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What’s new in Home Assistant 2023.1? The year of voice!

Home Assistant 2023.1 is released and is full of new features. Let’s have a quick look at what is new! Happy new year!

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The first 2023 release of Home Assistant is out now! Let’s see what it has to offer this time!

The year of voice

Home Assistant will focus more on voice command support this year. That’s great, but what can we expect? When I heard of these plans I was not very enthusiastic in the beginning because voice commands are basically the same as physical switches to me. I think a real Smart Home should respond to the actions that you perform in your house automatically without having to push any buttons or turn on and off your devices using your voice. But, then I started to think about it more and thought about use cases that could be very handy with voice assistance. I personally think that it would work great if voice assistance can be combined with actionable notifications. It would be great if your house welcomes you when you arrive home for example. I can imagine it would work a bit like this when I arrive home:

<Speaker says welcome>

Yes, I would love to have some coffee.

<speaker confirms>

Or for instance this use case…

<Speaker talks>

Yes Please

<Speaker talks>

Please set it to 21 degrees Celcius.

<Speaker talks>

This is not working yet in Home Assistant, but I think it will definitely be possible. Let’s see how it evolves this year!

Aliases for Voice Assistants

One of the first steps to take in voice control is to add aliases to entity names. This was already possible in YAML, but now you can do this using the UI as well. It’s a bit hidden, but when you open an entity and go to the Advanced settings, you’ll find an option to add aliases. You can even add aliases in your own language so that you can control your devices in multiple languages if you wish. Let me demonstrate this:

Okay Google turn on the bedroom lamp

And now in Dutch:

Oke Google, zet de slaapkamer lamp uit.

Awesome isn’t it?

Matter updates

There have been some updates on Matter. I do have some devices in my home that support thread and will support Matter in the near future, so when these are supporting Matter I will let you know more about the Matter integration.

Calendar Updates

It’s now possible to manage Google calendar events straight from Home Assistant. Furthermore, you can now edit existing calendar events on the local calendar as well. And… you can now add various recurrence rules like: once every two days, once every two weeks on Wednesday etcetera. Nice!

Translation & Automation editor improvements for entity attributes

You can now use all the additional properties of sensors in automations. For instance, my air conditioning has some presets that I can now use in the trigger of automations. So it’s now possible to create an automation that triggers if my air conditioning switches from the state Off to the state Heat for example. In that case, I can automatically turn down the radiator in that room so that I do not use electricity and gas at the same time.

Other changes

Next to these major changes, there’s much more added in this release. You can find them in this list, and there are some functionalities that I really like.

For instance, there’s a new Reolink Integration for your Reolink Cameras. It only supports the cameras and NVRs and does not support the button on the new Reolink video doorbell yet. I created this video about the new Reolink Video Doorbell too. That device is totally awesome. Check it out if you did not watch it already!

The Switchbot Lock is now supported as well in Home Assistant! Brilliant. Now I can finally test my Switchbot lock and create a video about it 😉

And there is a great new integration which is the Google Assistant SDK. This integration allows Home Assistant to interact with Google Assistant. With this you can send text commands to Google Assistant to control devices that are supported by Google Assistant, but not by Home Assistant. And you can finally broadcast messages to Google Assistant speakers and displays without interrupting music or video playback. This was a really annoying thing in the past and is now fixed!

I am really excited about the features of this new release. Let me know in the comments what feature you like most and what feature you’re still missing.

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I will see you soon!

Bye Bye.

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