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.
Head over to https://graph.api.smartthings.com/ and login with your Samsung Smartthings account. This is Samsungs IDE service and not the same portal as the standard Smartthings portal found at https://account.smartthings.com/login.
Once logged in its a fairly straight forward process.
- Expand the Menu on the left and Click Devices
2. Click Add Device from the top right of the page
3. Give your device a Name. This can be anything you like.
- For Device Type be sure to select ‘Switch’ from the drop down.
- For location this is simply your Smartthings hub. Mine is called Home but yours might be different (it will most likely default to the correct name).
- Once all information is correct be sure to press ‘Add’
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.