SmartThings was one of the first smart home systems used to automate your home. While you could launch the SmartThings mobile app and interact with your devices, why go to all that effort when you can control your smart home using your voice? In this article you’ll learn how to connect your SmartThings network to your Amazon Alexa device.
Once you’ve made this connection, you’ll be able to interact with all of your smart devices using Alexa commands – whether it’s checking the status of doors and windows, booting up your smart TV, playing music or performing other essential home automation tasks, You’ll learn how to create a completely hands-free smart home.
Enable the SmartThings skill
The first step is to give your Amazon Alexa the tools it needs to connect to SmartThings:
2. Launch the Alexa app and log in using your Amazon username and password.
3. In the bottom-right corner, give the “Devices” icon a tap, and then select “Your Smart Home Skills.”
4. Tap “Enable Smart Home Skills.”
5. In the toolbar, select the magnifying glass and type “SmartThings.” When SmartThings appears, give it a tap.
6. Select “Enable to use.”
7. When prompted, log into either your Samsung or your SmartThings account.
8. Read the onscreen information, and if you’re happy to proceed, then click “Authorize.”
After a few moments, you should see the following message: “Alexa has been successfully linked with SmartThings.” Exit the current screen by tapping the “X” icon.
Discover smart home devices, Scenes and Routines
Next, your Amazon Alexa needs to discover all the smart devices on your network, including your SmartThings Hub. Although this feature is called “Discover Devices,” it will also discover any Scenes or Routines that you’ve created for your smart home automation network:
1. After tapping the “X” icon, you should automatically be redirected to Alexa’s “Discover Devices” screen.
2. Give the “Discover Devices” button a tap.
3. Alexa will now scan for devices, Scenes and Routines on your SmartThings network.
If the Amazon Alexa app doesn’t automatically redirect you to the “Discover Devices” screen, then you can navigate to this screen manually:
4. In the bottom-right corner of the Alexa app, select “Devices.”
5. Scroll the bar at the top of the screen and select “All Devices” when it appears.
6. Give the little “+” icon a tap.
7. Tap “Add Device.”
8. Select the category of smart device you want to register, followed by the model or brand – for example: “Thermostat -> Google Nest” or “Light -> Philips Hue.” If your Alexa is struggling to connect to your smart home network, then selecting “Hub -> SmartThings” can often resolve connectivity problems.
Alexa will now perform a scan, and after a few moments it should display some information about all the devices, Scenes and Routines it’s discovered.
Interacting with your smart home
Once Alexa is successfully connected to SmartThings, you can interact with all of your compatible smart devices using vocal commands. For example, you might tell Alexa to dial down the brightness on your Philips Hue lights or ask her to run your “Good Morning” routine.
The tasks you can perform with Alexa will vary depending on which smart devices, Scenes and Routines are present on your network, but in a previous tutorial we looked at how you can monitor door-open and -close events, using the SmartThings Multipurpose sensor.
You can now ask Alexa to check whether this door is open or closed. For example, I attached the Multipurpose sensor to an exterior door in my conservatory, so I can just ask, “Alexa, is the conservatory door open?” and Alexa will provide an answer.
This can be useful for quickly and easily getting a status update on the various doors, windows and devices spread throughout your home; however, you may want to take things to the next level and use Alexa to control your smart home.
Triggering routines and modes with Alexa
In this final section we’re going to create a “Good Night” routine that will place your home into “Night” mode. When the house is in Night mode, SmartThings will monitor the door sensor and send you a smartphone notification if that door is ever opened in the middle of the night.
Since we’ve connected SmartThings with Alexa, we’ll be able to trigger this routine using a vocal command – for example: “Alexa, run Good Night.”
To complete this section, I’m going to use SmartThings’ ready-made “Night” mode and “Good Night!” routine and build on the work we did in the previous tutorial.
In this first step we need to set SmartThings’s “Night” mode to trigger automatically whenever we run the “Good Night” routine:
1. In the SmartThings Classic app, navigate to “Automation.”
2. Find the “Good Night!” routine and give its accompanying cog icon a tap.
3. Tap “Change the mode to” and make sure it’s set to “Night.”
4. Tap “Save.”
Now, whenever we run the “Good Night” routine, our smart home network will switch to “Night” mode.
Monitoring the front door
We now need to activate the door monitoring rule when our home is in “Night” mode:
1. In the SmartThings app, select the “Dashboard” tab.
2. Tap the “Home Solutions” card.
3. Tap the cog icon.
4. Select “Custom,” followed by the rule you created in our previous tutorial, which in my instance is “Conservatory opening.”
5. Tap “Only when mode is -> Night -> Done -> Save.”
You’ll now receive a notification if this door is opened while the house is in “Night” mode. However, we’re not done yet! Let’s look at how we can trigger the “Good Night” routine, using an Alexa command.
Teach Alexa some new commands
The final step is teaching Alexa to respond to our vocal command:
1. Launch the Alexa app.
2. Tap the lined icon in the upper-left corner, and select “Routines.”
3. Tap the little “+” icon.
4. Tap “Enter routine name” and give this routine a name; I’m using “Good night.”
5. Tap “When this happens -> Voice.”
6. Enter the phrase that will trigger this routine; I’m using “Alexa, run good night.”
7. Tap “Add action -> Smart Home -> Control scene.”
8. Select your “Good Night” routine, and then click “Add.”
9. I want Alexa to confirm that she’s understood my command and is running my routine, so tap “Add actions -> Alexa says” and then enter a phrase that Alex should respond with. I’m using “Running good night.”
10. Tap “Save.”
And that’s it! To put your new routine to the test:
- Launch the SmartThings Classic app.
- Make sure you’re in any mode other than “Night” mode.
- Tell Alexa to put your house into Night mode – for example, I’m using the vocal command “Alexa, run good night.”
You should now see the SmartThings app switch to Night mode. If you open your door or window while in this mode, then you should receive a notification on your smartphone.
You learned how to control your smart home using vocal commands by connecting Samsung SmartThings and Amazon Alexa. Now that your Alexa and SmartThings are chatting away, you can keep adding new Routines and Modes and triggering them using custom Alexa commands. You may want to learn to use Alexa to become an intercom.
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