Ideal Future Setup with Matter?

It’s all very cool and hopefully they keep releasing more products that work like this. Being relatively cheap, and to be able to incorporate with GoVee, ST, HomeKit, etc. kind of seems to good to be true.

It’s a little fuzzy to me what the ideal setup is going to be way down the road in the future, but this looks promising.

What could be interesting is Matter spec 1.3 includes scenes support. Govee is known for their many preset scenes included with all their RGBW products. It would be VERY cool if they added Matter support for those scenes so they could be controlled from all the Matter controllers (assuming the controller also supports Matter 1.3).

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I hope Nanoleaf includes them too, but so far SmartThings has the scenes capability as not for production and the API has no support for the Scenes cluster either (which has been around at least since Matter 1.1 until their final release in Matter 1.3).

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If matter succeeds, which we probably won’t know for three or four years, then while no one knows for sure, I think the ideal setup down the road is likely to be a platform with both a Matter controller and a Matter bridge, Plus whatever app associated with a matter controller is your favorite daily use app. And for power users, whatever sophisticated rules engine you like best.

There should be multiple choices in the future that match this, and so it will just depend on what your own favorites are. Choice is good.

WHAT’S Available in May 2024

If you’re trying to buy today, though, there are very few options that match this. The only platforms right now which offer both a matter controller and a matter bridge are aqara with their new M3 hub (which is both a matter controller and a matter bridge, although still with somewhat limited functionality); or Tuya, which currently needs two different devices to give you both the bridge and controller functionality.

In the future there will probably be more brand options. IKEA is a possibility: they’ve just started implementing the Matter bridge functionality in their Dirigera, and they have not yet implemented matter controller, functionality, although they have said that they want to eventually. But who knows?

Apple Home, SmartThings, Alexa, Google Home, Hubitat, and Homey all offer matter controllers, but none as yet offer matter bridges, and most of these, including SmartThings, have indicated they probably won’t. That doesn’t mean you can’t use them with matter. If you like either the app or the rules engine, you can. But I still think the ideal setup would include a platform that is both. That would maximize the number of devices you can use.

AN ALTERNATIVE TO FUTUREPROOFING

As I have mentioned before, I myself budget my Home Automation purchases with the idea that I would want to replace everything, including the hub, every three years. Similar to the timeline I use for mobile phone purchases.

The idea is that the technology is just changing so rapidly that I don’t have any idea what I’m going to want in a couple of years. :thinking: I want to feel financially and psychologically free to change.

So as long as I get my money’s worth out of any individual purchase on a three-year timeline, I’m good. If I end up using an individual device for longer, that’s just gravy: it means more money in the budget to spend on other shiny new things. But I don’t have to spend a lot of effort worrying about futureproofing. So this is an approach that works well for me. :sunglasses:

SMARTTHINGS PLUS MATTER

If matter ends up succeeding and you really like SmartThings, either because you like the app or because you have Samsung smart appliances or televisions, the only thing you’ll need to add in the future will be that matter controller/bridge I mentioned and there are likely to be some good ones available for under $150 in a year or so. That’s the beauty of matter: you don’t have to have everything all in one platform in order to be able to use everything in the same app and the same rules engine. Matter will tie it all together for you. If it works out.

It’s still early days, yet, so we will have to wait and see what happens. :four_leaf_clover:

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@JDRoberts I just meant to post the Govee product info, but thank you tremendously for turning this into a Matter discussion as this has really educated me a lot.

Personally I like the SmartThings App / Rules engine - and would prefer this to HomeKit, but I would say this is mostly based on the fact that prior to a Matter bridge concept, not a single of my devices were compatible with Apple Home/Homekit.

I have been window shopping for a house for a while, and in the back of my head I keep thinking to myself, If I started from scratch other than the easy to move devices, what App/Eco system would I choose? Obviously ST V3 hub is pretty old in this day and age.

My biggest issue is I don’t understand the “ideal” future proof in-wall light switch situation.
My entire house is wired with a combination of GE / Embrighten / UltraPro - Z-wave switches that all were easy to install and work great.

What I don’t understand is the new SmartThings Hub excludes Z-Wave, as does the Amazon Echo’s, etc. and almost everything other one. Yet when you shop for switches, it still seems like they don’t make many Zigbee / Thread ones compared to Z-wave.

