Matter - smart home connectivity standard (formerly Project CHIP)

True. :thinking:

My initial hope was that smartthings would go all in and become the android equivalent to Apple’s home app for matter with equal or greater functionality. That would have been awesome.

But they aren’t. They aren’t even going to make the smartthings/Aeotec hub a matter bridge so it’s just a one-way integration. You’ll be able to bring (some) matter devices into your SmartThings account but not go the other way.

On the other hand, it looks like Google nest, HomeKit, and the echo ecosystem are indeed going to appear fully integrated to end consumers, which is definitely a step forward for the industry.

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As there is not even a single physical product, just promises, I think this will be one of the biggest fail of the IoT industry. Hype over something what hasn’t got a working example. If someone would have showcased some devices even with bare PCBs and a frontend solution how it works, but no. There is nothing.

But everyone gives awards about it to CSA. This whole things stinks as much as the Zigbee standard was flawed with the manufacturer specific clusters and the different interpretations.

Just imagine the same story of the battery device polling like the IKEA remotes draining battery, but under the Matter umbrella…

The mess of the border routers and the interoperability is even more worrying, together with the different frequency and communication standards.

Who has posted this before? Probably it will be not a joke anymore…

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Now that’s an interesting request on the SmartThings forum. Do you follow semiconductor firms and keep up with their announcements? :stuck_out_tongue:

That was six months ago, with more updates as the months have passed.

Major firms (e.g.,Texas Instruments, Nordic Semiconductor, Silicon Labs, etc.) have released Matter-compatible ICs (aka Thread + BLE + application layer included) and have begun updating their SDKs, but with the spec pushed to June 2022, it’ll be a while:

These ICs are the only way the Home Assistant Amber Yellow has hardware Matter support:

Home Assistant Yellow includes the latest and greatest Zigbee radio chip from Silicon Labs to communicate with smart devices in your home. The chip is forward-compatible with the upcoming Matter smart home connectivity standard, in which Silicon Labs is heavily involved. Home Assistant Yellow will be compatible with Matter as soon as the Silicon Labs Matter SDK is released.

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“Hype” is a probably a misnomer for this thread: seemingly all of us, from mainstream outlets to DIY enthusiasts, were, are now, and will remain cautious whether Matter will solve the problems it claims to solve.

With the new-new release date pegged to June 2022, it’ll be long time before consumers have all the pieces together.

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Funnily enough, the Verge formally edited yesterday’s article on the very point we’re discussing. Now with more context & clarity,

A company that is on board with Matter as a whole is under no obligation to adopt a certain device specification that they don’t need or want to.

This means that Apple and Google do not have to adopt the Matter TV specification if they don’t want to (but if they do, they have to adopt it all, including casting).

So, companies backing Matter don’t have to adopt every Matter device type, e.g., do all Samsung’s TVs need to include SmartThings? But, if a device claims to support Matter-for-TVs, that device must support the entire Matter-for-TVs protocol.

Still 10,000 questions remain about Matter and especially all of its warts which very few have shared officially, just as you note. Different hardware standards / communication hardware protocols, bridges and not-actually-bridges, etc.

So far, the posturing has changed and most of the industry will publicly admit failures of interoperability are a massive barrier to mainstream adoption.

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Eve is really betting the farm on Matter support and seem much more eager than older / larger IoT firms.

Seems like the Matter protocol wants first-party support for data types (presumably so we don’t have manufacturer siloes, e.g., “Samsung Matter” vs “Zooz Matter”), but that means working group needs to agree on the new data types:

However, as Gackle first told Stacey Higginbotham, some customers may not want to rush to Matter initially. “It’s a reality that when Matter launches, it won’t support every functionality of every manufacturer’s devices right away,” Gackel told The Verge . “Over time, it will. So, if a user is specifically using an Eve device for function X, Y, or Z, they should confirm it will be supported at Matter’s launch, or possibly choose to stay on HomeKit via Thread until it (function X, Y, or Z) is supported in the near future.” Gackel says he’s confident that all the functions will be supported on Matter over time.

