Here’s how I consolidated my smart home using Home Assistant – Android Authority
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority
While a smart home certainly isn’t a necessity, a smarter home can make all the difference in convenience, control, and even power savings. As a lifelong tinkerer, I’ve been on the connected home bandwagon for close to a decade. In fact, the idea for an automated household struck me while building a smart city model for a high school project.
The advent of devices like the Amazon Echo and Google Home around 2014 was the push that it took for me to dive in and implement smart lights, water heaters, air conditioners, and even infrared blasters for vintage equipment that couldn’t be made much smarter.
However, six years of idiosyncrasies later, it has been clear to me for a while that it was time for a better solution. Enter Home Assistant.
What’s the problem with a voice assistant or smart display?
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
Voice assistants are cool and they work just great for many day-to-day interactions. However, what they offer in convenience, they lack in granular control. Want to control multiple lights? Well, you’d better have created a group for them. Or how about controlling music playback in multiple zones? Good luck remembering exactly what you named them.
Voice-first interfaces rapidly become annoying once you’ve crossed a few basic lights and switches.
Dealing with Google Assistant Routines is alright as long as you restrict them to a select few, but quickly become a nightmare once you have more than a dozen or so. The setup flow too is woefully inadequate for power users. Need multiple triggers for a routine to activate? You’re out of luck. Sure, if all you need is a switch to work on a timer or basic automation, routines will have you covered. However, it is very clear that the system is designed for the average customer who might have a few smart devices and similarly limited requirements at best.
Read more: Amazon Echo vs Google Home: Which is better right now?
What really pushed me over the edge, however, was the extremely basic touch screen interface of smart displays. I invested in both the Google Assistant and Alexa ecosystems expecting touch-first controls for my connected devices. Instead, the ground reality is a touch interface tacked on to the existing voice-based assistant. For example, on average, it takes four taps to get to the Google Hub’s smart home page and additional taps to control them. Meanwhile, even the latest Echo Show takes seconds to respond to touch and displays precious few toggles despite ample screen real estate.
Long story short, neither system cuts it if you need quick access touch-based control of your own smart home.
What is Home Assistant?
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority
Home Assistant is a piece of software that comes in many flavors, but at its core, it’s an operating system designed specifically to be a control system for any and all connected devices on your home network. The operating system ships with support for several ecosystems like Google Cast out of the box, but can be extended to include Xiaomi’s products, Samsung SmartThings, and thousands of other smart devices.
Once booted up, head over into the integrations and add-ons tab to loop in your smart devices into the hub. The operating system …….