Controlling Insteon Scenes with Amazon Alexa

Controlling lights with your voice is a fast and easy way to turn lights on, off or set the lights to a dim level. But what happens if you want to control more than one device at a time? And what if you want each device to do different things (Living room light 50%, Ceiling light 25%, Dining room off, etc.)? Using the Alexa app offers a way to group more than one device together and control them using a single voice command (i.e., Alexa, turn on dinner time). However, with Alexa groups you can only choose between turning the devices on or off all together - no ability to set each light to a unique level or state. In addition, Alexa group members are controlled one at a time, which means you'll see lights activated in a sequence over several seconds, creating a popcorn effect (but without the delicious buttery flavor).

For the best possible experience, we recommend using Insteon scenes. They provide a super-fast and instantaneous response across all devices, regardless if it's a scene made up of 2 or 200 devices. And because you can set each scene member to a unique level, you can create incredible lighting effects. 

Here's an example video clip showing the difference between Insteon scenes and Amazon Alexa/Echo group control.


To learn how to create Insteon scenes, please see the following support articles:

Things to Keep in Mind When Using Insteon Scenes

  • If you already have scenes created, there is no need to do anything to start controlling them with Alexa
  • If a new scene is created you will have to re-run discovery within the Amazon Alexa app, just as you do when adding new devices. Pro Tip: Amazon Alexa does a discovery automatically once an hour or so.
  • Supported voice control commands: On and Off only. Dim, Bright and Set to % are not supported (of course, you can set these when you create each scene)
  • Unsupported devices: all access control/security devices (I/O, lock controller, garage control) are automatically suppressed. So if you have scenes that contain actions for any of these types of devices, you will not be able to control the scene with Alexa.
  • Previously unsupported devices like our ceiling fan controller or the on/off outlet receptacle are now controllable via scenes. If you are an iOS user and have Sonos integrated, you can now activate scenes containing Sonos speakers.
  • Naming conventions may become an issue. If a scene and device are named the same or are similar, Alexa will have difficulty knowing which one you want to control. The obvious fix is to give scenes and devices unique names.