Release notes for January 24, 2015

I have just merged the latest version of the development branch into master. Here are some of the highlights of this release:

Configuration via the frontend
Phliips Hue will now be auto discovered and uses the new configurator component to interact with the user to finish the setup process.

Wink Hub support
Thanks to the work done by John McLaughlin and Geoff Norton we now support the lights, switches and sensors that are connected to the Wink hub.

The getting started guide and component page have been reorganized
The getting started instructions have been split into separate pages per component and a general overview page. The goal is to have a page per component that describes:

  • What it does
  • How to set it up
  • Which states it maintains
  • Which services it provides
  • Additional development tips

More reasonable errors
Home Assistant should now throw better errors and offer solutions if you do not have the right version of Python 3, forgot to clone the git submodules or install the dependencies.

Streamlined first launch
Home Assistant now supports --open-ui and --demo-mode command line properties to open the browser automatically and have something to show. Home Assistant now supports to be run without a password, allowing the interface to login automatically on launch.

Nest in the house!

For thet majority of its existence, Home Assistant primary focus was on presence detection, lights and switches. But not anymore as we’re expanding the supported devices. Today, we’re proud to introduce Nest Thermostat integration for Home Assistant contributed by Stefano Fiorini!

The new integration exists out of two parts: a generic thermostat component and a Nest platform implementation. The initial version implements provides a read-only card and services to control it. The plan is in the future to add temperature and away mode controls from the thermostat card and more info dialog. Internally, we are using the Python package python-nest by jkoelker to talk to the Nest.

If you own a Nest thermostat, add the following lines to your home-assistant.conf:


Bootstrapping your setup with Discovery

Most people do not like configuring things. Things just have to work, out of the box. Reaching this scenario is the goal of what we are about to introduce: our new discovery component.

The discovery component will scan the WiFi network from time to time for connected zeroconf/mDNS and uPnP devices. The initial introduction is mainly focussed on getting the right architecture in place and discovers Belkin WeMo switches and Google Chromecasts connected to your network. When found, it will load and notify the appropritate component and it will be ready to use within seconds.

Most devices still require some sort of interaction from the user after being discovered - be it a button being pressed or some sort of authentication. This is a challenge that will be solved in the future.

To enable the discovery component, add the following to your home-assistant.conf:


A new discovery section has been added to the Adding a new platform page with instructions how to make your platform discoverable.

Hello PushBullet, nice talking to you

One of the things that was missing in Home Assistant for a while was a way to communicate with users. Wouldn’t it be nice to get a message when important events happen like the lights being turned on while no one is home? Since the Home Assistant frontend runs as a web application on the phone, we have no way to bring ourselves to the front. This is where the new notify component comes in, powered by PushBullet.

The new notify component will take in messages and tells them to the user. For now this will be powered by the very awesome PushBullet but any other messaging platform can be easily added.

A message triggered by the simple_alarm component is shown by PushBullet on the Moto360.

Read on to learn how to enable the notify component and integrate it with other components.

Read on →

Home Control, Automation & the Smart Home

The internet has been buzzing over the last year about home automation. A lot of different terms fly around like the internet of things, home automation and the smart home. This article will try to explain how they all relate.

The first thing to introduce is the Internet of Things (IoT). This refers to a new generation of devices that cannot only be controlled by humans via buttons or remotes but also provide an interface to communicate with other devices and applications. For example, an IoT-capable coffee machine could receive commands to create different types of coffee and be able to broadcast the amount of water left in its reservoir.

There is no widely adopted open standard for smart device communication. This prevents a lot of devices to communicate with one another. And even if they could, most devices are not designed to manage other devices. To solve this we need a device to be able to communicate with and manage all these connected devices. This device is called a hub.

As a bare minimum a hub has to keep track of the state of each device and should be able to control them if possible. For example, it has to know which lights are on or off and offer a way to control the lights. For a sensor it only has to know the value. A hub with these capabilities offers home control.

Hub dashboard example Example of a hub's dashboard. Showing the state of 2 persons, 4 lights and the sun.

Read on →