Why Home Assistant?

Why Home Assistant?

The below notes are notes I compiled before making my first youtube videos. I was initially going to do a multi-part series about HomeAssistant and strayed slightly from the plan. You'll likely recognize some talking points but I figured why not share it? It's already written - albeit not professionally for the public but maybe it'll answer a question or encourage a new idea for you!

  1. What is HomeAssistant?
    • Home Assistant is a Free and Open Source software that can be hosted locally to control your smart home and smart home devices. Think of it as the brain to do the thinking for your connected devices.
  2. Why Would I want HomeAssistant?
    • One App to Rule them All
      • Consolidate your day to day app interactions to just one, one that you have complete control over what you see and how you use it.
    • You already have some smart products or are thinking about buying smart products, Home Assistant works immediately with thousands of pre-existing products and can bring you additional functionality for no additional cost.
    • HomeAssistant is massively powerful and can help you with:
      • Basic and Complex Automations
      • Powerful Dashboards
      • Running popular programs such as a VPN, Network-Adblocker, and more
    • HomeAssistant has a HUGE community that is creating new features, fixing bugs, and adding new devices all the time. Everyone is friendly and willing to help if you have an issue.
      • There are tons of existing resources - your issue is likely to have already been resolved.
    • Home Assistant is locally hosted which can bring additional security and faster response times from devices if properly configured. Full control over your data and some devices have local control support to further reduce cloud server reliance
      • In addition to the additional security, locally hosted devices require no subscription, will never have their service discontinued, and are not susceptible to user information leaks.
        • Insert headlines about smart services shutting down and data leaks
        • Refer to services increasing prices or reducing functionality (See Wyze, Arlo, Ring, Nest, Blink, etc. )

 

  1. What can HomeAssistant help me do?
    • Turn on your backyard lights only when you or your dog is out
    • Turn on your sprinklers when your cameras detect a squirrel digging in your yard
    • Automatically turn on your lights when you walk in a room
    • Dim your living room lights when you start a movie
    • Turn off your house’s water supply when a leak is detected
    • Automatically lock your doors and arm your security system whenever you are in bed
    • Receive facial recognition, package detection, and remote camera access without a monthly fee
    • Track your power consumption and turn off appliances when you are away or asleep
    • Provide a Free VPN to access all your devices remotely - at no additional cost
    • Home Assistant makes all of this and so much more possible by combining your smart home devices into one place and providing the smarts to help make it all happen.
  2. Pros:
    • Free, Open Source, POWERFUL
    • Emphasis on local processing
      • Faster responses
      • Limit data leaving your home
      • Will continue to work without an internet connection
    • Create Automations that connect multiple products and devices
    • One app to rule them all
    • Compatible with your Alexa, Google Home, Apple Home, and most smart home products
    • Extremely customizable
    • Huge Community
      • Easy to get support
      • Latest products are supported
      • Lots of resources on the internet already
  3. Cons:
    • Requires Dedicated Hardware
    • Intimidating for new users
    • Disbelief at benefits
    • Simply Overwhelming
    • Requires configuration

 

  1. Recap:

" I am getting ahead of myself on this video trying to show all of the features that I think make HomeAssistant great, but you might not yet be sold on it. To recap, :

  1. What?
    1. Free, Open-Source software to connect your smart home devices and give you total control
  2. Why?
    1. Make your existing devices smarter with new automations, combine multiple devices to work together, save money by not paying for subscriptions, and best of all: it's FREE
  3. HOW?
    1. Follow along with this series to learn how to install, set-up, and configure your Home Assistant Smart Home
  4. Mindset shifts
    1. Script:
      1. " Before I wrap up this video I want to talk about some things that I call "Mindset Shifts"
      2.  Many of you have only used the apps and devices for simple tasks like unlocking a door or changing the thermostat without getting out of bed. Many of you have never installed custom software or operating system such as Homeassistant like we are going to do in future videos. This might be a totally new experience and This is where the mindset shift comes in.
      3. Shift your mindset from using what is given to creating what I need. You don't need to go crazy at the beginning, identify a use-case or a want and work towards solving that in simplest terms.
      4. Don't be afraid to break out of your ecosystem, just because you've been using Amazon Alexa approved or Google Home Approved products up until now, do not feel that you have to. With homeassistant you should check for compatibility first but once you've verified it is supported, go try that competitors device. Go get that cheap sensor that you think looks better. Don't be afraid to explore the unknown. - just make sure someone has it working on the homeassistant forums before ordering
      5. Don't be afraid to break things! I'll show you how to keep backups so you can take a leap of faith every now and then and know you'll be fine if it doesn't work out.
      6. Remember, it's a journey. Things will rarely work the first time, be resilient, keep at it, and work to dial things in. For example, If you decide to try motion activated lights, I guarantee there will be a time the lights turn off on you. You'll have to keep making adjustments until it works. On the same note, be upfront with household members and be open to receiving feedback to make sure it works for everyone.
      7. It's easy to get carried away when things start to work well. I advise you to pace yourself! Don't buy a bunch of devices all at once and spread it out so you have time to actually integrate them into your smart home. For example, I bought a lot of zigbee devices all at once and I still have a drawer full of sensors that I don't know what I am going to do with.
      8. My last comment is about internet connected devices. Wifi is not always the best route for smart home devices. Don't be reliant on a 3rd party companies and their servers for your devices to work. Companies get hacked, go out of business and add fee's. iHome and Insteon left their customers stranded when the servers turned off post-bankruptcy.  I would strongly encourage certain devices be local, even if it's on wifi via Tasmota or MQTT. For devices that will have a large quantity of such as light bulbs, motion, moisture, or temperature sensors - I encourage you to explore Zigbee and Z-wave. I'll cover more of this in a future video.
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