive targeted notifications.

In a perfect world that is…


Is there any chance to expand the color temperature slider range in Scenes? I recently bought a few IKEA Tradfri bulbs and they could go down to 2200K in color temperature. But the scenes slider is limited between 2700K and 6500K.

(Chris H) #180

Agree!! This limitation is one of two reasons I don’t use senes right now.

The other being that brightness selection is limited to 10% increments only ****

So close, yet so far… But hopefully both of these issues will be improved upon in future updates!

*** - ETA: In my OP here, my comment about the brightness was incorrect. Props to iridis below for straightening me out :slight_smile: