Smart Home Novice - Where to Start?

Hello, everyone. I'm new to the smart home game, except for my old Google speakers and my new Echo devices. I just bought a new Hubitat and managed to set it up without breaking anything (I think.). I have a Google Home speaker, a Home Mini speaker, and 3 new Echo devices. (2 Dots and 1 Echo. Thanks, Prime Day!) I also have 3 Amazon-only Sengled bulbs I got for "free" with the Echo purchases.

So what are the easiest things to start with without breaking my brain or my wallet?

Cool! Welcome!

First bit of advice is to have patience and take it slow. Hubitat Elevation (HE) is a super flexible platform that even if you can't get a direct solution there is usually a workaround. Make sure you check out the Hubitat docs or post to the community as you go along, maybe before spending money on stuff.. This community is terrific.

For starters I assume your bulbs are either WiFi or BlueTooth if "Amazon Only".. So you should still be able to control them by creating a virtual switch in HE and sharing it with the Amazon Echos using the Hubitat Alexa Skill.


Lighting automation is where most start. The Sengled bulbs, are they WIFI, or Zigbee? If they’re WiFi, I would dump them as they are cloud dependent. If they are the Zigbee version, then you can join them to your Hubitat hub and start creating lighting automations. Zigbee motion sensors are a good start, and/or Zigbee contact sensors, depending on your desired use case.

Check the compatible devices list at or add device from within the hub, will also show you a list of compatible devices (probably more up-to-date as well). There are great, reliable ways to get unsupported devices working with Hubitat, but it’s more advanced, so I would avoid adding complexity in the beginning.


Hi, and thanks for the reply! The bulbs I have are Bluetooth, and I currently have them working with Alexa routines. I managed to install the Alexa Skill yesterday, I guess I have to read further on creating a virtual switch. I know that I eventually want to get a video doorbell, but first I need to bring out an electrician to take care of some wiring issues.

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Thanks for the reply! The Sengled lights are "works with Alexa" Bluetooth lights, so no joy there. I have looked at the list of devices and wow, there's a lot! Thanks again.

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Easy to add a virtual device in HE - just go to the devices page and click on "Add Device" then "Virtual" (rightmost button), then give it name and choose "Virtual Switch" for the "Type".

Once it's created you can go into the HE Alexa Skill App (not the skill on Amazon!) and add it under "Select Devices". It should then show up in Alexa.. From there in Alexa you can create routines that sync the virtual switch with the bulb - when switch turns on, bulb turns on etc.

The video doorbell stuff is a little tricky.. For example the Ring Doorbell is nice and there is a community Ring Integration for it but not sure how well it works..

Once you get comfortable there are a bunch of things you can do to extend your setup depending on how technical you want to get.. mostly it involves running secondary servers for extra functionality - like etc.


If they're still in the return window consider returning the bulbs and using those funds (plus a little more :wink: ) to invest in a Hue starter kit (hub and lights), probably the most popular method of integrated light bulb control with HE.


The lights were free with Echo purchases for Prime Day, so no extra cash forthcoming... Thanks for the idea though.

Syncing with a virtual switch (or maybe even a virtual bulb) if you can get it working allows you to use HE's extensive rules/apps and devices so you can control things outside of the Echo.. kind of nifty.

Consider installing "Hubitat Package Manager" which will allow you to easily install some popular community based apps and drivers...


That's too bad, in Canada they're usually bundled together and it's possible to return one of the package for a partial refund.