Home Assistant SkyConnect becomes Connect ZBT-1

Home Assistant Skyconnect becomes Connect ZBT-1

Home Assistant Connect ZBT-1 is the new name for Home Assistant SkyConnect. Though it’s a new name and look, they have the exact same hardware, capability, and support.

We launched Home Assistant SkyConnect in late 2022, a device designed to be the easiest, most stable way to connect Zigbee and Home Assistant together. It also came with Thread connectivity support, which was (and still is) pretty groundbreaking at its price point. All these years later, it continues to receive strong support and is a community favorite.

Home Assistant Connect ZBT-1 is the same great product we all know and love. Going forward, whenever we mention updates or features for Home Assistant Connect ZBT-1, this will also apply to Home Assistant SkyConnect-branded devices. Keep reading to learn why we changed the name.

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Roadmap 2024 Midyear Update: A home-approved smart home, peace of mind, and more!

Banner for Roadmap 2024 Midyear Update

During our State of the Open Home livestream in April, we presented our roadmaps for Home Assistant, open protocols, and Home Assistant Cloud. If you’re not sure what a roadmap is, or why we aren’t just listing features and dates - please read our intro to Home Assistant Roadmaps.

There has already been a lot of great discussion about these roadmaps in the community, and we would really like to encourage you to give your thoughts in the comments of this blog - as they will inform how the roadmap evolves over time.

You can skip straight to the sections you’re most interested:

~ Madelena & JLo

Big thanks to everyone who had given feedback to us throughout the entire process!

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A roadmap for Home Assistant

Artwork for the roadmap introductionArt by Clelia Rella

During our State of the Open Home livestream, we presented the future of the open home with the announcement of our first roadmap.

Over the past few years, we have begun the practice of giving a theme for the direction we wanted to take the Home Assistant project towards each year. Last year, we had the successful Year of the Voice, in which we built our voice assistant architecture from the ground up. And before that, we had “Streamlining Experiences” where we took our first stab at improving the UX.

Having a good set of goals allows us to focus our community and resources to build new projects rapidly together. With the Year of the Voice, we have attracted new contributors who are experts in wake words and voice technologies, translators of many languages, and hobbyists in building impressive one-of-a-kind voice assistants. We want to continue this success by laying out the strategy and direction for the continuous development of the Home Assistant project, and a product roadmap is a perfect tool for such a purpose.

Our roadmap is an open call for contributions in the product areas we are focusing on. Unlike many public roadmaps of commercial products, this is not a marketing ploy to attract customers to buy into nebulous, unrealized future features. It is a tool for our contributors and us, the project maintainers, to plan ahead for our collective future.

For this blog post, I’d like to detail how we came up with the roadmap, what it entails, and how you can build upon it together.

~ Madelena

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AI agents for the smart home

Art generated by Clelia with Midjourney

Back in the day, the saying was computers don’t lie. They were deterministic, zeros and ones executing the rules we gave them. With AI, this is the opposite. AI models hallucinate and their output cannot be completely trusted – yet the current hype is to infuse AI into every product imaginable. Home Assistant doesn’t jump on the latest hype, instead we focus on building a lasting and sustainable smart home. We do have thoughts on the subject, so let’s talk about AI in the smart home.

Home Assistant is uniquely positioned to be the smart home platform for AI. As part of our Open Home values, we believe users own their own data (a novel concept, we know) and that they can choose what happens with it. That’s why Home Assistant stores all user data locally, including rich history, and it offers powerful APIs for anyone to build anything on top – no constraints. Empowering our users with real control of their homes is part of our DNA, and helps reduce the impact of false positives caused by hallucinations. All this makes Home Assistant the perfect foundation for anyone looking to build powerful AI-powered solutions for the smart home - something that is not possible with any of the other big platforms.

As we have researched AI (more about that below), we concluded that there are currently no AI-powered solutions yet that are worth it. Would you want a summary of your home at the top of your dashboard if it could be wrong, cost you money, or even harm the planet?

Instead, we are focussing our efforts on allowing anyone to play with AI in Home Assistant by making it easier to integrate it into existing workflows and run the models locally. To experiment with AI today, the latest release of Home Assistant allows you to connect and control devices with OpenAI or Google AI. For the local AI solutions of the future, we are working with NVIDIA, who have made amazing progress already. This will unleash the power of our community, our collective intelligence, to come up with creative use cases.

Read more about our approach, how you can use AI today, and what the future holds. Or jump straight in and add Google AI, OpenAI to your Home Assistant installation (or Ollama for local AI without the ability to control HA yet).

Huge thanks for contributing: @shulyaka, @tronikos, @allenporter, @synesthesiam, @jlpouffier and @balloob.

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2024.6: Dipping our toes in the world of AI using LLMs 🤖

Home Assistant Core 2024.6! 🎉

Welcome to another loaded release of Home Assistant! Packed with many exciting new features, this month is most definitely one to remember.

Let’s talk about AI. AI might just as well be the talk of the century. These so-called LLMs most certainly open up a whole new world of possibilities. When we first introduced the OpenAI and Google AI conversation agents for Assist, one of the most requested features was the ability to control your home with it.

