OpenHab Marketing is Lacking

Openhab really needs some you tubers. The opposition seems to do much better in this department.


Go for it put up a youTube. I will watch it.

I did one 2 years ago and have 272 views! Can’t retire on the royalties from that.

This one got 44 views: (mt toilet roll winder got more views)

I am on OH4 now maybe time to do a better one?


I am not a youtuber, but I found that a lot of YT publications which are made on regular basis have embedded a eye catching picture for start. Either a thinking face, surprised face or worse. :wink:
One of my friends suggested that there must be a reason for it.

I am not a youtuber either as you can tell…my toilet roll holder was a hit in the pandemic.
Maybe we(openhab users) should just put up videos of our installations?

Actually this sounds like I great ideea to attract brains into openhab. The more exposure you have the more chances you have to get something implemented or done.
Actually I tried to ask for something here in the forums to see for ideas and immediately got alot of feedback Wich means there is interest out there but as long as nobody talks about it most devs just implement it for their need but never bother releasing because it’s not finished or stable or easy to implement so it most of the time it left as is and nobody see it. But this has the opposite effect of having buggy setup or things running that have to be supported in the forums so more annoyed devs here having to reply to people that don’t understand what they are doing (people like me :triumph:)

Most, if not all the articles talking about comparisons that I have found, seem to favour HA. A lot of them contain (sometimes very old) information on openhab (e.g. paper ui).

There are so many Facebook groups on home automation, also on Reddit, etc. and they are full of HA users, whereas OH users only gathered, and are happy right here in one place.

Yes you see a lot of HA stuff but a lot of those users have node-red because the HA yaml is a nightmare.
I do look at the HA information to sometimes get clues on how device I have are configured.

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Couple of my personal thoughts in the topic. To be fair openHAB is older, however went over several phases which could historically cause confusion to end users. HA have also some sort of commercial entity which arose at some point and is still there. OH might have had similar situation at some point with Deutche Telecom/Qivicon supporting idea of Eclipse Smarthome. We all know how it ended, this is why OH become a community project again.
I am not entirely clear how it works for HA on daily basis as I don’t know to well their ecosystem. Given that Nebulacazs is able to monetize eventual users their focus is somewhat different, as (I guess) they have paid developers working in a continuous way. There is no evidence of such in OH which results sometimes in a frustration from both, end users and maintainers.

Given above differences there are some places where OH might be weaker and some places where it might be stronger. Putting it all together we end up in different popularity, “marketability” and potential to do to video for YT.

While it is possible to improve marketing and make OH more appealing to newcomers we can’t easily compete on all fields. Starting from Energy Management which slipped out from OH 4 release over many other aspects. We can obviously show that its possible to make it with OH, however we will still compare how to use apples to how to grow and then make use of these apples.
In order to make this effort not lost we shall first compare pros and cons of both, look for strengths of ours, where we are comparable and focus on promoting these. I don’t know - maybe OH speaks to LCN or Yamaha audio equipment and HA does not? OH cloud is free while theirs is not?

Lets look for fields where we are better and advertise these. Lets look where we are weaker, where are shortcomings of competitors implementation and then think how we can not only catch the gap but have a winning solution.


I don’t like comparisons but I agree that our community is lacking exposure. OpenHAB wins in many aspects, but on the other hand, would I rather have devs spending time working on videos or improving openHAB?

If I have to choose one of the other then I’m quite happy with the current state. The only reason to make videos is if there are people watching them.

Ah! Maybe we could have a place to share openHAB dedicated/related videos with the community? Instead of spamming them randomly, if we had a place to publish our video work, with sections like “how tos” “guides” “showcase” etc, the community could support those video makers by giving “watch hours”.

That would be a fair trade, could promote others to create and share content more too.