From Stacey Higginbotham’s article,

Some things I just learned about Matter : During a recent pre-CES chat with the folks from Eve, I learned that the company is planning to upgrade most of its devices either via firmware or, in the case of Eve’s light switch and motion sensor, through new devices to Matter. But because a firmware update is so complicated, once someone updates their Eve device to Matter, they will no longer be able to switch it back to working with HomeKit only. This matters (sorry) because current Eve devices have some features that aren’t currently supported by Matter, and Eve CEO Jerome Gackel doesn’t want to kill that functionality for consumers who switch over. For example, the Eve Plug turns on and off remotely, but it also measures energy consumption. Right now, Matter doesn’t have a data model for sharing energy consumption data between devices, so that feature won’t be supported. Gackel is pushing the working group to support these use cases, and hoping they do. I hope they do, too. — Stacey Higginbotham

So how hard is adding new data types / models? If it’s too complicated or exceptionally delayed, or at worst, requires painful (and pricey) upgrades, that may be a bridge too far. Surely, new data models are one platform feature that demands constant and painless updates.

Really makes me wonder what is “Matter v1” as Amazon noted a few weeks back.

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Thanks for the videos. That is something. But the 2.8K views tell it all. Your second video link with 441 views tells more about it. (That is just a 2 month old video…) :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Anyhow, some of the chips used in the video are already multiprotocol and used in many devices like the CC2652. But giving Thread the hype, is really just to put Zigbee to its grave. Thread is almost as old as the roads built by the Romans. :wink: (But nobody used it…)

(Building a new SDK for a chip which has a 2.4GHz antenna that is nothing new.)

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Infineon has finally launched its Matter-compatible 802.15.4 chip.

Even Silicon Lab’s next Z-Wave 800 Series PR can’t help but name-drop Matter “futureproofing”, only via their upcoming Unity SDK,

“Additionally, the introduction of our Unify SDK Z-Wave protocol controller will make it easier for developers to futureproof their smart home product designs for multiple protocols, including Matter. Ultimately, the Z-Wave 800 family will help consumers better their homes with longer-lasting devices that require less power consumption – all without sacrificing quality.”

As an aside, not sure low-margin IoT devices will have much luck through the ongoing silicon shortage. Inovelli’s CEO mentioned they’re having enough trouble sourcing 500 series chips; can’t imagine many devices will have access to these latest-generation SoCs next year.

EDIT: SiLabs claims they’ll show off a Z-Wave to Matter bridge come CES 2022,

Silicon Labs will be showcasing a Z-Wave to Matter bridge solution with Unify SDK at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2022.

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That’s great and all, but I haven’t seen an actual company with a z-wave hub commit to acting as a Matter bridge. It’s a bit worrying since multiple Zigbee hubs have announced their plans (Hue, Aqara). Kinda sucks because I like z-wave…

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I see you here: the Z-Wave Alliance had been optimistic some of the Z-Wave hub manufacturers would implement bridges, but no takers so far?

That leaves us to edge devices, the cloud, or no bridges at all. So SiLabs, Z-Wave Alliance, and Espressif have noted there are three possible bridge types:

  1. At the gateway
  2. At an edge device (e.g., a thermostat, camera, etc.)
  3. In the cloud

If the SmartThings Hub isn’t doing #1 within the Hub or #3 in the ST cloud, perhaps Samsung expects third parties to produce an external gateway accessory (#1) and / or edge devices with Z-Wave bridges (#2) to percolate in the indefinite future? Or nothing?

For #2, Z-Wave devices use the edge device as the hub, so if ST wants to lift a finger for us here, they’d make that transition easier or if not, a lot of excluding & including are still expected.

Shu Chen, Espressif Senior Engineering Manager: “A Bridge may also contain native Matter functionality, for example, it may itself be a smart Thermostat having both Wi-Fi and Zigbee connection. The Thermostat is native Matter functionality, it is capable of sending heating and/or cooling requirement notifications to a heating/cooling unit. While the other endpoints represent the Bridged Devices.”

