Voice Control (Alexa) + Smartthings--best practices for naming? (2017)

Hi Everyone,

I hope for some advice from you all based on experience.

I currently have alot of smart device:

Hue lights
Nest Thermostat

To name just a few.

As I have found, naming convention is very important when using voice (i.e; Alexa). What has worked for people? Especially when you have a TRV and light for example in the same room and you want to ask for the temp or turn on a light. Where is best to create the groups, alexa? ST? Anything else I need to think of?

Issue im getting is duplication ATM and alexa finding devices twice due to all the skills enabled.

Thanks All

I struggled with my french accent on some devices names so I had to change them to something that didn’t sound similar.

One thing is that the thermostat doesn’t need to be named. You just can say" Alexa, set the temperature to xx". If you only have one thermostat, that will be done properly.
For the lights, I go with the room name: Alexa turn on playroom. If you have only one switch named like this, this unicity is enough to get it working.

What I didn’t get working with Alexa is: “Alexa, put some freaking good music!”. “Ok, here is what I have for drinking music” :stuck_out_tongue:


This is a really great question, and you’re right, now that so many different services are automatically importing information from other services it’s gotten much more complicated than it was last year. This is actually something that I’ve been working on for my own house just in the last month or so.

If your only problem is Alexa, then by far the easiest way to handle it is just to create a unique new group in the Alexa app with a name that you want to say and then put anything else into that group.

You also have the advantage with echo groups that the same device ( except for the echo devices themselves) can be in multiple groups. So if one person in your house says “office” and another person says “study” then you can create one group for each name.

I have an air conditioner that works with echo but for some reason, whenever I say “air conditioner” echo thinks I said “air conditioning” and then it will tell me that there wasn’t a device with that name. So I made a new group called “air conditioning” and put the “air conditioner” device into that group, and now it works fine. :sunglasses: I still think I’m saying “air conditioner” and echo still thinks I’m saying “air conditioning” but now either one will work.

But it definitely can get more complicated than that. Like I said, I’m working on this right now for my own house, but I haven’t really come up with a consistent strategy that I like yet.

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I’ve been thinking on this question quite a bit recently.

The problem is that SmartThings was here first, so the rational naming conventions went to it… leaving Alexa implementations kinda ‘stuck’.

The rational, though short-term laborious, way forward is to think of it this way:
SmartThings = automations = little to no human interaction
Alexa = voice Control = all human interactions

And based on that, rename things in ST such that you can have the ‘natural’ names in Alexa.

Perfect example: kitchen. In ST, rename it “food prep room” or something, and you will no longer have conflicts in assigning that room the name ‘kitchen’ in Alexa. Thus you will no longer have conflicts in making voice commands within that room. ST only sees a name phrase, and you could call the room Fred or Xavier or Room Three or whatever you want and the automations will continue to function. But trying to make everyone in the house remember to use “food prep room” or “room three” when talking to Alexa? Utterly counterintuitive.

So for my ST automations, rooms now have names such as

If I tell you the last two are bathrooms, I’ll wager you can guess where they are… and then can guess what the other rooms in that list are.

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Lol… I did have to give a room multiple names to make it work for everyone in the family… my 2 year old kid used pronounce “kitchen” like “chicken”. By creating a “chicken” room in the Echo app, he was finally able to turn off the kitchen lights by himself and was very proud… :slight_smile:


Thanks all for your experience and advice.

I have decided to use SmartThings naming convention that doesn’t use human speech logic. I.e. Living Room Light 1

Then create all the human groups in Alexa I.e Living room and Lounge.

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