What about Grace? Tune in to our special livestream next week!

Who is Grace? Grace Hopper was a computer scientist, mathematician, and US Navy admiral who had made significant contributions to the field of computer programming and technology, from her pioneering work on and contributions to the Harvard Mark I computer, COBOL, and UNIVAC I.

Why is she important to us? Well, we have a habit of naming some of our projects after influential women in tech. And we have been working on a little something nice for the past year that we can’t wait to show you!

For those who are interested in making your smart home easier to control and monitor for everyone in your home, tune in next week on the leap year day, February 29, 2024, at 20:00 GMT / 21:00 CET / 3:00 PM ET / 12:00 PM PT, for a special livestream. We will walk you through the past, present, and future of this special project.


On device wake word on ESP32-S3 is here - Voice: Chapter 6

TL;DR: We have added on-device wake word detection (microWakeWord)! It’s faster and more scalable than processing the wake word in Home Assistant. We will keep supporting wake word processing in Home Assistant. Also new is more customization for sentence triggers, additional intents for controlling more devices, and better error messages and debugging tools.

Watch the full Voice chapter 6 livestream

2023’s Year of the Voice built a solid foundation for letting users control Home Assistant by speaking in their own language.

We continue with improvements to Assist, including:

Oh, and “one more thing”: on-device, open source wake word detection in ESPHome! 🥳🥳🥳

Check out this video of the new microWakeWord system running on an ESP32-S3-BOX-3 alongside one doing wake word detection inside Home Assistant:

On-device vs. streaming wake word

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Voice - Chapter 6 Livestream

Even though our Year of the Voice has ended, that does not mean the development of our voice assistant has stopped! We’re excited to show you what we’ve been working on since Chapter 5 last year during our Chapter 6 livestream on Wednesday, February 21st, at 21:00 CET / 3:00 PM ET / 12:00 PM PT.

Want to get a sneak peek of what you can expect from this chapter? Well, remember the hype around chapter 4? Get ready for more of that!

If you can’t wait to get more hands-on with our voice assistants, join the Voice Assistant contest! You can win Home Assistant Green, Home Assistant SkyConnect, and a chance to be on a livestream with us to talk about your work. Watch our contest livestream, where we explain how each component of our voice technology works and guide you through building your own voice assistant, and take a look at the current entries!


Nabu Casa joins the Z-Wave Alliance

TL;DR: We have joined the Z-Wave Alliance, thanks to revenue from Home Assistant Cloud subscribers, and will start the certification process for Z-Wave JS.

Z-Wave is a local smart home standard that has been around since 1999. Thanks to operating on sub-Ghz frequencies, it is able to create a reliable mesh network that can span your whole house. Its reliability also made it popular to power brands like Yale locks and Amazon Ring. The Z-Wave standard is developed by a consortium of companies under the Z-Wave Alliance.

With Home Assistant, we have integrated Z-Wave since our early days. We first relied on OpenZWave until we transitioned in 2021 to using Z-Wave JS created by Dominic Griesel. Z-Wave JS is a fully open-source implementation of the Z-Wave protocol. Combined with Home Assistant and a Z-Wave USB stick, it gives our users the best possible Z-Wave experience. Dominic is employed by Nabu Casa and can work full-time on Z-Wave JS thanks to the revenue generated from Home Assistant Cloud subscribers (thank you!).

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2024.2: More voice, more icons, more integrations, more... everything!

Home Assistant Core 2024.2! 🥰

Undoubtedly, you’ve heard about last year’s “The Year of the Voice”. 2023 might be over, but we are definitely not done with voice yet! This release contains some very cool new features for voice.

Not just that, we’ve also launched a voice assistant contest that you could join, and I’m happy to inform you that we will have another voice-related live stream on 21 February 2024, at 12:00 PST / 21:00 CET: Chapter 6!

But there is more in this release besides voice! There’s drag ’n drop magic for our automation editor, and you can now update Zigbee devices directly from Home Assistant. We also have icons in more places 🤩, and quite a lot of new functionalities for Matter devices.

In general, contributions to our open-source project have been amazing this month. I’ve never seen so many contributed bug fixes, improvements, and new features in a single release. Like… 21 new integrations! This is, without a doubt, the largest release we’ve ever put out. A big shout-out to everyone who helped! ❤️

Enjoy the release!

../Frenck

Oh! And don’t forget Valentine’s Day is coming up! 😘

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Companion app for iOS 2024.1: CarPlay is here!