If the goal is to use the SmartThings app - with a combination of Matter devices, what’s the best smart switch brand and communication protocol to use these days? I wouldn’t count on it, but it would be great if Govee jumped into this space.

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I’ll lend my $0.02 and @JDRoberts can elaborate further. I am currently using Leviton Matter over Wi-FI switches and dimmers in one of my locations and am very happy with them. Interestingly, I don’t have a ST hub in this location so I use them with Matter over Wi-Fi with an Echo Dot 4 and bring them into ST with the cloud->cloud integration (or I could have set up virtual switches/dimmers and mirrored them into ST via Alexa). I’ll probably add a ST Station at this location in the near future and then commission them into ST at that point in time.

Another option is using Lutron Caseta switches/dimmers/scene changers, and while they use a proprietary communication method, they can be brought into the ST world via Matter over Bridge. If I were starting from scratch, I would lean towards these devices or would use Zigbee switches/dimmers and bring them into ST via Matter over Bridge (similar to the Lutron devices).

In another location, I’m using a Matter over Thread plug-in outlet from Eve Energy which works well. It even has a custom integration with ST so that you get energy monitoring in ST. They now make a duplex, in-wall outlet which is dual switched. This would likely be my choice if I need to replace any of my existing Z-Wave outlets (or was starting from scratch).

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I really like Lutron switches and use them in my own home. I don’t think they have matter support yet, though: they use their own SmartBridge instead, but since right now it works with pretty much every other platform, including SmartThings and Apple HomeKit, it hardly matters. They do belong to the third-party standards, organization for matter, but I think they are still waiting to see what happens.

As far as Matter options, I agree that right now the Leviton matter over Wi-Fi are probably the best choice. (As I’ve mentioned before, I myself only use devices with good safety certifications if they’re going to be wired into the mains so that leaves out most of the Chinese brands.) Kasa and Tapo do have some, but reviews aren’t great yet.

There are a number of brands which are promising matter over thread switches, but other than Tapo I don’t think any of them are available yet.

So it’s a little early to look for those yet.

As far as zwave, that’s a whole other discussion. Z wave uses a different network addressing scheme than “IP“ which is why it’s more difficult to bridge zwave devices then Zigbee or thread. Not impossible, but no one’s signed up to do it yet. Silicon labs, the chip manufacturer for Zwave, does have their “unify“ project, which would put Zigbee, matter, thread, Bluetooth, WiFi, and Z wave all on one chip, but as far as I know no one signed up for that yet, either. So it looks great in theory, but it hasn’t happened in reality yet.

If you look at Z wave without matter, I do think it has a future. See the following discussion.

Does Z-Wave Have a Future?

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To both of you mentioning WiFi over Matter, I kind of like having my SmartThings devices (Zigbee + Z-wave) not on my router. I don’t have to worry about wifi PW, network congestion, or just literally being overwhelmed with too many devices to keep track of on my router. If you’re using it, I’m probably wrong, but I would think in an ideal case it would be cleaner to keep these devices off your Wifi/Router ?

I totally agree with the idea to only use top name’s with solid safety reputations for devices that would be in your wall (which is why I use the GE/Embrighten family) currently.

Since you posted this, I did skim over the Lutron Caseta’s on Amazon, (I assume everyone is using that model that has the cool looking multiple buttons on the switch?) and in the brief skimming, they do look pretty nice and seem like a good option.

I guess it comes down to pro cons

Lutron: Big name, but very expensive, but for future proofing it’s still their bridge with their technology

Z-Wave / UltraPro: Reliable, half the price of Lutron, but you’d be stuck using a legacy hub or Z-wave bridge indefinitely

What a mess though to my point of not a clear direction. Hopefully the home interest rates remain high enough for me to stay in my existing home until someone like Lutron / GE / TBD make a Thread type switch that wouldn’t require a stand alone bridge

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I have the same feeling that you do about Wi-Fi: I tend to leave that for devices that need high bandwidth, like video doorbells and streaming TV devices. I typically wouldn’t use Wi-Fi for light switches. But lots of people do and are very happy. It really depends on, your set up at home. Not only do I have a ton of Home Automation devices, I have two housemates so between the three of us we have a lot of streaming devices. I mean, a lot. So this is one of those situations where choice is good. :sunglasses:

As far as Lutron Caseta, they come in two different styles now. The original “house of the future“ style, which is what I have:

And the “newer, although it looks older“ rocker style, which looks exactly like everybody else’s rocker

Both come in multiple colors and device types.