Now for the big news:

Well, as of today, you can control your home with an AI! 🤖

But there is a lot more to this release. Super simple media player commands, more data table improvements, tag entities, collapsible blueprint sections, and so much more!

I’m personally most excited about the new features in the dashboarding area. Being able to conditionally show sections and cards is definitely a game-changer for my dashboards.

Enjoy the release!

../Frenck

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Companion app for iOS 2024.5: Let me Assist you 🍎

Hey, this is Bruno. It has been a great few months since I joined Nabu Casa to work full-time on the Home Assistant iOS app, again a big thanks to our Home Assistant Cloud subscribers for making this possible. Today, I would like to recap what has been introduced since the last blog post for version 2024.1 and discuss more about how Assist is being integrated into the Apple ecosystem - along with a number of other improvements to the app.

Companion App for iOS 2024.5

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Music Assistant 2.0: Your Music, Your Players

Today, exactly five years ago, I, Marcel, started working on Music Assistant . What began as a quick script, to sync my playlists so I could switch between streaming providers, grew into a beast on its own.

Music Assistant is what I’d like to call a “music library manager” – it gives you full control of playing YOUR music on your players. Just like Home Assistant centralizes all your devices and services to work together, Music Assistant does the same with your music sources and smart audio-playing devices.

To just play with Music Assistant without reading what it is (yes, we know you!):

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Z-Wave is not dead

Art by Clelia Rella

TL;DR: Z-Wave is alive and well, partly due to a strong community that is building new open-source resources. To thrive well into the future, it must take further steps to open its technology.

Last week, Dominic, Uwe, and I (Paulus) attended the Z-Wave Alliance member meeting in Austin, Texas. It was the first meeting since we became a member and we came with a mission: tell Alliance members about the work done by the open-source community for Z-Wave and find new avenues for collaboration.

Three of us attended, each representing different facets of Z-Wave within the Open Home Foundation: Dominic is the founder and maintainer of Z-Wave JS, which powers the Z-Wave integration in Home Assistant. Uwe leads the development of the Home Assistant Z-Wave stick that we’re working on, and I was there to enable collaborations with other Z-Wave members. Big thanks to Home Assistant Cloud subscribers – thanks to you we can do this work full-time at Nabu Casa.

A little background on Z-Wave

To use Z-Wave in Home Assistant, our users buy a Z-Wave certified USB stick and combine it with Z-Wave certified devices. Home Assistant then connects to the stick using Z-Wave JS, developed by Dominic, and we’re off to the races. Z-Wave JS was developed completely outside of the Z-Wave Alliance, and is based on the published version of the Z-Wave specification.

Z-Wave wasn’t always this open - Z-Wave used to be owned by a single company, which was later acquired by Silicon Labs. SiLabs decided it was time for change and turned the Z-Wave Alliance into a Standards Development Organization (SDO) that is controlled by its members and a standard that is open.

As it stands, there are still parts of Z-Wave that are not open yet, including the firmware that is running on Z-Wave sticks. I might have mentioned a couple of times, including in my keynote, that we should open up more. It is a good thing to let everyone help fix bugs, improve code quality, and improve diagnostics.

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2024.5: Just a little bit smaller

Home Assistant Core 2024.5! 🎉

The last two releases were massive! With our new drag ’n drop dashboards and the tools to organize your Home Assistant instance, it is hard to top those releases… 😅

So, this release is just a tiny bit smaller than those two, but still epic! 🤘

My personal favorite is the new features added to the data tables, which many of you requested since the last update. But the ability to change the names of the devices shown on the energy dashboard is a close second!

Oh! We’ve held our State of the Open Home 2024 live stream! In case you’ve missed it, I would definitely recommend watching it back. There are tons of cool things and spoilers in there!

But more importantly, it launched the Open Home Foundation, which now governs our beloved Home Assistant project! ❤️ Read more in the State of the Open Home 2024 blog post.

Anyway, I will not hold you any longer. Enjoy the release!

../Frenck

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Thinking Bigger: State of the Open Home 2024

We recently held our State of the Open Home 2024 live stream, where we revealed how we are thinking even bigger about securing the future of the smart home. During this stream we launched the Open Home Foundation, a new non-profit organization created to fight for the fundamental principles of the smart home — privacy, choice, and sustainability — focused on serving everyone that lives in one. To learn more about the Open Home Foundation read the full announcement.

The stream includes a deep dive into the evolution of Home Assistant and how it has now reached an estimated 1 million installations. There were other substantial updates on voice and hardware, including teasing our upcoming Z-Wave and voice assistant hardware. The first panel discussion featured the founders of Open Home Foundation collaborating projects WLED, Zigbee2MQTT, Rhasspy, and Z-Wave JS. A second panel gave a comprehensive overview of the state of open standards, featuring key open-source developers working on Zigbee, Z-Wave, Matter, and Bluetooth. The stream caps off with a look into the future of the open home, including the announcement of a roadmap full of exciting new features.

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