Mitch Klein, executive director, Z-Wave Alliance and director of strategic partnerships at Silicon Labs: “Matter requires a border router or bridge to connect a Thread device to a Wi-Fi device, and we will similarly see bridges into Z-Wave on Matter. How this bridging will be deployed will depend on the manufacturers. Bridging may be deployed on a gateway, an edge device, or in the cloud. All options will be available as the various working groups establish the necessary APIs and requisite roadmaps for the future.”

Silicon Labs Matter Connectivity Standard FAQ:

How is Z-Wave going to fit into Matter? Z-Wave (and Zigbee) networks have IP at the gateway level enabling cloud connectivity to Matter. Further we will see bridging products, enabling Matter and Z-Wave products working together at local network level.

The ThinkA zwave to HomeKit hub provides a clear model for how a zwave hub might become a matter bridge. In fact, I would expect them to be one of the first manufacturers to add Matter compliance, but we will see.

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It’s not quite as easy as it sounds, though, because to get into matter you have to have IP addresses. Zwave does have a “Z wave over IP“ specification, but as far as I know, no current “available at retail” hubs use it.

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That’s a great new hub; I wish it was priced more competitively and had the US Z-Wave frequencies. Yet Aeotec doesn’t seem too eager to update the 500-series ST V3 hubs.

I believe Espressif’s blog post shares that Z-Wave devices see the Z-Wave/Matter Bridge only as a Z-Wave Hub (primary or secondary?). That is, the hard work seems to be on the bridge to convert MatterIP-to-Z-Wave and Z-Wave-to-MatterIP.

And then the bridge device “exposes” the Z-Wave devices to the Matter Fabric, which can then be controlled by Matter Controllers.

Meanwhile, people may have a question: There are many IoT products in the consumers’ home already, these can be the devices based on Zigbee, Z-Wave, BLE Mesh and others. Could these non-Matter devices work together with Matter ecosystem? The answer is YES.

Thus, hopefully, we may not need Z-Wave over IP on the device-side. But, we’ll see: if SmartThings (and / or Aeotec) decides it isn’t interested in Z-Wave bridging, I do hope manufactures like ThinkA or others will come forward with full-featured hubs (Matter hubs + multiple bridges).

At this point, I’d much rather replace a SmartThings hub than replace all the switches, lights, accessories, etc.

// in other news

Google Developers has also launched a short set of videos for Android app Matter Controllers this week. This video seems like multi-admin is likely confirmed for the standard (e.g., multiple apps / controllers attached to a single device).

Noting how different some UIs are, I hope they’ll allow proper syncing, so we don’t need to repeatedly & manually propagate each device across, say, three controllers (Alexa, HomeKit, Google Home, etc.).

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SmartThings recently released the Matter round table from SDC 2021. From Mark Tekippe, Director of Product Management:

Question: Mark Tekippe, from a SmartThings perspective, can you talk a little more about how SmartThings is supporting these IoT protocols?

Mark Tekippe: You know, I think the points that both Michelle (CSA) and Kevin (ASSA ABLOY) raised are spot-on. At SmartThings, we’ve always been an open platform with support for different protocols. We’re really excited about Matter and emerging technologies like Thread. And we are working to add support for both of these in our platform. At the same time, we’re committed to continuing support for existing protocols like Zigbee and Z-Wave. Our developer community has really made significant investment around both of these technologies over the years. And many of our users have huge installs in their homes with dozens or even hundreds of devices in their house. So, things like door locks, light switches, garage door openers: these are really difficult and expensive to replace. And when people buy these products, they expect them to last a long time: 10, 15, 20 years. In my own house, I installed dozens of connected light switches after I moved in and the thought of me going around and replacing all of those and rewiring them is really hard to fathom. So, you know I think the point of bridging which was raised earlier: bridging is going to be really important between existing and new protocols. And that’s going to help the industry transition smoothly forward and also protect consumer investments.

Emphasis mine. So, bridging is “really important”, but seemingly SmartThings won’t be adding / selling a Z-Wave bridge? If that’s true, seems like everyone was relying on someone else to “build the bridges”, unfortunately. Re:

“Bridge” has a technical meaning in the Matter protocol, but I don’t think that’s what Mr. Tekippe meant.

