Groups vs Scenes
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For those who survived the Iris V1 to V2 transition you'll undoubtedly remember that Lowe's took away V1 Device Groups and gave us Scenes instead.   Scenes were supposed to be a "functionally equivalent" replacement for groups but they never were, nor could they be.   Groups and Scenes are two very different things with some overlap in function, but they are two very different tools with different use cases.

For those considering Hubitat as a possible replacement, unlike SmartThings (or Iris) Hubitat actually supports both Group and Scenes.   This is accomplished using the built-in "Groups & Scenes" app.  

Here's a quick look at what each option brings...

Groups:

  • Collection of binary-state (on/off) devices (i.e. switches)
  • A common dimmer level for all devices can optionally be set as well.
  • When activated, all member devices within the group are set to the same on/off state.
  • Virtual on/off switch device controls all devices within the group.
  • Group messaging (multicast) is supported.  For Zigbee devices, this means that quantity of devices being controlled has no effect on how long it takes for the devices to be controlled.  A typical group of Zigbee devices using multicast can be switched in under 1 second, regardless of how many devices are in the group.

Scenes:

  • Collection of devices with various attributes (switches, dimmers, RGB bulbs, vents, fans, etc.)
  • Each device can have specific values set to each device attribute.  Hubitat has the ability to "capture" a scene by collecting and storing each devices current state.
  • Virtual momentary button is created that can activate the scene.  When activated, attributes of member devices within the scene are set to the configured states.
  • No on/off capability.  Scenes can only be activated.  To have an "off" scene, a separate scene must be created with each device in the desired "off" state.
  • Like Iris, scene commands are executed sequentially.  There is a direct correlation between how fast a scene "runs" which decreases as the quantity of devices increases.

 

For those considering SmartThings...  SmartThings has only native support for Scenes, however you can easily create something that is functionally equivalent to a device group (but without Zigbee group messaging), but that runs locally.  Here's how you do that...

  1. Install the Virtual Device Creator (in the Marketplace in the Classic App).
  2. Create a virtual switch device.  This will serve as the parent for the group, and the means by which the group is to be controlled.
  3. Create a SmartLighting rule by selecting the devices you want to control in the "group".
  4. Select Switch for "how do you want to control"...
  5. And for the action, select "Mirror behavior"
  6. Save the rule.

Anytime the virtual switch is controlled, the devices specified by the SmartLighing rule will mirror the virtual switches state.  If you are concerned with local execution, so long as all of the devices selected in step 3 execute locally, the entire automation will stay local as well.

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