The Open Home

The Open Home is our vision for the smart home. It defines the values that we put at the heart of every decision we make at Home Assistant. It’s woven into our architecture, licensing, community and everything else.

The Open Home is about privacy, choice and durability.

If you prefer video, skip to the end.

Privacy

Your home should be your safe space. A place where you can be your true self without having to bother about what the world thinks of you. A place where you don’t need to act differently to avoid an algorithm categorizing your behavior.

Privacy for the Open Home means that devices need to work locally. No one else needs to know if you turn on a light bulb or change the thermostat.

It is okay for a product to offer a cloud connection, but it should be extra and opt-in.

Choice

Devices in your home gather data about itself and their surroundings. Your data. Vendors shouldn’t be able to limit your access to your data or limit the interoperability of your devices with the rest of your smart home.

Choice for the Open Home means that devices need to make the gathered data available through local APIs. This avoids vendor lock-in and allows users to create their own smart home with devices from different manufacturers.

Durability

If there is one thing that technology firms are very good at, it is launching new products. However, maintaining the products and making sure they keep working is an afterthought for most. The result is that vendors can decide to no longer support your device, crippling it’s features or even prevent it from working at all.

As we install more and more devices in our home, durability is becoming more and more important. We shouldn’t have to buy everything new every couple of years because the manufacturer decided to move on.

Durability for the Open Home means that devices are designed and built to keep working. Not just this year, but for the next decade.

State of the Open Home

At the State of the Open Home, we presented our vision and how we, together with our friends from open source and academia, are working towards achieving it.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.home-assistant.io/blog/2021/12/23/the-open-home/
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Amen to that. Let’s draw the line with the “surveillance economy” at our home’s door.

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Great video and article.

This almost needs to become a brand mark for products that meet these goals, like the UK kite mark.

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this. 100% this

What a great write up. The values which make the foundation of technical products and services are often disregarded for the benefit of convenience. How heartwarming to see Home Assistant growing strong while still keeping a strong foundation. I am excited to see how the future unravels. Keep up the stellar work!

Uh… really? How are you going to enforce that for HA?

It’s a mature open source project and like many of those it’s driven by the interests and enthusiasms of developers. Those interests come and go and get increasingly obscure as the key issues of the project are resolved.

Don’t get me wrong, I am hugely appreciative of the effort developers put in, and I enjoy the tinkering needed to keep HA going, but in this forum people often present the same get out of jail free card when integrations are not quite trouble-free: “Developers are giving their time voluntarily” etc. etc.

How are you going to manage this?

Simple, continued development. Home assistant has always adapted to the changes imposed by hardware vendors. It may not always be a smooth process but the end result is usually positive. Sometimes It just takes a few months to fully transition.

There is a trusted team of developers & maintainers. There are several that could assume leadership if necessary. This is unlike some other projects where the lead determines the final product and, many times, excludes input from some other developers & users I know because I have experienced that.

In order for manufacturers to value durability, we as consumers also share responsibility to not continually push for the “latest new thing.” There is a reason the manufacturers are focusing on an annual rev of all their products, customers are expecting it now. It is difficult to shift both to longer intervals, but a good way to start might be for manufacturers to publicly commit to longer periods of software support and updates. Consumers that value that will prefer those products and support them.

Innovation may need to slow in this case and that is ok, we are starting to reach that stage in the Smart Home market maturity.

I disagree. Vendors are incentivised to make products that are not durable so they can sell you a replacement, hopefully for more money. Since people will not pay for support contracts on their devices, replacing failed devices is one of the few ways to maximize their profits. That is the true goal if any public traded company. Dishonest ohnes say it is for the user’s benefit, but that is a lie.

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Maximizing profit is also why vendors try to lock you in to their closed systems where possible.

It’s very nice. But unfortunately, sometimes, breaking changes happen, and not all authors of custom components support them. It would be great if several versions of HA backends would work in docker at the same time, and the frontend would collect them, while these versions of backends would interact through some kind of API that would be stable (not broken for at least 20 years)

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I really love the concept and the stuff Home Assistant and Nabu Casa does to make the Open Home happen.

But the name is very techy. In software development it means open source and in hardware it means, well I guess it means; plans that you can use freely in some form. But for the person not from a technical background, Open means unlocked or accessible to everyone. It’s sort of an opposite of security and safety. It could be interpreted as anyone can access your data or even your home. I just think the Open Home name could use another iteration to really appeal to the masses like Home Assistant is aiming to do.

Fair comment. Ironically Open Home is a means to achieve Closed Home;)