Best Practice for naming lighting to work well with Alexa

I am a new convert from ST. Sad what Samsung has done but whatever. I am looking forward to using Hubitat and have a perfect new situation to do it in!
I am a few weeks away from installing ~70 Jasco Zwave light switches in a brand new 5000sf home that is currently being built. There will be Echo's in the ceiling in every room.

My question not necessarily specific to Hubitat but what is the best practice for naming and grouping the lights so they work best when using Alexa voice commands to turn them on and off. The obvious grouping of the lights will be by room. i.e. Kitchen, family room, master bedroom, etc. This is a significantly sized home so the kitchen, for example, will have 4-5 sets of lights by itself. Can lighting in ceiling. Counter lights, Kitchen sink. Pendent above breakfast nook. etc.

My goal is for someone to be able to walk into a room and have Alexa either
a. turn on all lights in a room
b. turn on individual lights.

So for the kitchen example should I name the individual circuits something like:

  • Kitchen can lights
  • Kitchen counter lights
  • Kitchen sink light

If I do that, would someone be able to be in that room (or in any room, really) and say something like 'turn on kitchen lights', or would Alexa then just ask 'there is more than one light with that name' or something to that effect?

If I can have input on best naming practices for lighting for a large house it would be greatly appreciated. Let me know what you have done and what works and what is problematic.

Thanks in advance!

There may be better ways, but I will tell you what I did, and it works fine for us.

First, you are on the right track with device naming.

Then, in Alexa, on the Devices page, create groups for which you would like simultaneous actions (e.g., Kitchen Lights, Dining Room Lights, etc.).

Then add devices to the groups.

One thing to note is that you can have the same device in multiple groups - e.g., a Fans group, an Outside Lights group, a Backyard group, a Front Yard group.

As far as best practices, two suggestions: (1) be consistent, e.g., name the overhead lights similarly, such as Kitchen Overhead Lights, Hallway Overhead Lights, etc., even if the room/group only has a single overhead light, etc. (2) get a P-Touch labeler and label the switches with the name they are controlled by, otherwise it will be impossible to remember / learn the names. After a while, many have decided that they don’t like talking to their home, and they evolve to using motion sensors and door sensors to make the house activate things as they go about their normal life. Search for @april.brandt’s posts in the forums on this point - she has done a good job explaining how she has set up her home.

Good luck, and welcome to the community.

Getting started is tough. I'm going to give you the best piece of advice for all of this. NEVER assume that that what you want to happen will actually be what happenes. If you want a smart home, then make it seem smart. Make it APPEAR to know what you want. Definitely more impressive to visitors.


So for me there are two ways to really handle this, either you do the work inside HE or inside Alexa. Both "work" involve groups in some way for ease of use.

You can assign groups in HE for lighting using the built in lighting apps such as Motion Lighting or Mode Lighting with the option at the bottom that creates a new virtual device for that rule. Then expose those virtual devices to Alexa. Then name and/or group as you please inside Alexa.

Alternatively you can expose each lighting device directly to Alexa and lean on their Group function. If you have an echo device per room as well, you can put that device in that group as well so that whenever you say "turn on/off lights" it will turn on/off the lights in that room only, at least that is how it SHOULD work, but that is another discussion that April knows well. You can do this method with the grouping done in HE as well but this gives you more granular control if you need that.

If you are interested in the issues I had with per room voice control and my solution take a look at this thread.

@672southmain @april.brandt @cjkeenan

Thanks to all of you for your insights and links to other relevant links. It looks as though this community has the passion for this technology just like the ST platform did a year + ago which is exciting to see!


I know this is outside of your original question, but with 5000 sqft and z-wave on Hubitat get some dedicated repeaters. I wouldn't rely on just z-wave plus devices to cover that much space.

Good Luck

I also would suggest using more that one Hubitat device then link them together so that one isn't handling ~70 Z-Wave devices. This is also a good read.

Once your Hubitat devices have been connected to Alexa/Echo, I THINK you can change the device name in Alexa without causing any issues. In other words, the Hubitat device can have one name in Hubitat and a different name in Alexa.

In Hubitat, I use location abbreviations in most of my devices. These names are hard to use with Alexa. So I can change the device name in Alexa to make it more friendly for voice control.

Am I correct that changing the device name in Alexa won’t cause any problems with the integration?

Yes you are correct, changing the name in the Alexa app should have no issue for the integration and the name change will not sync back to hubitat, it will be local to Alexa.

Yikes. Not sure I like the implication of the 'good luck' statement! So dedicated repeaters are better than a wired Zwave device that should also be repeating?

No, it is my understanding that all mains-powered devices, except bulbs ideally, act as repeaters for their respective wireless protocol. You can always get extra repeaters, usually bundled with plugs such as the Iris 3210-L2 which are Zigbee Plugs with Zigbee and Z-Wave repeaters built in, one of the very few devices with both. Ikea Tradfri Repeaters (Zigbee) are one of the only "repeater-only" devices to my understanding, but I have had much better luck with the Iris plugs, especially since they are cheaper and have a built in plug, but the Tradfri repeaters are tiny and USB powered so super convenient for placement.

It really just depends if where you want to place your switches works with a "stable mesh".
Building a Solid Z-Wave Mesh
Building a Solid Zigbee Mesh

Sorry, I in no way meant 'Good Luck, Your Going to Need It' . When I say dedicated repeaters, I should have specified beaming repeaters. You may find as you get out on the fringes of your mesh that z-wave mains devices just don't do the job. This is especialy true if you add battery operated devices such as multi sensors, door locks, etc. With your initial build out, do it slow. Do not try to include all 70 dimmers in one go. 10-20 in 24hrs this will let your mesh solidify as you go.

LOL. Im sure glad you did not mean that! This new house is huge. We probably have 5 miles of Cat6 and speaker wire in the walls. The AV closet is not centrally located but not on one edge either. We have extra cat 6 to the living room so we may put the hub there. A bit more centrally located.
On a separate thought, received the hub yesterday. I cant believe how SMALL the Hubitat Hub is. OMG (I cant believe I just 'said' that, but it was kind of what I was thinking when I saw it. Used to the SmartThings hub which has some size and heft to it. This thing is tiny and weighs nothing. I would have bet a lot of money that with all the local processing it is touted to have that it would be larger with just more stuff in it. Memory for one thing. Now I am wondering how it can do so much local processing in such a small box!

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Small antennas.