Virtual Devices Beyond Simple On/Off?

While playing around with some of the new edge drivers I came across various collections of virtual device creators. I’ve used a lot of virtual/simulated switches to turn various things off and on because they won’t trigger directly and I’ve also use them to create loops. But I haven’t come across anything that I thought would be useful to have say virtual motion detector or leak detector.

Anybody out there want to clue me in on what might be a good use for these various device types available now as virtual?

You probably want to go right to edge drivers because all of the groovy stuff will go away pretty soon.

There are three community developers who have created virtual device edge drivers with lots of different device types, so check those out. There are definitely some motion sensors and some leak detectors in the group.

[ST Edge] vEdge Creator: a virtual device generator for end users


[ST Edge] Virtual Things Edge Driver


(New Release) Edge Driver Virtual Mirror Mc

1 Like

Thanks, I have looked at those. But I don’t understand why you would need anything but a basic off-and-on or a flag showing off and on that could be used to trigger other things.

I guess what it is is that I can see the solutions, but I don’t see the problem that they are supposed to solve.

It just depends on the use case. Some popular ones:

  1. Alexa routines can be triggered by a contact sensor, motion sensor, or lock. But not by a switch. So many people use a virtual sensor to trigger those.

  2. if you want to use a device other than a Sensor to Trigger a smartthings Home Monitor event, again a virtual sensor is useful for that

  3. many people group multiple sensors under one virtual sensor so they have fewer false alarms. For example, you might want to have motion on two different motion sensors at the same time before treating it as a security breach.

  4. people often use a virtual device as a proxy for a device from another system. Presence sensor is popular, but there are others as well, even locks and thermostats. And many cameras have a motion sensor action that you can capture through Ifttt or Alexa routines. A virtual motion sensor lets you bring that into smartthings.

  5. Virtual dimmers have in the past been used a couple of different ways:

a) to act as a master control for a group of dimmers
b) to act as a Value holder for a variable that can have more than two values. For example, some people use them for fan settings, some people use them for sound levels, some people use them for humidity ranges.

So there are lots of different reasons, it just depends on what you’re trying to do :sunglasses:

Mostly as aggregation devices.

For instance. Image a French door, with each door having its own contact sensor. That’s good but most automations want to see one door sensor not one.

So you could create a virtual contact sensor and use some kind of automation or rule to set its state based on the state of the other two, then use the virtual sensor in thier place.

Virtual thermostat. Aggregate multiple thermos for an average

Virtual motion sensor - aggregate multiple motion events.

Virtual window sensor, trigger 30 seconds after the real sensor - create a delayed sensor.

Things like that.

1 Like

Other variations include:

  • Faking motion using a virtual motion sensor instead of using virtual switches and extra logic to modify behaviour.
  • Indirecting ‘real’ presence sensors through virtual ones so the reading can be overridden e.g. left your phone behind.

Thanks to all for some new ideas I may need to take a look at. From time to time, I go back through all my automations to fine tune them, I’ll add this bit of information in with what I already have and see where something might fit.

1 Like

I use the virtual smoke detector to connect my hard wired smoke detectors via a smart relay to STHM.

I use the virtual water detector to connect the float switch in my HVAC condensate pump via a smart relay to STHM.

I use the virtual motion detector to connect camera motion detection that show up in Alexa (but not ST) to STHM.

I use the virtual contact sensors to connect my Tuya contact sensors that show up in Alexa (but not ST) to STHM.

I use the virtual presence sensors to make STs invisible phone presence visible.

Like many people I use the virtual switches with integral contact sensors to trigger Alexa Routines from ST.

And I am probably forgetting some other uses.

1 Like

I was playing around with driver last night, and found an immediate need for this variety of devices: the ability to have the correct icon.

The one that everybody encounters is teh requirement to use a virtual switch in order to track a presence device. Using one of these drivers you can actually have the correct icon rather than just a switch.

1 Like