On our most recent IoT Podcast, Danny called in to our voicemail hotline with a very interesting question. He wants to know if platforms such as Home Assistant or OpenHAB could help support older smart devices that lose support from their manufacturers.
There’s no way to provide a blanket answer and say “Yes, all older or non-supported devices will work with the available open-source smart home platforms”. It’s really going to depend on the device. And even then, it depends on if the API, or application programming interface, for the device is kept alive.
APIs are used to have one device or computer send and/or receive commands from another. So when your automated light bulb is told to turn on by some trigger event, an app, hub or server has to tell the light to turn on. It does this via an API that supports that particular brand of bulb.
Typically a smart home hub routes these commands between devices and the services that run them. And yes, Home Assistant or OpenHAB could be the device that routes them. That’s provided there’s an available API or device handler (think of these as local APIs) for the device.
The good news is that many unsupported or legacy devices do have device APIs and service handlers available to them in these open-source platforms. However, we recommend checking the support forums of the platforms to see what devices are and aren’t supported. Developers often create device handlers and APIs for smart home products that they own and thus the entire open-source community benefits from their work.
But there are no guarantees that such services will exist for your devices. Nor are there guarantees that they will be updated as needed in the future. So again, you’ll want to do your homework.
To hear Danny’s question in full, as well as our discussion on the topic, tune in to the IoT Podcast below: