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What are Groups good for (how have you used them)?

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Offline kenf

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What are Groups good for (how have you used them)?
« on: February 25, 2018, 12:13:57 pm »
This feels like a stupid question, but I suspect I've not found a use for Groups, so I'm curious to see what others have done.

Personally, I've got Alexa's in every room, a smart switch for a light in every room, a lock and a Nest run off ADT Pulse + my new Samsung SmartThings Hub (much better than ADT's hub but they work together).

I've figured out Samsung's Scenes and Routines those feed easily into Alexa's Scenes and Routines.

I've not looked into Alexa Groups yet.  What would those enable?  How are they useful?


Re: What are Groups good for (how have you used them)?
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2018, 12:22:16 pm »
Multiple lights mostly in my case. I have fixtures with multiple light bulbs in them so I want to turn those on/off as a unit. Also per room, a couple lights as mood-lighting, and all lights (to turn off after going to bed). If you only have one light per room groups aren't as necessary, unless you want to have an alexa-enabled group to just be able to say 'alexa turn on the lights' instead of having to specify said room or light, also useful for visitors.

I also have 2 servers that are not running 24/7 (manual backups mostly), those are grouped as well. They turn themselves off at night and alexa will then turn off the switches after that. When I want to wake them up I can do it as a group, they will turn on by themselves if power to the switch is restored. Grouping them is certainly not necessary, just a bit of convenience.
My Alexa stuff:
Echo Show, Echo Spot, 4 Echo Dots, Fire TV, Fire tablet,
Vobot Alarmclock, Logitech Harmony Hub, house full of Hue lights,
Ring 1+2 doorbells, Tado smart thermostat, Plex server.

Re: What are Groups good for (how have you used them)?
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2018, 03:56:20 pm »
I have a group for two TP smart plugs in living room called Living Room (group) Each plug has its own name, and if the two are in the group called living Room, all we need to say is to tell Alexa to "turn on/off living room and all are on or off.  This can be done from any alexa device in the house.

Offline kenf

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Re: What are Groups good for (how have you used them)?
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2018, 05:29:59 pm »
Thanks for the examples.  So at face value, it's aimed at multiple lights in the same room.

Re: What are Groups good for (how have you used them)?
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2018, 05:45:44 pm »
Not necessarily.  This is only a common example.  ALL smart plugs etc could be in a single group to turn on all of them at once in an emergency.  Or, a series of them could be in a group that lights up a path through the house.  A group is used any time a collection of lights or other devices are to be turned on or off simultaneously.

Re: What are Groups good for (how have you used them)?
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2018, 07:08:58 pm »
I use groups as follows

1.  security.  sometimes I come home from work and my door is open.  either because I forget to close it or the wind blows it open  (I rent).   to make sure things are okay, I have a group to turn one light on in every room at once.

2.  after a power outage all the lights come on and stays on.  I have a group to turn them all off at once. 

3.  I have a group to turn my tv/computer on at the same time since I do not have cable or satellite.   I watch my shows on the computer

4.  outside lights so I can turn on all the outside lights on at once if someone comes knocking after dark. 

5.  multibulb lamps so I can all the bulbs on at the same time. 

lately some of my groups have been changed to routines so I can turn on some lights and turn off others. 
« Last Edit: February 25, 2018, 07:11:42 pm by renegade600 »

Offline kenf

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Re: What are Groups good for (how have you used them)?
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2018, 11:28:45 am »
Good examples.  I think I missed seeing the value of Groups because I used Scenes for all that.

Re: What are Groups good for (how have you used them)?
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2018, 02:57:38 pm »
It's my observation, Alexa responds faster when I use the group name. I also use group name to simplify my device names.

Re: What are Groups good for (how have you used them)?
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2018, 06:02:14 pm »
Good examples.  I think I missed seeing the value of Groups because I used Scenes for all that.

scenes can work too but it tends to work better when all the bulbs are the same.  I have bulbs th
Good examples.  I think I missed seeing the value of Groups because I used Scenes for all that.

scenes are great but groups tend to work better when you have bulbs and devices from different companies or have more than one hub.  for example I have the hue and wink.  it is easier to work with groups in alexa  :-)

Offline kenf

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Re: What are Groups good for (how have you used them)?
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2018, 07:21:30 pm »
I finally figured out a key use for groups.  make one per room, assign the lights in their respective room to the group.  assign each Echo to its Group of the same room

Now you want walk into the kitchen and say "Alexa, turn on the light" and it knows where you are and what you meant.

Much easier than fumbling for answering one of life's great questions in the dark.