LIFX Developer Zone

Adding bulb to multiple groups


#1

How do you add a bulb to multiple groups in the LIFX app? I want to be able to control lights in our kitchen as groups. Like a Kitchen group that controls all of them. A KitchenSink group that controls 3 of them. A KitchenTable group that controls 1 of them. Then we want it to work with Amazon Echo. We have 11 bulbs in our kitchen on what set of 3 way switches and we would like to only light some of them some most of the time.

Am I the only one that wants to do something like this?


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#2

I don’t believe it is possible. However, I would love to be proven wrong, or LIFX to add this feature in the near future. As the number of bulbs grow, I need the flexibility of bulbs belonging to multiple groups.


#3

You are right, it isn’t. This is something that has been requested but not implemented if it ever will.
Groups need to be flexible, I am still hopeful it will happen.


#4

Currently it is not possible in the LAN protocol. It is possible to implement it in a cloud based way, so it is something we will be looking at in the future.


#5

Luckily Amazon Echo can do this. Which is the preferred way for us to control the bulbs (most of the time).


#6

you can do EXACTLY that with this app:
http://peacockmedia.software/mac/LIFXstyle/


#7

Pity it is Mac based.


#8

I would also like to be able to add bulbs to multiple groups. Often I’d like to turn on the front of the house vs the back all at once. I’d still like to be able to control individual groups at other times.


#9

You could try making a scene that sets the front of the house and the back of the house the way you prefer, then you simply tap the scene. This only works if you use the same settings all the time of course.


#10

Can you technically explain as to why it is not possible, as a technology guy myself, it seems very trivial.


#11

Sure, essentially the Device::GetGroup and Device::StateGroup messages only operate on a single group. There are many reasons for this but mainly it is to simplify control and conserve EEPROM space, of which there is very little available. There is nothing stopping a third party app from using its own group system and storing group membership outside of the bulb.


#12

Thanks for the technical explanation.

It means that even lifx app can create virtual groups and sync it to all my devices having the lifx app connected to the same account using the cloud. Are you guys even thinking of giving this feature, it will be really awesome to have.


#13

We have looked into including virtual groups in the application, but for the moment it appears to add too much complexity. Like any idea at LIFX though that doesn’t mean that its the end, just that it needs some careful design consideration before we attempt it again.

I’ll pass your feedback on and will bring it up again in our engineering meeting.


#14

I have implemented overlapping groups in my own muckabouts (apps that will not see the light of day) using the states API endpoint. It’s quite trivial for a third party app to do it via the cloud API, but as the LIFX app operates on the local network using TCP/UDP commands I assume it’s a different ballgame.


#15

It’s pretty much the same thing (albeit you have to do the iteration yourself). Just send a SetColor and/or SetPower message to each bulb in your group.


#16

I see this as an essential feature for LIFX going forward.
It’s a major PItA to have to switch between each group to dim or brighten the lights in a room when you have different light sets. Also, while you can accomplish certain atmospheres by creating dozens of scenes, it’s hardly a “slick” or efficient way of doing things. The whole point of automation is convenience, is it not?

There must be a way to group groups in a parent/child organization that isn’t too complicated.


#17

The thing here is, it can always be buried in an “Advanced Settings” area in the App. I’m happy to inconveniently dig for it to be able to tell my lights NATIVELY to turn off the Basement, turn off the Basement Kitchen, AND, turn off the Basement Apartment, which does not include my laundry room. There are multiple areas of my house that need these Virtual Groups.

Besides building more flexible firmware that works better with more varieties of routers - I had to replace my brand new (ASUS AC-3100) to get my bulbs to work after several weeks of email troubleshooting and a 2.5 hours troubleshooting session with the head Engineer over there - this Virtual Groups idea is MY ONLY REQUEST. The app integrates well with Amazon Alexa, and Samsung Smartthings. The problem here, though, is that then we have to rely less on LIFX and more on the third party’s hardware and software to handle the requests correctly. And configuring a large network of lights across multiple software platforms is significantly more complex than having slightly more complex NATIVE LIFX direct-to-Alexa and direct-to-automation functionality.

I know this may require more technical support FTE and that may not work with the business’s current strategy, but it also may not.

I’m looking forward to this in the next iteration of the app, guys. It really needs to happen for your users to stick with your brand instead of your competitors’. I purchased 20 A19 v 2.13 bulbs from LIFX and I was too close to bouncing.


#18

Is the concern mostly with Routine conflicts? I’m not a programmer, but it sure seems like even simultaneous commands have a hierarchy that determines assigned timing conflicts.

Otherwise, if it operates using local TCP/UDP commands, why can’t they just lag a hint longer to hit the cloud and return the outcome we want - multiple varieties of bussed lights?


#19

What are the complexities that’ve come up when adding virtual groups? I’ve setup databases in the past were you had to have a relational way to store dynamic data and know it’s not easy.

Google handled something similar is with labels in email. Amazon does the same with their Groups in Alexa. You can create any number of groups and assign any devices you want in them.

The 2-5 lights in a ceiling fan fixture are a great example for when you need something like this. In my own home, I have to manually change 2 of the 5 front porch lights around the door to set them separately from the other 3.

Thinking about it, if I could drag 'n drop lights into a temporary group and change the color that way, it’d save a lot of time!


#20

Can I submit a huge +1 fof this feature.

I’d very much like to set a mode for all lights “downstairs” and then make a small tweak to that for all lights in the downstairs kitchen . using the groups UI