I would suggest that openHAB took a huge leap forward in usability when we got the current UI. (thanks Yannick) I started on OH2. Let us just say that back then, it wasn’t something easily approachable by a non-technical person. Version 3 brought us a highly versatile modern interface which is being constantly refined. With our current UI, IMHO, a non-technical person is capable of setting up a simple automation system. As they learn, the system can become quite capable. It is now completely possible to set up automation rules with no coding. Just using the ‘When’ ‘Then’ ‘But only if’ functionality of the UI rules interface, complex automation can be provisioned.

To me, from helping guys in the forum, I’d say the nomenclature needs to be more obviously defined. What is a ‘Thing’? What is an ‘Item’? What is a binding? What is a channel. I think the help documents are very good. I just think the connection between Thing → Channel → Item needs to be somehow more self evident. Either make exactly what a ‘Thing’ is super obvious or greatly simplify the concept. Example, you figure out how to install the Hue binding and discovery pops up… A THING!!! Here is your new first ‘Thing’. It is a light bulb ‘Thing’ which has all these great channels or… just drop the whole bloody concept and just make it so ‘We noticed you have a Hue lighting system, would you like to use it in openHAB’? yes ‘click’… here are all your lights and stuff’.

Obviously a massive simplification but just an idea
And then also, I linked to our YT channel above. We could sure use some folks to make some videos, perhaps start with super easy stuff we all take for granted but someone on the outside is like what?


First off, I would caution against characterizing any other automation system as “the opposition”. As OH is not a commercial product, and not likely to become a commercial product, we are not actually competing against any other entity. There are other systems that someone interesting in home automation can choose. Those systems may be a better fit for their needs or not.

The other side of this coin, is that, as a non-commerical, open source project, growth (in terms of user base) isn’t really a defined goal. The goal of a project like OH is usability for the devs and users. Growth is an added benefit because a broader and more diverse user base leads to a broader and more diverse pool of experience and ideas to draw from for future development. Other than that aspect, however, it doesn’t really matter to the project as a whole if OH has 200 users or 200,000 users.

That said, because there is at least this one advantage to a larger user base, when it doesn’t detract from or conflict with other development goals, finding ways to lower the entry requirements for OH is good.

Perhaps you remember from OH2. There was an attempt at something like this with auto generated linked items when an Thing was added. It was…a disaster. There was no end of problems experienced by users who couldn’t understand strange side effects related to items they didn’t know they had and it didn’t take long for the standard advice to be to disable that option for 99% of users.

The problem is that in a system as complex as OH (which, unfortunately it has to be because of the diversity of tech ecosystems that we want to be able to integrate), it is a very very hard thing to find a “default” set of choices that work for even a minority of users let alone a majority of them.

Our best course, in my opinion here, goes back to my first statement: “Those systems may be a better fit for their needs or not.” If by “marketing” you mean taking mindshare away from from HA because we see them as “opposition”, then OH doesn’t need this at all. On the other hand, if by marketing you mean being clear and accessible about what OH is and what user needs it fits so that a user can make an informed decision between the available services, then sure, this can always only be a benefit.

Now, I’m a crotchety curmudgeon when it comes to tutorial videos. I despise them, more or less universally. I do not want to spend 10 minutes listening to 9:45 of non-target information to get 15s of what I need when I can scan a well-written help file or example page for the info I need in 90 seconds or less. I recognize, however, that I am unusual in my loathing of video tutorials and that many people do find them useful.

I am however, a big fan of hands on learning. So, in my opinion what’s underutilized here is the demo server and things like that. The front page with the simulated mobile interface of the demo server is Awesome! It could, perhaps stand to be updated a little (e.g., jRuby is not mentioned in the language options), but I feel that more than watching someone else use their personal OH, gives uses an idea of what sorts of things could be done. Maybe it would be even more helpful to set up a series of different demos: e.g., one bedroom apartment demo vs a two floor home with pool demo. Also, what would take even the one demo we have to the next level would be a way to “see” it in action. At the moment it’s a great showcase for the UI but when a tester clicks on something, it’s just that, a click on a UI. What it really needs is some simulated environment that is visibly next to the demo so that when a rollershutter is opened in the UI there is a visual effect that demonstrates the “real world” linkage.