If we just look at it as a regular English word, then in a sense you could consider the smartthings app to be the method for bringing matter devices and Zwave devices together: but only for people using that specific app.

So far, Samsung has only committed to one way integration with matter: being able to bring Matter compliant devices into the smart things app and smartthings automations. Which is helpful, and would fit what he had described in that talk.

What they have said they are NOT going to do is currently commit to two way integration, that is, a smartthings/Aeotec hub will NOT be a “Matter bridge,” so it will not show up in other mattercompliant apps.

So you’re absolutely right that they have not committed to being a Zwave to Matter bridge. But within the smartthings ecosystem, it looks like you will be able to use the smartthings app to create a routine that includes both Zwave Devices and Matter compliant devices. At least the models that work with smartthings.

In a sense, it’s similar to what homebridge does now for HomeKit. You can use homebridge to bring devices of other protocols into HomeKit. But it doesn’t provide integration in the other direction.

So that’s something. Even if it’s not a full two way bridge.

But we will have to see what actually gets delivered. :thinking:

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Promises?

Just kidding…

We all know that at the end platforms like SmartThings will kill the new protocol by deception and misleading advertisements and by the minimalist integrations.

This is the first I’ve seen a SmartThings staff mention working on Thread integration (other than via a Thread border router via Matter, like Nanoleaf). Considering Mark is on the Board of Directors for both CSA and Thread, I suppose he would know. Would be kinda embarrassing to be on the BoD of Thread and work for a company that doesn’t directly support it :sweat_smile:

I also don’t know what to make of SmartThings press releases/relations lately for predicting what’s coming. I was pissy after SDC that their upcoming hub embedded in TVs and fridges didn’t include any IoT radios like zigbee or zwave. Well 2 months later and we now know they will sell a zigbee dongle that works with it. This was obviously in the works 2 months ago, why not mention it at the same time?!

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It sounds familiar. Wasn’t this “dongle” sold with some TVs before and with the Nvidia Shield?

If it is going to be the same story, as those, then that’s going to be a big fail again for many users who would buy it, if it would be available at all.

Otherwise just think about Samsung’s idea how often you should change your TV. They will drop support for the TV in 2 years. How will that work afterward?
And how is that fits into the “we are not producing anymore hub hardware”? Now they will have a “hub” built into a TV and a dongle what has to be manufactured with the same radios what would be in a real hub… (And knowing Samsung, the dongle would work only with those TVs… In contrast with the energy management initiatives and reaching being carbon neutral, it is absolutely the opposite of producing a huge amount of e-waste in a few years time.)

And where is the WASH program nowadays?

Same idea as the shield dongle and a 2nd generation dongle that went through regulatory approvals but never made it to mark. This third generation lacks z-wave, though. Maybe it can be firmware updated to Thread? :man_shrugging:t2:

Why can’t they just make a nice USB compatible Zigbee coordinator what could be used with other devices as well? (The camera what I bought for my Samsung TV is a 1080p camera from 2017, and it works ONLY with that H series of Samsung TVs. Of course, no Skype anymore on the TV to use with it…)

This is the same story over and over again, producing e-waste endlessly, without a chance to re-purpose it.

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Daniel Wroclawski over at Consumer Reports has an excellent Matter FAQ from an end consumer point of view.

With regard to the Arlo announcement, it’s important to note that matter has not yet included any cameras: this is just Arlo saying they want to be part of deciding what any future camera standard might be.

From the CR report:

Which Types of Smart Home Devices Will Work With Matter?
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At launch, Matter will support lighting products (plugs, bulbs, switches, etc.), door locks, thermostats and HVAC controllers, blinds and shades, home security sensors (such as door and window sensors, motion sensors, and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors), garage door controllers, wireless access points and bridges, and televisions and streaming video players.
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Future iterations of Matter are expected to add support for home appliances, robot vacuums, and energy management products (such as solar panels, EV chargers, home battery packs). According to Chris LaPré, the CSA’s head of technology, cameras are likely to be included in a future version, thanks to camera manufacturers like Arlo, Eve, TP-Link, and Wyze joining the CSA, but no formal effort has started yet.”

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