First the specs, then the release, and then CES 2023, it’s been a busy few months for Matter, the smart home connectivity standard. You can’t fill your home with Matter-ready devices just yet, but there are some interesting options in development. Here are some of the most practical, quirky, and viable pieces of gear that are (or will be) coming soon.
Some parts of the material are already here
If you wanted to start your smart home fresh this year with a focus on universal material-based compatibility, you already have a few pieces of the puzzle ready for you. Let’s go step by step, starting with your phone.
Your phone, whether iOS or Android, can scan a QR code or read the Bluetooth signal of a Matter-certified device. Most platforms support adding devices to the controller via an Android app, but only Apple’s HomeKit and Samsung’s SmartThings do support for iOS device registration. Amazon said it plans to add iOS registration for Thread-based devices this spring, but already supports devices over Wi-Fi.
Your controller, app, and ecosystem that collects some or all of your Matter devices and lets you read or manipulate them are also likely ready. Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Nest and Home devices and apps, Apple’s HomeKit, Samsung’s SmartThings, and open source systems like Home Assistant already support Matter devices.
Matter devices can communicate via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or Thread. If you’re looking at Thread devices, some of your existing hardware may already be working as a “border router” or range extender. These devices already have Thread baked into them.
- Nest Hub, second generation and Max
- Nest Wifi and Wifi Pro routers
- Apple TV 4K (2nd generation and later)
- Apple HomePod Mini
- Nanoleaf Shapes, Elements, and Lines panels
- Eero Network Routers, Wi-Fi 6 and newer
Amazon plans to add Thread border router capabilities to its fourth-generation Echo devices in spring 2023.
Actually using Matter right now is very confusing
The brave among us can technically scan a few expensive Matter devices and add them to a Matter-enabled controller with a Matter-enabled phone. Can, but probably shouldn’t. it’s not a very smooth process at the moment, and you can easily lose devices or routines from existing settings.
Kevin Toffel, writing for Stacey’s IoT blog, tried adding the Eve Energy Smart Plug and Eve Motion Sensor to the Google Nest Hub in mid-December with an iPhone 12 and Google Pixel 7 running their latest OS. options via Google. Home app. He eventually got to a point where both devices, previously only HomeKit, were available through both Apple and Google’s smart home systems.
To get there, however, Tofel had to print or save a copy of the new Matter QR code for his Eve plug and sensor. He then tried adding an outlet using the Eve and Apple Home apps, but they wouldn’t accept. The Google Home app did add the Eve sensor, and then Apple Home and Eve could add it too. Tofel had to factory reset the plug before adding it to all its apps. And he had to re-add an automation he had created to the Eve app because it was no longer connected to a known device.
Better wait for devices built around Matter’s design. That wait should only last a few months if the manufacturers stick to their promises.