Couldn’t agree more, but again, there’s a balance here that is hard to find. For something as technical as OH is capable of being, there needs to be a highly technical way of discussing it. Lowering the entry requirements in terms of jargon is a noble goal but cannot occur at the cost of communicability. I’m not saying there’s an answer here. As a teacher of a very jargon filled subject, such a balance is my own personal philosopher’s stone, and I’m still searching for it…


Just weighing in here as a new user so I started with 4.0.2. I had looked at Home Assistant a while back but I got nowhere with it and got some quite rude and obnoxious “support” from a plugin maintainer. Gave up with it at that point as I was installing Control4 anyway!

I came across openHAB recently after I acquired some Zigbee kit and wanted to do something with it. I managed to get something up and running pretty quickly on my test server and then migrated that to a local SBC (so discovery worked properly). What initially frustrated me was the confusion over the UI/files config, as I couldn’t work out what all this stuff in the support forums and all over the documentation was. Reminds me of my early foray into Linux, every answer involved some sudo/CLI stuff when I just wanted to make a video play on my desktop!

I think for new openHAB users some clarity on what the files/code is and why it is still there would help and some categorising of posts on the forum would be a massive help as I’m sure it puts lots of people off as it is. Problem is Discourse doesn’t really lend itself to neatly sticking things in subforums like regular old forums (phpBB etc).

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Blah! Justin, I do remember the auto-link debacle.
That is not exactly what I meant but… get back to that.
First, I agree, we aren’t competing.
What openHAB offers is the ability to control just about any home automation device using one app basically but automation is complex and there will always be a learning curve.

openHAB is also ‘discoverable’ so I like your idea of the demo app being enhanced. I think the idea is explore, learn and go to the next level at your own pace.

I’ll concede that the nomenclature needs to stay, it is part of openHAB.
Then, we need to figure out a way to make what a… ‘Thing’ is… beyond obvious.
Create some way of explaining the relationship between Add-ons (bindings) and Things and channels and Items, maybe visually. I’m just thinking out loud. I feel like, it is part of openHAB, it must be almost part of how it works. You need a binding to make your brand new Thing do something. Once you have installed a binding and Discovered your brand new Thing in the Inbox, it must be obvious to a first timer that you need to hook an Item to a channel of your brand new Thing to get it to do anything. With openHAB, I’m sorry, but this is the first thing (excuse pun) that trips them up.
I’m trying to consider how to make the relationship and the nomenclature more self evident and more easily perceived. How to do so might be an interesting discussion.

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All it takes is someone volunteering to do it. It doesn’t fit my skill set. I’m nominally a moderator on the openhab subreddit but I just don’t go to reddit often enough. I’ll be more than happy to pass on the reins to someone who can be more active.

The way that the openHAB Foundation is incorporated as a legal entity in Germany precludes spending any money on anything that cannot be directly tied to communications and outreach. The foundation will never be able to fund a developer unless it completely changes its structure and what kind of legal entity it is. I’m not sure how feasible, I’m no lawyer nor have any knowledge in how this stuff works in Germany.

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This is an interesting topic.

I pondered over it for while, and while I agree with most being said so far, however, it is not hitting the nail on the head.

Nevertheless, I do agree that OH needs better exposure.

While it was said that “OH does not compete with anything”, I completely disagree.

We live in a world full of choices (too many IMHO). People make daily decision about everything. The question should be: “How are these decisions being made?” “Why do people arrive at a particular choice?” “What is driving people to requiring a decision in the first place?” Which usually leads to a problem statement.

That problem statement will be the hook to tackle the OH Awesomeness Problem”.

To state the other two of the three top reason why people chose something is for logical and emotional reasons.

Our personal bias should not matter when addressing the problem. What individuals don’t like or found problematic, is just that, personal. It may or may not be applicable to a potential wider audience.

