Per the release notes, a major new feature is included in the new version 8.1:
• Instant Home Sharing: Alternative sharing method requiring local network access. New devices that join your network and install Roomie can join with one tap when this feature is active.
I thought I would cover a few more details of this here until the next update of the Setup Guide.
First, this feature has a switch in the Always-on Settings panel, and defaults to on. The “Instant Home Sharing” switch is visible on the Primary Controller only.
When active, any Roomie client on your local network that is not currently activated to the home of your Primary Controller will display a message within a few seconds asking if they would like to join the home. If the join is approved, they will instantly join the home. As compared to the iCloud Sharing process, this procedure is quite a bit simpler and faster.
There is one downside, unlikely to affect almost anybody, but good to be aware of for now. iCloud Sharing provides synchronization both local and remote. Doesn’t matter where you are, if you have network access, then you are synchronized. Instant Home Sharing is local synchronization only. Meaning it will work locally, and also over VPN to the local network of course. Since VPN is already required for Remote Access, there is no real downside to that.
For 99% of users, Instant Home Sharing is the new way to share with Family and Guests. From a licensing perspective, Instant Home Sharing is enabled for all subscriptions. The person joining your home must have their own Roomie subscription or be part of your subscription via Apple Family Sharing. For Unlimited subscribers or Perpetual homes, you may also join Guests to your home using Instant Home Sharing, and in that case they do not need their own subscription nor do they need to be part of your Family Sharing group. They do however need to be on your local network (or accessing via VPN) in order to effect said licensing.