M&D Debrief: Home Assistant update, home automation integration, and testing new gadgets!

Sorry, I'm a little late with the debrief, but May has been a very busy month :/ So, here's the debrief not for the week, but for the month of May, evaluating home automation, smart home, finance and of course high tech. So, there are quite a few interesting articles to discover!

The month began with the Home Assistant 2024.5 update, which brings several interesting new features: the ability to rename devices on the energy dashboard, create assistants directly from the automation editor, new features for table data (collapse and expand groups, assign multiple zones). Tile maps have also been improved with locking controls and feature reordering. Additionally, voice calling via ESPHome has been improved to improve audio reliability. A lighter update than previous versions, but useful!

Since I personally am migrating my entire system to Home Assistant, I have shown you several guides. The first explains how to integrate Cartelectronic's WES server with Home Assistant to monitor energy consumption. It details basic requirements, configures necessary sensors and files, as well as adjusts settings for optimal compatibility with the Home Assistant Energy dashboard. This tutorial is aimed at those who want to centralize and monitor their energy data via Home Assistant, providing a complete and customizable solution.

The second guide explains how to integrate the Ajax alarm system with Home Assistant. Two methods are offered: a simple method, using the Ajax Home Assistant plugin over the SIA protocol, which provides limited integration; And more complex ones via Jeedom and MQTT, allowing full integration of all Ajax sensors into Home Assistant. This advanced method requires installing Ajax and MQTT plugins on Jeedom, then configuring the devices in Home Assistant for optimal management of alerts and home automation scenarios.

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Then another guide explains how to install Frigate, a video surveillance solution, on your NiPoGi GK3 Plus mini PC. With its 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage, this efficient, compact little PC is perfect for frigate hosting. The tutorial covers installing Debian Linux, Docker, and Frigate, with tips on improving performance, including using the Google Coral key for object recognition. Detailed configuration allows you to turn this mini PC into a powerful standalone video surveillance system.

Several hardware tests have been published.

We first discovered the Kospet Tank M3 Ultra connected watch, designed for outdoor enthusiasts. This powerful and affordable watch stands out for its durability, an impressive 10-15 day battery life, and tons of features like sports tracking, health monitoring, and useful tools like a compass and altimeter. It is also waterproof and certified to IP69K and 5ATM, offering excellent value for money.

Next comes a rather surprising product: the Moonstone Diatomite Bath Mat, which impresses with its absorbent, antibacterial and anti-slip properties. It is easy to maintain, dries quickly and maintains a hygienic environment, preventing risks related to residual moisture on the feet. Although its design is limited and fragile, it offers unparalleled comfort and hygiene, making it a bathroom essential.

Finally, we tested the Bluetti AC70 portable battery, which despite its small size, offers 768Wh of capacity, and 1000W of power. We've covered installation, multiple charging ports, and performance, including fast charging capability and a mobile app for remote management. The battery offers value for money and versatility for home and outdoor use.

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Speaking of energy, an expert from Germany brought us an article exploring this country's ecological transition, a frequently cited model. The country aims to reach 80% renewable energy by 2030 and climate neutrality by 2045. Key initiatives include renewable energy legislation, reducing dependence on fossil fuels, and supporting solar installations and electric mobility. Despite the progress made, challenges remain, including increasing gas consumption to compensate for the decline in coal use.

Let's get back to home automation, with the announced Matter 1.3 update, which improves electricity and water management, integrating energy consumption monitoring, electric vehicle charging stations, and water meters. It enhances interoperability with players like Tuya, expands support for home devices, and introduces native scene management for custom automations. This release promises a simplified user experience and seamless integration of connected devices.

Finally, Amazon introduced the new Blink Mini 2, a compact and affordable security camera. Equipped with color night vision, people detection, and extended field of view, it provides enhanced surveillance. Its versatile design allows for indoor and outdoor use. Integrated with Alexa and privacy options, it's great value for money, starting at €39.99, with an optional subscription for advanced features.

Good plans for now

This week takes place Domo Days, which brings about many promotions on home automation. We have selected an option for you for the connected home:

That's it for this week!

With that said, I hope you all have a great weekend!

Samantha Arnold

<p class="sign">"Web fanatic. Travel scholar. Certified music evangelist. Coffee expert. Unapologetic internet guru. Beer nerd."</p>

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