Investing in the Open Home
6 min read

Investing in the Open Home

Investing in the Open Home by Paulus Schoutsen using Dall-e
Investing in the Open Home by Paulus Schoutsen using Dall-e

Another month, another cloud-based smart home product that gets shut down. All the more reason to really invest in the Open Home concept that we are building. It's also the reason that we constantly invest more and more into products, companies, and people that are working towards a better Open Home. Today we talk about Home Assistant's new release, what investments Nabu Casa is making, and the new Works with Home Assistant partner program!


Home Assistant August Release

The August release of Home Assistant is now available! This comes with a ton of new integrations and features that you will definitely want to check out. We really took this month to finalize a feature that we have been talking about for quite a while. The Repairs Dashboard! We discussed it internally and with the Home Assistant developers for a while to insure we went about it in the right way. Check it out!

Monitor and Repair your system!

Examples for the Repairs settings page

The Repairs dashboard is meant so that users will need to worry about what is going on in their system less. No need to check logs or deprecations or even breaking changes as we will now notify you when these are happening. This means personalized notifications based on the integrations you have set up to let you know what is changing, why it is changing and how to fix it. Everything in the repairs dashboard is fixable. Either by Home Assistant with a push of a button or we will make sure to give you all the information you need to fix it yourself.

New and Improved Map Colors!

Showing the new map panels and the color changes

Maps are now a lot easier to look at and use. We had a few users notice that our map colors didn't contrast well with each other. It was a bit hard to read or see the difference between roads vs rivers, houses vs offices, etc. We took that as a sign to look at a new color system that makes each individual component stand out so that it's easier to see what you need to.

Bluetooth Updates!

The latest release of Home Assistant elevates Bluetooth to a primary protocol supported by the platform. It will make it very easy for integrations that work via Bluetooth to be discovered and set up connections. There are a lot of Bluetooth-based devices out there which will now be unlocked. This includes some integrations that took part in the new Bluetooth system already: SwitchBot, Govee, Xiaomi, and more!

See all release notes...

Works with Home Assistant partner program

Showing the Works with Home Assistant badges
Works with Home Assistant Badges

In July, Nabu Casa launched the Works with Home Assistant partner program. This program aims to allow users to easily identify products they can purchase that will work with Home Assistant. The badge will even allow a user to easily identify how the device integrates with. The hope is that users can more easily buy products with confidence instead of looking over forums and social media on where to find the best products.

Leviton was announced as the first partner in the Works with Home Assistant. Focused on their Z-Wave products, Leviton is committed to their products working with Home Assistant as well as providing firmware for automatic updates coming to Home Assistant soon.

See all the details in the blog post!

Why investing in open source is the way forward for the Open Home

Nabu Casa is the company we started to provide the Home Assistant Cloud service. It is not like a traditional company that seeks to maximize value for its investors or shareholders – it has no investors and relies solely on the income of its subscribers. Our promise to them is that the money received is used to further build out the Open Home so that everyone can access a privacy-focused smart home that keeps their data locally.

To do this, we maintain and further improve the building blocks that make up the Open Home.

The first project that we invest heavily in is Home Assistant. We make sure that the Home Assistant project runs smoothly and continues to evolve. It’s a big project with a lot of activity and steering such an organization, doing monthly releases, and keeping it secure and up-to-date is a big task that requires multiple full-time employees.

Home Assistant is the brains of your smart home, but it is itself powered by many different open-source projects. Nabu Casa makes sure that those projects also receive adequate investments. Early this year we employed Dominic, the founder of Z-Wave JS, to continue building out Z-Wave JS. Last month Nikita joined Nabu Casa to work on the Zigbee integration (ZHA) in Home Assistant as well as the python package, Zigpy, that powers Zigbee for everyone. Last month we also hired Dave Lech, a co-maintainer of Bleak, for a week-long project to improve Bluetooth support in Python which now powers the new Bluetooth integration in Home Assistant.

In July we launched the Works with Home Assistant program to work with manufacturers to ensure the best user experience for their products in Home Assistant. As part of this collaboration, we make sure these improvements flow back to the underlying open source projects like Z-Wave JS. Any other project relying on Z-Wave JS benefits from our collaboration with Z-Wave device manufacturers!

Besides projects that power Home Assistant, Nabu Casa also has full-time employees running and maintaining ESPHome, ESP Web Tools, and Improv Wi-Fi to make open source microcontroller firmware as accessible as possible. Our multi-year effort has paid off and we see more and more products being offered by brands that are a breeze to set up and use.

Investing in open source IoT building blocks means that it will become easier to start new smart home projects and products that evolve around privacy and local control – the values that make up the Open Home vision. More adopters mean more resources being invested to make these building blocks even better.

Every time a user decides to build their smart home around local control and privacy, it is a win because it sends a signal to manufacturers that local control is important and their products should support it. Until privacy and local control is the default for smart home products being sold, there is work left to do.


Home Assistant Yellow Shipping

Showing some images for the shipping of the Yellow

The Home Assistant Yellow Standard and Power Supply Kit have shipped! There has been a ton of hard work over the past month finalizing and producing the Home Assistant Yellows in order to ship out over 2,000 orders! You can still get yours today if you order on the Crowd Supply page! You can see the whole update on the shipping and the Power-over-Ethernet kit here.

Community Highlights

Other noteworthy news

  • Thread 1.3 was announced which will now allow your HomePod Mini, Echo, and Nest Hub to work together in a single Thread network. Thread continues to work towards a more Open Home with their interoperability. (Jennifer Tuohy, The Verge)
  • Shelly had a great birthday last month. They celebrated with new product announcements!
  • Hive security products will no longer work in 2023. Hive is another example of what we are seeing when you buy a product that relies so heavily on a cloud service that you aren't paying for. (Jon Porter, The Verge)
  • Bearded Tinker is putting together his own Home Assistant meetup on August 24th. He is currently gauging interest so if you live near Croatia check it out!

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