Technical Solution to Sibling Rivalry (i.e., multi-user access management) with Alexa?


#1

As a parent of two teenagers who don’t always get along…

The first child would like to control his lights.
The second child would like to control her lights.
Neither would like the other to control his or her lights.
But both would like to control a common hallway light.

And my wife and I would like to control all 3 (his, hers, and common)–but ideally don’t want either controlling the rest of OUR lights.

We all control lights with Alexa. We have three different Alexa devices signed into three different Alexa accounts, but they all link to the same SmartThings hub/account…and there doesn’t seem to be a way to limit which Alexa account sees which SmartThings device…or that would solve everything.

Thoughts?

I’m not opposed to multiple SmartThings hubs and accounts…and one possible solution (and perhaps this is easy…) might be the creation of virtual devices in one hub/account that are somehow mirrored to actual devices in another. I just can’t figure out the “somehow mirrored” part because everything I can find (e.g., IFTT) links to only one SmartThings hub/account at a time. I could solve everything with a simple “If actual/virtual device in account A turns on, then turn on virtual/actual device in account B”.

Robin Winbourne once mentioned that WebCoRE could do this…and I have WebCoRE installed and working…but I’m not exactly a WebCoRE guru and would appreciate more specific guidance if this is, in fact, possible.

Tom


#2

Tell the teenagers to stop acting like kids and that their allowances will be stopped if they keep switching each others lights.

Sometimes the solution does not comprise 1s and 0s :smile:

If you need a technical solution, removing the Smartthings app from their devices and giving them each their own Action Tiles (or similar) dashboard might be an alternative.


(Pizzinini) #3

Hm… could you just delete the devices that the user is not supposed to control from the Alexa Smart Home settings (i.e. in the “Amazon Alexa” app)?


#4

That would break rule 1 “child controls own light”. The Alexa app does not allow a granular level control of smart home devices across echo devices - its all or none.


(Robin) #5

That old post from me that you linked to relates to linking seperate hubs / ST accounts, not splitting app control within a single location.

I agree with the comments above, remove ST / Alexa privileges until they are mature enough to use it sensibly.


(Pizzinini) #6

Or you could use another/different skill for each Echo that can connect to smartthings e.g. Gideon, Harmony, IFTTT, . You can limit the device to access in that skill. To simplify the commands can use then just create routines with the shorter commands.


#7

Tried that. The Alexa app re-discovers the deleted devices.


#8

You can control which devices/scenes Alexa will discover in the Smartthings Alexa SmartApp.

Or you can tell your kids to control themselves :blush:


#9

That’s a partial workaround, and I have partially used it. One room has the cheap $15 Walmart RGBW light bulbs. Since those bulbs are controlled through a different application (i.e., “Smart Life”), I use IFTTT to mirror them to SmartThings virtual devices.

But the other room has z-wave controllers and its own SmartThings hub/account. IFTTT can only connect to a single SmartThings account. I"m looking for a way to bridge between those two SmartThings hubs/accounts.


#10

The old post seems to be exactly what I’m looking for. I have multiple hubs/ST accounts, and am trying to link them. Those separate hubs/accounts just happen to be at a single location.


#11

The SmartThings Alexa app can only control which device ANY Alexa can discover. The kids have separate Alexa accounts from me (borne of a deep fear that Alexa will think I like hip-hop music…). Problem would be easily solved if SmartThings Alexa app could differentiate devices discovered by different Alexa accounts. But it can’t.


(Kirk Hilzinger) #12

Use a belt?


(Robin) #13

Install webCoRE on both accounts
Go to the webCoRE dashboard for one of the accounts
Click register instance and log into your other webCoRE account
Now when building a piston, you should be able to trigger pistons based on the other account, and visa-versa.


#14

Perfect. Thanks!

I’m a WebCoRE newbie, and couldn’t figure out how to bridge hubs/accounts.

Best I can tell, the only way to do this with a single account/hub is to add multi-user support to the SmartThings Alexa app. But as long as the hubs can’t differentiate Alexa accounts, the only workaround I saw was to work upstream–with separate hubs/accounts somehow bridged together.

Thanks again,
Tom


(Robin) #15

Sounds like your kids are ruling the roost to me… no way would I allow kids to fragment my system like that.

Just take away Alexa from their rooms, change the ST app password and give them each their own ActionTiles dashboards.


#16

The journey is the destination. My kids just gave me a use case. Happiness is solving problems–whether they need to be solved or not.

And it’s all good…I’m an early adopter with older-generation crap laying around…just waiting for a reason to be used again.

Thanks again,
Tom


#17

Nowadays, that unnecessary roughness … oh, wait, that’s US football … nevermind …