So again, choice is good. :wink:

By the way, Lutron doesn’t need to shift to thread to work with matter, and I don’t think they would. They have a proprietary frequency, which works very well for them. “All” they would need to do is to add matter bridge functionality to their smart bridge device, the same way that Phillips Hue did with their Hue Bridge. But I don’t know if the existing models have enough memory for that, so that may be part of the hesitation. They don’t want existing clients to have to buy a new bridge to get Matter support. But from an engineering standpoint, I think that’s the way they’re likely to go if matter really takes off and they need compatibility to maintain marketshare.

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Nice! Ok these would probably be my first choice, and I do think it’s funny the “new” ones look “old”
I guess it’s personal preference but even though the prior ones look more high tech, I’d probably go with the blend in ones if I had to start over

Two last questions,

  1. Z-wave was supposed to work as kind of a mesh network of repeaters
    If you get the Lutron switches and 1 hub, do they all talk to the hub or do they talk to each other like my Z-wave ones do?

  2. The graphic talks about having a wireless switch instead of hardwiring a traditional 3 way, but I don’t follow with what hardware this implies. Are they talking about using what looks like just a remote (fix it to the wall?) or do they sell a switch the mounts to the wall that houses a button off a battery (no wiring)

Lutron is an engineering company, they have a ton of patents (they even invented the first analog dimmer). Don’t worry about how their networking happens, it works great. Their switches will talk to their “SmartBridge“ hub, and that hub will talk to SmartThings. But honestly, you don’t have to worry about the details with Lutron, it will be fast, reliable, solid.

Sometimes they refer to their hub as the “Smartbridge“ and sometimes as a “smart hub“ but it’s the same device.

When it comes to using a three-way, Lutron gives you two choices.

  1. They offer a line of battery powered remotes, which can either be handheld, on a tabletop stand, or fixed to the wall in a way that they will look like one of their wired switches. Battery life is great on these, typically 8 to 10 years. (Like I said, this is an engineering company.) The original were called “pico“. The new style is called “pico paddle.” So that’s what most people, including me, use. For example, they offer a “dimmer kit“ which includes one dimmer switch and one pico.

https://www.amazon.com/Lutron-P-PKG1WB-WH-Caseta-Wireless-Dimmer/dp/B07HM6L48C/ref=asc_df_B07HM6L48C/

The pico paddle looks exactly like their wired rocker switch.

https://www.amazon.com/Lutron-P-PKG1WB-WH-Caseta-Wireless-Dimmer/dp/B07HM6L48C/

Note that Lutron offers dimming from the remote position, which is nice.

  1. with some models, you can use a regular dumb switch as the accessory switch, but then you don’t get dimming from the accessory position.
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My GF’s daughter and son-in-law are building a new house and using a mix of both of the Lutron styles depending on the type of lighting and location of the switches.

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Thanks for the suggestions.

Do you think there’s any noticeable speed/delay between their hard wired accessory switch and those fancy Pico paddles?

My GE/UltraPro ones call the accessory an “add on” switch; (I have 2) and they are hardwired and work instantly, have a physical click, and can dim at either switch.

I have a room that I use a SmartThings Smart button, and it’s not severe, but there may be a very slight delay between hitting it and the floor lamp coming on.

The remote seems like a great idea if you didn’t have existing wiring but for a new home build, wouldn’t you just have them install the accessory one for the 3-way, as if anyone ever wanted to remove the smart switch down the road, obviously that’s a problem if you only used the Picos?

Lutron is very fast. There may be a slight speed improvement with a direct wired accessory, but I doubt if it would be noticeable. For me, being able to dim from the accessory position is well worth it.

As far as worrying about what would happen in some distant future when you sold the house, if it bothers you, just remove the accessory and leave it as a single position switch. Or if it’s a new build, have the house wired for a dumb accessory in that position, And then you can use whichever one you prefer.

(Lutron offers a fitting that you can use to replace the dumb switch so that the pico is recessed into the wall if you like that look better. Or you can just use a blank plate there.) The point is that the wiring shouldn’t be an impediment, you can do it however you want. :sunglasses: