For the Smart Home server that will drive the user interface, automations, and other cool stuff, we will be installing Home Assistant onto a Raspberry Pi and connect it to your home network. This can be done on a Pi Zero W but the setup and server runs much faster on a Pi 3B+ connected to your home router via Ethernet.
Basically this is the easiest and best way to set up a Smart Home Hub like this, as the Disk Image we will use automatically configures the server when connected to the internet through Ethernet. By using a wired connection for the server, we can be sure that we get the fastest and most reliable connection possible for our Smart Home.
To get this going, we will create a boot disk using a MicroSD card. This MicroSD card will then go into the Raspberry Pi, which is then connected to your home Router via Ethernet. After about 20 minutes, you should be able to access the user interface from any device connected to your home WiFi by simply going to http://hassio.local:8123
Here are the things we will need to get your server up and running with a Pi Zero W:
If you plan to use this server for an actual Smart Home server, It is worth the extra expense to get the Raspberry Pi 3 B+. That is what I use to control all 27 IOT devices in my home.
Here are the things we will need to get your server up and running with a Pi 3 B+:
As for the Software tools, you will want the following (Windows-based, there are similar tools for other OSes).
SD Card Formatting tool:
SD Card Boot Disk tool: