From Our Community to Your Home
6 min read

From Our Community to Your Home

We are two months into 2024, and the progress of Home Assistant has been off the charts. In the last month alone, we have joined the Z-Wave alliance, will keep your Zigbee devices up-to-date, launched support for Apple CarPlay, and just yesterday, we introduced on-device wake words.
An image of 4 home offices in isometric style.

Welcome to the February edition of the Open Home newsletter, the place to learn about the latest and greatest things for your smart home that improve its privacy, choice, and sustainability.

The Open Home newsletter is written by Paulus Schoutsen, founder of Home Assistant and Nabu Casa. Was this email forwarded to you? Subscribe here!

We are two months into 2024, and the progress of Home Assistant has been off the charts. In the last month alone, we have joined the Z-Wave alliance, will keep your Zigbee devices up-to-date, launched support for Apple CarPlay, and just yesterday we introduced on-device wake words. Ah, and next week, we will be announcing something special

So, if you have ever wondered if supporting your favorite smart home platform leads to great results… the answer is a resounding YES. You can do that by subscribing to Home Assistant Cloud – funded solely by you, no investors! Alternatively, come work on Home Assistant at Nabu Casa; we have a couple of job openings!

Voice processing moves to the edge

Our community is our biggest asset, and so we approach projects like last year's Year of the Voice in a unique way: we created a modular voice assistant architecture, in the open, and with milestones that can be used. Today, we have an excellent voice community iterating on all the different parts. I would recommend this excellent article on ArsTechnica for the current state of affairs.

Yesterday, the latest Voice milestone was presented with a highlight: wake words can now be processed on the voice satellite device itself!

Processing wake words on the voice satellite leads to faster responses when a user says the wake word, and it no longer uses resources on your Home Assistant server. This new feature is made possible by microWakeWord by Kevin Ahrendt, now available inside ESPHome.

On device wake word on ESP32-S3 is here - Voice: Chapter 6
Improved errors, more intents and on device ESPHome wake word

If you're excited about the new possibilities microWakeWord offers and you're about to get your hands dirty, this is also an excellent opportunity to look at our Voice Assistant Contest. Until the 10th of March, you can enter your most awesome voice assistant builds, guides, events, and experiences to win our prizes!

Voice Assistant Contest - Let’s build and win some prizes!
We are organizing a voice assistant contest between the 17th of January and the 10th of March. You can win some Home Assistant Green, some Home Assistant SkyConnect, and a chance to be on a livestr…

Update your Zigbee devices with Home Assistant 2024.2

Home Assistant's February release was the biggest release ever, with over 1500 contributions. This is also reflected in this release's enormous list of new features and integrations.

One of our goals is to help keep your home up-to-date and secure. This can sometimes be difficult as not all devices have access to the internet. One category of those devices is devices using the Zigbee protocol. To help bridge this gap, one of the features introduced in this release is support for Zigbee device updates.

Screenshot showing an Zigbee device connected via ZHA being updated.

Home Assistant will automatically match your Zigbee devices with our device firmware database, and with a single click, users can update their devices.

There is a lot more in this release, so take a look at the full release notes:

2024.2: More voice, more icons, more integrations, more... everything!
Improved drag ’n drop in automations, proximity, custom Assist responses, export your data, ZHA firmware updates, Matter diagnostics and actions, icons everywhere, and more!

Nabu Casa joins the Z-Wave Alliance

With Nabu Casa and Home Assistant, we have a vision for the smart home that we call the Open Home. We believe smart homes should be built around privacy, choice, and sustainability.

Smart home standards fit this vision well, and Z-Wave is one of them. For the last few years, we've invested heavily and have been the main driver behind Z-Wave JS, an open-source implementation of Z-Wave that Home Assistant and many other projects and products use.

However, our ambitions for Z-Wave JS are bigger than just making sure we have a rock-solid Z-Wave implementation. We want to make it easier for companies to develop Z-Wave controllers and grow the Z-Wave ecosystem. A bigger ecosystem means it's more appealing for manufacturers to make Z-Wave devices, which results in more choices for our users. And as Z-Wave works locally, it is a local choice.

Now, we've taken the next step and joined the Z-Wave alliance to get Z-Wave JS officially certified!

Nabu Casa joins the Z-Wave Alliance
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.

Community highlights

R2-D2 Droid Voice Assistant

We all loved Paul's droid voice assistant that we showcased last year, but abrakhim's entry to our Voice Assistant contest takes it even further!

Avoiding country music

Don't like country music? Neither does Detz, who used GPT4 and Node-RED to detect when country music is playing in his house and automatically change the track.

Home Assistant on a multicooker

Obviously, our community will not rest until every touchscreen in the house can control Home Assistant. Thanks, Antonio di Stefano!

In other news

Enjoy this newsletter?

Forward to a friend, sharing is caring.

Anything else? Hit reply to send us feedback or say hello. We read everything!