Update June 21: Senic has removed our name from their materials and have issued an apology. We wish them best of luck with the launch of COVI.
Update June 28: Removed the brand name from the title to reduce the search ranking.
TL;DR: We are not affiliated with Senic or their COVI product. We will not support their users and you will get a subpar Home Assistant experience by using their product. Furthermore, we cannot guarantee stability or security if you use Senic products.
Recently Home Assistant has been made aware of a product by Senic that will be launching later today on Kickstarter (screenshot). Senic is not new in the IoT business, we have had support for their first product (Nuimo) since last September. Their new product, COVI, uses Home Assistant as its core home automation codebase. This is great, that is what open source is all about. However, they also use our name and logo in their Kickstarter, with the press and in their developer documentation (screenshot) to give the appearance of being affiliated with Home Assistant, against our wishes. Which is not great, at all.
Take some of the following quotes from their Kickstarter campaign:
COVI is built on an open source platform. The Senic team, along with outside developers, contributes to this platform to create the integrations for COVI.
With COVI, we have built upon an open platform called Home Assistant that anyone can contribute to alongside our engineers and the Home Assistant community.
Although those quotes are technically correct, they are very misleading. The Senic team contributes only to their own platform, they have not contributed to Home Assistant, its integrations or related projects. We did receive 1 contribution from them for Netdisco, our network discovery package. It included a memory leak and required us to publish a hotfix release for the 0.39 series. Their contribution has since been reverted. A third party contributor had contributed support for their Nuimo controller.
Here is a quote that their CEO Tobias Eichenwald gave to Forbes:
Unlike many larger companies who build closed automation platforms, COVI is built on an open source platform called Home Assistant that includes 500+ contributors. This allows COVI to be integrated into any ecosystem or platform with an open API.
They reached out to us on April 7 (screenshot). We replied on April 11 and told them they should not use our name as we do not want to be affiliated with them because we do not want to support their users. After that one e-mail we had never heard from them again until Forbes accidentally published an article about it before the Kickstarter launched. We did not get any chance to give feedback on their Kickstarter campaign content and they went ahead and used our name and logo without authorization or permission.
If you want an open source and constantly evolving product, get yourself a $35 Raspberry Pi, install our hub Hass.io for free and buy yourself some cheap and reliable IKEA Trådfri lights to get yourself a basic home automation setup. If you want a $250 talking lamp, go buy the COVI. Just know that we are not affiliated with Senic, we will not support their users and you will get a subpar Home Assistant experience by using their product. Furthermore, we cannot guarantee stability or security if you use Senic products.
Senic, we know that this is probably not what you wanted to wake up to on the first day of your Kickstarter but you left us no choice. Please reach out to us to help make this right. We will always do everything in our power to protect the best interests of the Home Assistant community, our 500+ contributors and 250,000+ users. If we don’t hear from you by Wednesday, June 21st, we will be forced to consider further actions.
Founder, Home Assistant
Core Developer, Home Assistant