Assist is Home Assistant's first step in becoming more conversational

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I will earn a commission, at no additional cost to you. Read my full disclosure here.

We've known for some time that the developers of Home Assistant will be focussing on voice control in the coming months. Despite the likes of Google's Assistant, Amazon's Alexa, and Apple's Siri not setting the world on fire, the hope is that a local only solution will convince people to give voice control another go. With only the second release of the year, Home Assistant Core 2023.2, we are getting a taste of what is to come.

After upgrading, the first change you are likely to notice is the new chat icon in your header, next to the search icon. Click on it, and a chat dialogue will appear. This is where you get to meet Assist.

What can Home Assistant's Assist do?

Assist can currently handle the basics, such as controlling lights and adjusting brightness. You can also ask it questions related to Home Assistant, like the status of a sensor. Keep in mind, Assist is not meant to replace tools like Google, it can't tell you the capital of a country or the sound a cow makes.

A screenshot of Home Assistant's Assistant called Assist.

My initial thoughts on Assist (or Assistant, as the window name implies) are that it's intriguing to see where Home Assistant is headed, but it's not quite ready to replace the Dashboard yet. As it stands now, the conversation flow is quite slow, and it can take a bit of time for a command to be executed.

Excited about voice control? Get your aliases ready!

Despite not being a new feature, you might have so far not looked into giving your entities aliases. These will help Home Assistant know what you are talking about, and can be set up in the entities' settings. What is new, are aliases for areas, which are set up in the same way. If you are excited about voice control, now might be the time all of your devices you want to control have the appropriate aliases set up.

A screenshot of the Home Assistant Dashboard showing how aliases for entities can be set up.

Integrating Assist with OpenAI

Not a day goes by without an outlet mentioning OpenAI, the makers of DALL-E and ChatGPT. Today is no exception. A new Home Assistant integration allows you to use the power of GPT-3 as a conversation agent. While the performance is much improved, it does come with a major downside: it can only answer questions about your smart home and not execute any commands. In addition, Home Assistant will have to share details of your setup with a third party, as this integration can't be run locally.

Keep an eye out for the Year of the Voice stream

Currently, there isn't much more information I can give you. Though later today there is a stream scheduled which will hopefully tell us more.

YouTube video

A portrait photo oif Liam Alexander Colman, the author, creator, and owner of Home Assistant Guide wearing a suit.

About Liam Alexander Colman

is an experienced Home Assistant user who has been utilizing the platform for a variety of projects over an extended period. His journey began with a Raspberry Pi, which quickly grew to three Raspberry Pis and eventually a full-fledged server. Liam's current operating system of choice is Unraid, with Home Assistant comfortably running in a Docker container.
With a deep understanding of the intricacies of Home Assistant, Liam has an impressive setup, consisting of various Zigbee devices, and seamless integrations with existing products such as his Android TV box. For those interested in learning more about Liam's experience with Home Assistant, he shares his insights on how he first started using the platform and his subsequent journey.


Leave a comment

Share to...