Create a Virtual Switch in Samsung SmartThings

For those of you moving to Home Automation you may have decided to include Samsung SmartThings as part of your environment. SmartThings is quite a dynamic solution that can help expand on the functionalities included with Alexa and google home devices.

Once function Samsung SmartThings allows is to create ‘Virtual Switches’. A virtual switch is pretty much what it says on the tin – a ‘software’ switch that is either on or off. An example of what the virtual switch might be useful for is described in this post.

If you do not have Samsung SmartThings and are keen to start using it, you can pickup the SmartThings hub here

OK, lets go.

Create a Virtual Switch in Samsung SmartThings

Go to the SmartThings Login Page

Open a browser and go to https://account.smartthings.com/login
Most of you will now be using the newer App on your phone, if so click the top logon option (Sign in with Samsung Account). If you are still using the older App, click the lower option Sign in with SmartThings account.

Enter Your Logon Credentials

Enter your username/email address and password and click sign in. If you have 2-factor-authentication enabled you will need to complete this also.

Click the ‘My Devices’ Tab

Now you are logged in you will see the main console screen. Click the devices tab on the top menu bar.

Click ‘Add New Device’

From the devices screen click the ‘+ New Device’ button near the top right of the screen.

Configure the Virtual Switch Settings

Complete the device information:

Name = can be anything
Label = is unnecessary but you can add if you feel it appropriate / have a need
Zigbee ID = Should be left blank
Device Network ID = Can be anything but cannot replicate another network device ID. Try to come up with a system, if it is for your bedroom perhaps ‘bedroomvswitch1’
Type = Very important you select Simulated Switch from the drop down or you will not end up with a virtual switch
Version = must be published
Location = Location of your SmartThings hub (probably home)
Hub = The Name of your SmartThings hub (probably home)
Group = You cant enter this here but this relates to groups you might have already setup in your SmartThings hub.

Click Create at the bottom

Your switch is now created and you can repeat for additional switch requirements.

What are virtual switches useful for?

  • Probably the most useful function of a virtual switch is that it allows a link to Alex Voice Commands. Simply go into the Alexa skills and enable Samsung SmartThings and Alexa can see all of your virtual switches (and other SmartThings devices)
  • Enabling a link between Alexa voice commands and the very flexible Home Assistant. Samsung is compatible with Alexa and Home assistant and so virtual switches enable a very simple voice link from Alexa to Home Assistant.
  • Ensure existing automations and routines are only active depending on the condition of a virtual switch. Do you have automations that work for most scenarios but there’s always that one use case that causes issues. Virtual switches can help get around this. I have a lighting setup that occasionally causes issues (turning lights off at a bad time). I can disable the automation by simply saying ‘Alexa, turn off the virtualswtichname

As you get more familiar with the use of virtual switches and your wider home automation environment, you find all kinds of scenarios that benefit from Samsung SmartThings Virtual Switches.

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