In today’s world, over 80% of consumers say that post from their friends directly influenced their decision. Are we, as individual OH users, show-casing our successes with OH enough, on Facebook or Instagram, etc.? The key here is KISS (keep it simple stupid).

I saw a YouTube once, outlining the technologies being used to find electronic components in wall-mounted drawer components. It was awesome when it comes to the outcome. He would say “Find 5mm red LEDs”, and a LED would light up green behind one or two drawers. I was inspired and keen to build it. When I looked at the how to, I fell off my chair. While I understood that I have to put colour LED strips behind the drawer set, and need some controller, the actual technology requirements made me leave the site in an instant. Alexa, to talk to it; MariaDB to store information; IFTTT integration, a bunch of docker images, and Linux configuration, plus configuration of each of the umpteen cloud services used, passwords to manage, and the list went on… I think, I counted some sixteen software components to make this work. It would require a wizard to put this together.

In essence, any promotion of OH needs simple and easy to follow tutorials. Some of Rich’s and other’s tutorial may be well suited to be converted into a video presentation.

And herein lies the next hurdle. A lot of good videos are made by well-honed presenters who do this for a living. Ever seen a technical presentation. People just yawn and run.

40% of people are more likely to engage when pictures, videos and status updates are present.

For these presentations to promote the OH brand, it needs to be consistent. It requires a play book, corporate identity, something people instantly recognise. A logo, a certain colour scheme, and layout. The video, light and sound quality has to be of good quality; E.g., no shaky camera or crappy sound, no uhms and ahs. I usually hit the close button, when encountering the latter, almost in an instant, or read the transcript instead.

What I believe would need to happen to get OH out there:

Understand the user’s motivations for wanting do to home automation

Make the benefits fo the product evident in the demonstration.

Prioritise on things that deliver the benefits or outcomes.

Tell a story.

To illustrate the latter, Steve Jobs once said: “The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller.”

It has been raised in this forum that a road-map is missing; the reasons where explained, why a technical road map does not exist, due to the open source approach; and that’s fine. However, a product road map has two key functions, to explain the ‘why’ and the ‘how’. I am sure OH has a vision. A well-crafted road map helps dispel confusion, answer questions, sells ideas, improves engagement. The user is the hero in this story. Make the story relatable.

And most importantly, there is an impact on OH developers. Who wants to work on something less and less people use? (if this even holds up, as I do not know download figures.) Or wouldn’t a developer rather work on something that has longevity? … and a large audience?

Long story short: while I see great merit in some form of quality OH presentation, and also see a rather negative effect if not done properly… the question remains who puts their hat in the ring to actually do it.

I think YouTube videos would fall under that definition, hence, would be doable.


We did in corporation with bangertech and we will find a solution to get more out….

But it is not only producing videos, we need volunteers with ideas and preparing the content.

OK… I’ve seriously clicked past that page thousands of times to get to the forum and never noticed that is a live demo server!!!

I realize it says ‘Try me!’ plastered across the top but… is there anyway to make it more obvious that it is a live demo?

And yes it could (and should) be enhanced but it is still AWESOME!!!

Maybe when you click on it, a floorplan view pops up beside it and responds to stuff you do in the phone interface

@seime once pointed me to Google trends. Looks like intensity of search calls related to openHAB is at the same level as in 2014:

[source: google trends openhab]

I intentionally do not compare it to anything else, in order to see scale of change for openHAB itself. Clearly there is some up around release dates, and downs once everything is set. It is evident that trend line went down from its peak in 2018. Lowest points in 2021, 2022 and 2023 are smaller then in preceding year.
It could be that our software is so good that nobody needs to search it, but after putting other solutions in the graph it is clear that interest is fading away from openHAB towards them.

The end score is 3:83 (27x times) for HA.

This is sooo depressing… :frowning:

I only saw this today, as I use a direct link to the forum. Very nice…