Research for the Open Home
7 min read

Research for the Open Home

Save the date: on April 20, we will be livestreaming the State of the Open Home 2024! Also in this newsletter: drag & drop, voice assistant contest winners, Raspberry Pi 5 support, and all of our favorite community highlights!
Research for the Open Home

Welcome to the March 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!

Let's start with a quick save-the-date! On April 20, we will be hosting the State of the Open Home. We're bringing in the big guns with speakers from Home Assistant, WLED, ESPHome, Zigbee2MQTT, Z-Wave JS, and Rhasspy. You don't want to miss this livestream.

State of the Open Home livestream will be held on Saturday April 20, 2024. 18:00 GMT / 20:00 CEST / 2:00 PM EDT / 11:00 AM PDT

Drag and drop!

A year ago, we kicked off a new effort: improve dashboards in Home Assistant. It was four years since the last major revamp of how dashboards worked in Home Assistant, and the system started to show its age. The once hip and modern Material look started to feel old and the rapid adoption of custom cards, like Mushroom cards, showed that the community felt this too.

The first step to solving a problem is to understand the problem and so the team, consisting of Madelena and Matthias, started with research. Lots. Of. Research. For example, they looked at popular dashboard posts on our forums, Reddit, and other sources and started to classify them. What are users actually building, and for whom?

Big ass table with for each dashboard their purpose, cards on the frontpage and other aspects of the dashboard.
Some of the analyzed dashboards

The team realized that users are not just making the dashboards for themselves. People are making dashboards for their whole family or housemates, and we need to make sure they succeed in creating a good experience for them. But what do our family members want from a dashboard? We didn't know, so we made sure that our user interviews covered both Home Assistant admins and their users.

The research gave us a great overview of the things people need. That knowledge allowed us to start building an improved dashboard experience based on a new section view layout, a design grid system with auto-rearranging pattern – oh, and drag-and-drop!

Want to try it out but don't use Home Assistant? Try the demo!

Animated GIF showing a user editing a dashboard and dragging and dropping cards around.
Drag-and-drop and predictable movement of cards.

What has been released now is just the beginning. We have a lot of plans and ideas on where to head next. But what we need now the most is to hear from you: do you like this direction? Does it solve your problems? What else do you need? Just hit reply to this email and let us know. We read it all. Another great way to help is to join the #devs_ux channel on our Discord or join the Home Assistant user research group.

To learn more about the research and the results, check the blog post:

A Home-Approved Dashboard chapter 1: Drag-and-drop, Sections view, and a new grid system design!
Wow! At long last!! The stars have aligned, and our experimental drag-and-drop feature for dashboards is finally here!

Home Assistant 2024.3

All the dashboard improvements I just mentioned can be found in this release. It's seriously cool. But hey, we wouldn't be Home Assistant if we didn't have a couple of other tricks up our sleeve.

One of the new things in 2024.3 is the option to add forms, powered by scripts with fields, to your dashboard. Use this functionality to quickly build forms to add a to-do item to a specific to-do list or announce a message on a predefined set of speakers.

The energy dashboard also learned a new trick and can now break down individual device usage per hour. This makes it instantly visible what devices are used the most at what time.

Screenshot showing the new energy stacked bar graph of individual devices over time.

To learn more about these and other features, check the release notes below.

2024.3: Drag ’n Drop it like it’s hot! 🎉
Drag ’n drop in your dashboards using a brand-new sections view and start up twice as fast! Run scripts with user input from your dashboards, a new energy graph for individual devices, new sentence…

Support the Open Home

If you like what we are doing, consider subscribing to Home Assistant Cloud by Nabu Casa. There are no investors involved; all money goes to hiring people to make Home Assistant, ESPHome, Z-Wave JS, Matter, Zigbee, and many other tools and projects better.

Voice contest winners announced

We started the year off with a voice contest, which wrapped up last week. And the submissions have been awesome. Give a creative community like ours the tools to create their own voice assistants and great things will ensue.

For links to the winners and the runner-ups, take a look at the blog post:

And the winners of our voice assistant community contest are 🥁 ...
We organized a voice assistant contest. Here are the winners!

Home Assistant now supports Raspberry Pi 5

After months of development and testing, the Home Assistant operating system team has published version 12, which includes support for the new Raspberry Pi 5.

Fun fact: it's been nearly a month since it came out, and already, 2% of all Home Assistant users run Home Assistant on a Pi 5. Now, that's an adoption rate! (data via Home Assistant analytics)

The release includes some other neat features, like backups that are twice as fast. Go check out the release notes and hit update inside Home Assistant if you haven't yet:

Raspberry Pi 5 support and more in Home Assistant OS release 12 & Supervisor update
HAOS 12 adds support for Raspberry Pi 5 and ODROID-M1S boards, with the Linux kernel updated to 6.6. Additionally, backups have become faster, and add-ons can now signal when they should not be aut…

Community highlights

Fake that you're home by having AI mimic your usual actions

This excellent idea was brought to life by Humam Al-Shami by routing his Home Assistant history to a SciKit-powered machine learning script that generates automations. His goal is to deter property theft by having your home look occupied using your behavior that it learned. Humam is a junior high school student, and his project won the Southeast Arkansas Science Fair. Congratulations Humam!

Remind yourself to put on a shirt before meetings

The ultimate WFH hack was shared by Alexey: get a reminder 10 minutes before a meeting to let you know that you should put on a shirt.

Home Assistant dashboards look great on a magic mirror

Daniel shared the magic mirror that he created for his bathroom. Home Assistant is used to show him the latest info.

Technithusiast uses to-do lists and ChatGPT to create a voicemail system to remind him of actions to do when he arrives home.

Only add unique to-do items

Andrew didn't like that the default Home Assistant to-do list would add an item even if it was already on the list. He shared a little script that will do nothing if the item is already on the list. Neat!

Community highlights – special e-ink edition

It's sometimes hard to pick the entries for the community highlights. So many great projects were shared that I decided to add a special section to this edition: e-ink projects. Enjoy these cool projects!

E-ink dashboard that reminds using AI artwork

Jan-Henrik tied all cool technologies together to show his reminders on his e-ink screen with a twist: the reminders are represented as AI-generated artwork.

E-ink calendar showing your Home Assistant events

Paul-Vincent created a neat little e-ink dashboard that pulls in calendar events from Home Assistant and shows them on an e-ink display powered by ESPHome.

Tech Dreg created an awesome tutorial to make your own e-paper dashboard

In other news

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