How to control your smart home with voice - Part 1: Naming your devices and rooms

September 21, 2017

This is the first in the blog post series intended to help you control your smart home with voice in the most natural way. In this series, we will look at best practices used by our team members. This blog post will be regularly updated with new commands and new ideas. If you have an interesting example to add, please contact us and we will gladly share it with other users.




At Voxior, we try to make the process creating a perfect voice interface as simple as possible by automatically detecting and naming the devices.

By default, devices and rooms in a smart home are usually given names that make sense for a visual interface - mobile phone or a tablet. The same naming does not necessarily fit well to the voice interface. Abbreviations, punctuations and shortened names sometimes need to be changed to enable natural flow of voice commands. You can change these names through the Voxior interface without any programming changes on the smart home server.


Let's start with the terminology first - devices, rooms and zones.



A device, sometimes also called an accessory, is a physical device like a light, thermostat, ceiling fan, or a blind.


A characteristic is a controllable attribute of a device. For example, a thermostat might have a set temperature characteristic and the light service might have a brightness characteristic. We do not use the word characteristic in practice but instead refer to terms such as temperature and brightness.


A command is the act of changing a characteristic of a device. For example, adjusting the temperature of a thermostat or the brightness of a light. Commands are initiated either by user's action or through automation.


Example commands:

  • Alexa, set the kitchen thermostat to 22 degrees

  • Alexa, turn the kitchen light off

  • Alexa, close kitchen shutters



It may seem like an overkill to organize devices in this manner, but some smart assistants give you a whole new set of commands which allow you to control multiple devices at once.


Room is basically a collection of devices. Users can add devices to rooms in their homes. Along with controlling individual devices, you can also control individual rooms. You are going to want to create rooms for any place in your house where you have your connected devices.




Once you have set up rooms, you can proceed to set up zones. Zones are essentially groups of rooms within your home. Examples of this could be an upstairs zone, a downstairs zone, a basement zone, or any other way you want to subdivide the rooms of your home.


Room and zone names are used when controlling your home either through Google Assistant or Apple Siri. We expect that in the near future, Amazon Echo will also add support for zone and room commands.

  • “Siri, turn off the lights in the master bedroom.”

  • “Hey Google, turn off all devices upstairs.”

  • “Siri, did I leave any lights on upstairs?”


Get in touch with us on info[at]voxior.com.


P.s.: Want to know more? Check out other posts from our How-to series:



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