Why smartthings when i already have an Echo

Could someone please explain why I would want a Smartthings hub when I already have an Echo? looks like the SmartHome feature from the Echo app allows me to group devices and create scenes which is what the smartthings hub offers. thanks

Using the Amazon Echo only, you can’t create scenes or automations. The scenes using the Echo are pre-defined based on your skills enabled. The Echo is just giving voice commands to the devices it has control over. Also the Echo is wifi only, where as the SmartThings hub can communicate with Zwave and Zigbee devices. Again you can’t create any Automations using the Echo only, just control them by voice. Depending on your devices you may not have the need for a hub.


Echo = voice control.
SmartThings = home automation.


Alexa, Turn on Movie Time:

  1. All lights go off besides the Den which dims to 15%
  2. A/C adjusted to predefined temperature
  3. Cameras Turn On outside
  4. All Home Automation that turns on lights are paused
  5. Kodi starts
  6. Volume is set to -16db
  7. Doors are Locked
  8. Notifications go out to turn phone to silent
  9. Alarm is set to Home

This all happen in less than 1 minute

Finally, once play is hit, then Den lights turn off.

You’ve been warned…

  1. Control of locking/unlocking doors (Alexa will only allow for certain models to be locked, never unlocked).
  2. More devices; ST can communicate with more devices types than Echo can (and even more when you use custom device handlers).
  3. More complex routines (“scenes”) than Echo.
  4. Ability to expand what Echo can do (Echosisstant and Ask Alexa smart apps).
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You’re mistaken about both the Echo and the SmartThings hub. No, the Echo (or more accurately, the Alexa service) does not allow you to create scenes. And, no…device grouping and scene creation are not “what the smartthings hub offers”.

Your Echo is not a smart home device controller. It does allow you to issue voice commands that are converted by the Alexa cloud service into API requests that are then forwarded on to other cloud services (operated by the vendor(s) who make/sell the device(s) you’re trying to control), which in turn send commands to the internet-connected smart home device(s) in your home. But the Echo (or Dot, or Show) are not directly controlling anything. And note that this only works with devices/systems that are internet connected. Anything that is based on Z-Wave, Zigbee, etc requires a local control hub/bridge equipped with the radio transceivers and protocol stacks that are needed to communicate with those devices.

That’s where hubs + cloud services like SmartThings come in. The ST hub contains the radios and “smarts” for communicating with…and controlling…your Z-Wave and Zigbee devices (sensors, switches, light bulbs, etc). It, in conjunction with ST’s cloud service also allows you to implement actual automation (rules you define that cause things to happen automatically without any need for human intervention). Your Echo/Alexa app do not.

You should do some reading on the subject so that you have at least a fundamental idea of what’s really going on with all these gizmos.