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What’s new in Home Assistant 2023.2? Assist is working!

Home Assistant 2023.2 is released and is full of new features. Let’s have a quick look at what I think are the most important changes!

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Introducing Assist in Home Assistant 2023.2!

Home Assistant is focussing on voice assistance this year and they already realized a lot in this release. Assist is working now which means that you can start using voice assist now. I own an iPhone and it works with my iPhone using Siri. I needed to install the bèta of the companion app to get this to work during the beta period of this release, but I’m pretty sure it will be available in the official release of the companion app very soon. The Android app has been released and is available already. Not everything works, but turning a device on and off does work in some cases already. Just say “assist” to Siri and ask Siri to turn on or off a device. It’s still a bit picky about what it understands, but that will be better in the future. You can also test it using the UI. On my side, it was more responsive using the UI than when I used Siri, but it’s already a big step into the future.

Streaming History

The history graphs within history cards are now showing in real-time. This means they are streaming now which is very handy because you do not have to refresh the screen all the time if you are monitoring a value. Beware that this is not working in the history dashboard.

Changing the precision of a sensor

It’s now possible to change the precision of a sensor. This is really nice because before we had to create a template to achieve this. This saves a lot of work. If a sensor returns too many decimals, you can now change the precision in the entity settings of that sensor. Nice!

Grouping Sensors in Home Assistant 2023.2

It’s now also possible to group sensors in Home Assistant. This way you can combine sensors and perform a calculation on them. Unfortunately, there is still no Subtract option. This functionality also saves creating templates if you just simply want to perform a calculation between sensors. Just go to Settings->Devices and Services, click on the Helper tab, and create a Sensor Group. There’s also a non-numeric toggle that makes sure that if one sensor does not contain a value, the sensor will be ignored.

ESPHome Integration

The integration with ESPHome got better in this release. If you set up a new device in ESPHome you can add it to Home Assistant now without having to copy and paste the encryption keys. That makes integrating ESPHome devices into Home Assistant even simpler. Next to that, you can update your ESPHome device’s firmware straight from Home Assistant now!

Official Reolink Integration in Home Assistant 2023.2

Remember this video where I reviewed the Reolink Video Doorbell? If not, check it out ;). I showed how you can integrate the video doorbell into Home Assistant using HACS in that video. Well, the official Reolink integration supports that now too in the 2023.2 release of Home Assistant. So, you do not need that HACS integration anymore to integrate the doorbell and you can detect if someone pushes the doorbell with the official integration.

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More things

But there’s more new stuff in this release! You can now add aliases to areas and the new Assist feature supports this too. Now you can use different languages for an area. In my case, all my area names are in English, but I can add the Dutch aliases now so that my family can use the Dutch area names when using voice assistance.

And another really nice feature is that you can now change energy sensors from Watt hours to Kilowatt hours or other values in the entity settings. Previously you had to do that by creating a template. So this adds more functionality to the UI and you do not need to use YAML for this anymore.

For calendars, there is now a service that you can use to create a calendar event. So, now you can create a calendar event using automations. This can come in handy if you want to create a reminder for instance.

There are more changes that you can read in the release notes! See the link in the description below.

New Integrations

There are also a lot of new integrations introduced in this release. The integrations that are added are shown in this list. I think the Google mail integration is nice because you can now manage your Google Mail auto-responses from Home Assistant so you can change your auto-responses using automations. And since ChatGPT is very popular these days, the integration of OpenAI is kind of interesting too. It adds a conversation agent that can provide information about your house. It cannot control your house though.

Oh, and the Oral-B integration now supports the battery state… I can brush my teeth in peace now…

This release made me revisit all my templates and I could change some of them because of the new things in this release. Nice! Let me know in the comments what feature you like most and what feature you’re still missing.

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