RaspBerry Pi as a home automation switchboard: this is Amber

The Ultimate IoT Control Center

Nabu Casa is the company behind Home Assistant Amber, a device that makes use of the well-known Home Assistant system and that is intended to become the ultimate control center for the connected home.

And it is likely that if it succeeds, something that we do not doubt will happen, it will indeed be that: the ideal device for the connected home. Because it not only offers support for a multitude of devices of different brands and compatible with various communication standards and even platforms such as Alexa, Google Assistant or HomeKit. It also has the advantage of being a non-cloud-dependent solution.

What does this mean? Well, there are solutions like Alexa that are based on the web, so that you have an internet connection you cannot use its control options. Even if you are at home, you will not be able to turn off the lights because the request cannot go to the server and return with the response to that command.

This with Home Assitant does not happen. And, in addition, it also provides extra security for the same reason that it can be configured to work only locally. So we think you can already get an idea of ​​why many users are so excited about both the software solution and this new one at the hardware level.

What Home Assistant Amber offers

As we have told you, Home Assistant Amber offers hardware based on a Raspberry Pi CM 4 that will run the Home Assistant software to create a very versatile digital home control center. But the thing is not there, in addition to being ready for installation in the home, this small box adds a series of extras that make it even more versatile.

The main features of Home Assistant Amber are:

  • Raspberry Pi CM4 as a device in charge of managing the rest of the hardware and running the Home Assistant system
  • M.2 SSD expansion slot
  • Gigabit Ethernet connection
  • Two USB A ports
  • Module for connection of devices compatible with the Zigbee standard and support for future Matter standard

This is standard, but then you can add another series of accessories such as USB adapters that would provide it with connectivity to use Z-Wave compatible devices. This would further expand the number of IoT products that can be used. And be careful, because they are also working to support the new Matter standard.

Home Assistant Amber, price and availability

At the moment it is in the financing phase and the manufacturer itself has warned that due to the shortage of chips they cannot guarantee all the units they would like. Even so, if all goes well and the issue of chips and other components is solved, then production could increase. Equally, until mid-2022 they would not be shipped the first units.

About the price, for 149 euros those who support the project can be done with one. When you get to stores you may see the cost slightly increased, but that is something that will be seen. Even so, it would not be a bad price about 200 euros looking at the hardware.

Finally, although this device and its additional connections are what really matters, if you want to get familiar with Home Assistant, you can install it on a Raspberry Pi and begin to understand how it works. Because, yes, it has a multitude of options, but it is not as easy to configure as a more commercial product designed for Alexa, HomeKit or Google Home.

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