With the base system hardware decision out of the way, we need to decide which software we are going to use. In this blog post we are going to talk about which underlying OS we are going to use. Which Home Automation software package to use and for the “Heart” of the whole system, which A.I. Personal Assistant to use. Although I mention all three of them already in the previous posts, I would like to elaborate a bit on the “why’s”.
Operation System / software
To prevent myself for getting into a software dependency nightmare while connecting all the different (larger) software packages together plus the fact that I choose an Raspberry Pi as main board, I choose a mainstream Linux OS.
In this case Debian and so because of the Raspberry Pi it became Raspbian. I think that I will get the most “freedom” with this OS and possibly the least installation / software tie up issues. For a while, I was in doubt whether I should also work with Docker containers, but given the fact that I will probably have to make the different hardware (mic, Zigbee, Z-Wave, etc.) available to various pieces of software that would all resides in different containers at the same time, I think Docker will give me more headache than benefits. So for now; Just plain Raspbian Stretch.
I have looked at A LOT of different possibilities in regards to Home Automation software. OpenHAB, Domoticz and Home Assistant being the biggest packages being looked at. Both OpenHAB and Home Assistent have already an addon for MyCroft integration, however during that research phase, Ubiquiti decided to hire the main developer of Home Assistant. I know Ubiquiti as I already have some hardware of them in my house and loving it. Great company that makes great products, so if they hire the main developer that means they will later on have great Home Assistant integration into their products. Win-Win, so that made the decision automagically. Although the decision is made to use Home Assistant for all home automation related aspects the whole installation and configuration of it will be at the very end of the installation process. The first step to get done is the next piece of software for the A.I. Speech Personal Assistant – MyCroft A.I.
A.I. Personal Assistant
I have looked at the three most obvious options. The first two being Alexa and Google Assistant of course. They will work and there is enough information available online to get the software running on a Raspberry Pi. However fully closed source and with NO efforts for privacy what so ever, these two aren’t really options. I know there are some other (older) personal assistant software packages out there, but none of them really made me enthusiastic. And then of course there is the third option MyCroft A.I. Now those guys DO make me enthusiastic!
I will do a separate blog post about MyCroft A.I. later. Telling a bit more about the company, the software, their products, etc. However, there is one aspect that I would like to share with you right now: You can invest in the Company! I strongly believe that, investing into that company at this stage, is like investing in Apple Inc. at the time they where creating those ugly, different color Television / Computer things.
Nobody knew who they where other then the stuff they did under their Macintosh brand. If you would have invested a few hundred dollars back then, it would have made you a millionaire now! Just saying 😀 Of course investing in a innovative company in their early stages is always considered a high risk investment, so you should only invest with money to spare as you could loose it all. However, if you would ask me. (If I only had the bucks to spare…)
Next up, getting started with the base system…