Hey, this is Bruno. I have recently joined Nabu Casa to work full-time on the Home Assistant iOS app (thanks Home Assistant Cloud subscribers!). Today I have big news: Home Assistant is now available on Apple CarPlay! The release is rolling out and should be hitting your iOS devices soon (version 2024.1).

CarPlay support now gives Home Assistant users easy access to their devices and areas and the ability to create custom actions. Custom actions allow users to create advanced action sequences like unlocking the front door and turning on the porch lights. And all of this works across the multiple Home Assistant servers that you have configured in the app.

Big thanks to DXspark for helping us make the foundation of CarPlay and kicking off the project.

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The State of Matter

During our State of Matter live stream two weeks ago, we explained what Matter is, how it relates to Thread, and how you can compare it with existing protocols you may already know, like Zigbee or Z-Wave.

In this blog post, we’ve extracted the highlights of the stream for you. We also link to our updated Matter and Thread documentation where relevant.

You can watch the entire live stream here:

We’ll also highlight each segment of the live stream in this blog under each corresponding heading, so you can start watching the specific parts that interest you!

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Voice Assistant Contest - Let's build and win some prizes!

TL;DR: We are organizing a voice assistant contest between the 17th of January and the 10th of March. You can win some Home Assistant Green, Home Assistant SkyConnect, and a chance to be on a livestream with us to talk about your work.

2023 was the Year of the Voice. It was a yearly goal to let users control Home Assistant in their own language. We built some amazing things throughout the year, from a very powerful intent recognizer specifically optimized to run on a small computer like a Raspberry Pi 4, all the way to custom wake words created by our community.

In fact, we believe that what we built during the Year of the Voice allows almost anyone to build a voice assistant that embodies our Open Home values perfectly: Personalized, Private, and Sustainable. Every component of our voice assistants can be heavily customized to fit your language, your style and your needs, fully local options exist for each of them, and finally you can retrofit voice assistant into anything, even a 1970s Walkie Talkie found in a flea market

This is why, after spending a year building great things, we want to celebrate what our voice assistants can enable with the community: We’re launching a voice assistant contest, with great prizes to win!

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The State of Matter livestream

TL;DR: We’ll have a Matter livestream on Wednesday, January 10. Post all your questions about Matter and Home Assistant in the comment section, and we’ll try to answer them during the stream!

In late 2022, Matter was first released to the public. It promised to be the new local home automation standard that would unify various manufacturers’ ecosystems and smart devices. We joined the CSA, the alliance developing Matter, to have a front-row seat and make our implementation of Matter the best we can. Now, one year later, did Matter live up to its promise, and what’s the state of Matter within Home Assistant?

We ask this question because lately, articles about Matter in the media have turned a bit sour. Compared to older standards like Zigbee and Z-Wave, they say, Matter is not yet in good shape. But this is not an entirely fair comparison: Zigbee and Z-Wave have had many years to develop into what they are now, while Matter was released just over a year ago. A new standard will always need some time to settle in and mature.

Our view on Matter is both more optimistic and still realistic. We think Matter completely fits our Open Home vision. In the future, Matter will give us all fast, reliable, and local control of our smart home devices. At the same time, we’re realistic; this perfect vision of Matter has yet to arrive, and not everything we hoped for is possible today. Still, significant companies and organizations around the globe have committed to Matter, and they are improving it every month. We believe Matter is here to stay.

So, instead of discussing what isn’t currently working in Matter, we want to explain what Matter can offer you today. We want to show you the potential Matter has for the future and how your first steps with Matter today prepare you for that. Talk about what Thread is, how it relates to Matter - it is not the same! - and how to build your Thread network. And much more.

On Wednesday, January 10, at 12:00 PST / 21:00 CET, we’ll be hosting a State of Matter livestream to discuss this and address your questions and concerns about Matter and Home Assistant. We’ll make sure it’s an excellent watch for both beginners and more technically-oriented viewers - our Matter developers will be there to give you a technical deep-dive into Matter, too. Please save the date in your calendar and post all your questions and concerns in our comments section!


2024.1: Happy automating!

Happy New Year! 🍾

We wish you, and all the loved ones around you, all the best for 2024! 🥂

I cannot think of a better way to start the new year: Home Assistant Core 2024.1! 🎉

This release is fairly small, as expected; we are just coming out of the holiday season. However, it does contain some nice improvements and features to be excited about and a stunning total of 13 new integrations!

My favorite: the automation editor changes. It had quite a bunch of user interface tweaks. Most are focused on making it friendlier and easier to use for new and long-term users, making it quicker to find the right trigger, condition, or action.

I greatly like this improved experience, and I hope you do too!

Enjoy the release!

../Frenck

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