We’re at the halfway point in the year now, and the Home Assistant team have really worked hard to keep up their software releases every month (I still don’t know how they keep adding to much each month!). If you’ve got a Home Assistant install, or you’re looking at running one, the chances are you’ve not been able to keep up with the amount of new features and updates. In this article I’ll run through the top 3 features released this year that you should take advantage of in your home, and why.
Back at the start of 2023, the Home Assistant team announced that this was their year of voice, with their goal for 2023 to allow users to control any of their devices in their language.
It is our goal for 2023 to let users control Home Assistant in their own language.Home Assistant Team
To achieve this, they first started by collecting all the possible “Intents” (think of these as things you might ask), adding the “Assist” function in the 2023.2 release.
This was the “easy” part of the voice integration, the “hard” part came in May’s release (2023.5), where they added the ability to create voice assistant pipelines, either using Home Assistant’s cloud service, or using local “piper” and OpenAI Whisper integrations. On top of this, they also included ESPHome and VoiP proof of concepts to demonstrate how this could be used.
The great thing here – is you don’t have to do anything to set this up. If you’ve updated your Home Assistant install recently you should already have all of the Assist and Voice Pipeline integrations you need – just start using it!
2. Matter Integration
This is the year that we finally received Matter, not only in Home Assistant, but also in many of our devices around the home. With the inclusion of Matter and Thread on Apple TVs, and Amazon Echo devices, as well as Aqara, Nanoleaf and Govee devices, it’s now even easier to get this working with your Home Assistant install.
Its too early to tell how this will end up working (here at the HAC home we’re yet to have any Matter devices – but I’m looking forward to seeing how these integrate with our Apple TV in the long run).
3. Various Quality of Life Updates
The Home Assistant team and community have been hard at work adding many improvements this year to the over all experience, these have included;
- A new integrations dashboard – Its now much easier to setup and manage integrations
- New light entities and colours – Now easier to set colours and change your smart lights.
- Services can no respond – Services can now respond with data – this fundamentally changes how many automations can be built
In this post we’ve just covered a few of the latest updates to Home Assistant in 2023 – be sure to check out some of our other posts, whether you’re just getting started, or you’re looking to optimise an existing Home Assistant install.