Today something rather interesting was announced - the new cloud component for Home Assistant.
There’s a few things that I think make this interesting:
- It’s going to make it easier for people to set up integrations like Alexa (which they’re launching with), Google Assistant, and others
- It will provide the Home Assistant developers with a stable cash flow
I’ll tackle these in reverse.
Like so many open source projects, the developers are doing development in their spare time, and funding the forums and other hosting from their own pocket. The first is largely unavoidable, but the second is always going to be an issue in the long term (and the recent influx of new users of Home Assistant has caused forum issues).
With a steady cash flow, it’ll help ensure that the forums can be returned to stability. If there’s enough it’ll also mean that there could be paid development. That opens up many possibilities, and if well handled will be a major benefit to the project.
Ease of Integration
Setting up integrations with Alexa, IFTTT, Google Assistant, and many others can be time consuming and full of problems. Google Assistant in particular is a source of frustration for many. Providing an easier way of people integrating cloud services is a major bonus, and something that other platforms provide.
It’s being launched as US only, and the initial messaging on that wasn’t very clear. It sounds like the problem is linked to AWS, and it being more complicated to set it up for non-US vs US only. Fingers crossed those issues will be tackled before it exits beta, and it’ll be accessible to the whole planet.
It’ll also be interesting to see how the $5 a month sits with people. It’s the equivalent of a couple of cups of coffee shop coffee a month, so it’s not really that expensive. There will be many I’m sure who’ll complain that they have to pay for convenience. Again, it sounds like this is just the starting point, with other tiers being an option in the future.
As a starting point for the cloud service, it’s going to be imperfect. It has to start somewhere, and it’s easier for the developers to start with a single service, and in this case that leads to it being easier to serve to a single country. Here’s hoping it improves and expands as effectively as Home Assistant itself has.