Advanced Scene Creation with Halloween Edition

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Hello ghouls and goblins. It’s that time of the year again (🎃) and here at we want to make sure everyone is in the Halloween spirit. This October if you feel like getting spooky, why not enable Josh to set the mood?

Note: This post is intended for professional installers. If you’re an end-user, feel free to reach out to your dealer to set this up!

To see it in action, see here:

For more detail, here are some tips and tricks 👻:

1. Creating Scenes & Custom Triggers.

When you open Portal and create a new scene, the name you provide will be the default trigger. For example, if the scene is called “Good morning,” that’s what you say to activate the scene. You can always say things like “Set the scene to Good morning” or “Turn on Good morning” if you’d like, and those will just work That said, you can also add as many alternatives as you’d like. For our Halloween scene, a couple triggers you might want to provide would be “Happy Halloween,” “Trick or treat,” “Let’s get spooky,” and more. We always suggest simple words likely to be heard correctly in order to increase the chance for success. ❗️TIP — avoid single syllable scenes and uncommon words such as “boo” as it might be misheard, where words like “Halloween” have a much higher hit rate.

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Adding custom responses

2. Custom Respones

With Josh, you’re able to program scenes to respond with custom responses. For example, a default scene response might be, “You got it,” affirming the scene triggered. You can change this to respond with a simple beep, so Josh is less chatty. But when you get into custom responses you can have a lot more fun.

First off, you’ll notice you can provide multiple responses to a scene. Josh will pick one of these at random, making Josh less robotic. For example, your “Happy Halloween” scene could respond “Here’s some spooky music” or “Have a great Halloween.”

You can even take it a step further and have Josh respond with an audio file of your choosing. Simply find or upload an audio file you like, make sure it plays in a browser (for example, this is what we’re using for the Halloween scene:, and then follow the syntax below:

In the custom response section of a scene, type or copy/paste: {w:DISPLAY}{a:URL}

This will display in chat history or the phone anything written where it says “Display” and it will play back the audio file where it says “Url.”

For example, this is what we used in our scene:


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3. Scene Photo

A photo is automatically generated when you create a scene. Josh does its best to choose the right photo based on what you call a scene, but you can always customize it as well. For example, we made our Halloween photo a jack-o’-lantern, which looks great in the client’s app.

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Customizing Thumbnail

4. Scheduling

Scheduling your scene to start at the perfect time is an easy-to-use and powerful feature. You have the option of scheduling a scene to execute based on a specific time or Sunrise/Sunset. You can have it run on certain days, or every day.

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Scheduling Scenes

5. Setting Actions

In Portal you can control specific devices using tiles, such as lights, shades, music, and more. For this scene we selected all music players, and all shades, creating the tiles you see below.

You can also free-form scene actions using plain text. For example, you’ll see below we tell Josh to turn on the neon sign, make the lights orange, turn off the overhead lights, and then navigate the TV to a specific video. ❗️TIP — we suggest making each action a sentence ending in a period to keep things simple. For example, we could improve what you see below by changing it to:

Turn on the neon sign. Set all the color lights to orange. Turn off the main area lights. Watch

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Scene Tiles

6. Micro Actions

As a last fun feature, you can assign a Micro single and double tap to perform a custom scene. So if you want, navigate to Devices > Micros > and tap on the settings icon for the Micro you want to configure, then assign a single or double tap to your new scene and you can trigger it easily!

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Now that you know how to set up a custom scene, see below our Happy Halloween 🎃 scene in action, and be sure to share your fun scenes with us too!

Smart homes don’t have to be scary, that is why at we make sure our clients can tailor their home so it works best for them. Creating scene triggers that can be activated by speaking to your Micro or a simple tap takes the work out of giving multiple commands daily. Features like changing scene responses to include an audio clip can be a fun way to set the tone for the home.

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter. Happy Halloween! 👻

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