SwitchBot Universal Remote and Smartthings?

So switchbot just released this and one of there saying is that it will work with matter through there bridge. Looking over at the Homekit community on reddit it seems like it work? Will the same work on smartthings. It would be nice to set a scene on a preselected button. Or turn on smartthing devices. If anyone gets it i hope they report back!

https://www.reddit.com/r/HomeKit/comments/1dl4kv0/switchbot_unveils_universal_remote_with_matter/

It hasn’t been released yet and some features are “coming later” so it’s impossible to tell what works and how.

It’s funny that their example for Matter devices that can be controlled mention only Philips Hue and IKEA (that are bridged and not actual Matter devices) so maybe they only work with specific bridges, who knows.

If they allowed to control on/off, brightness, etc. then they would need bindings and SmartThings does not support them yet. I guess they’ll just expose a couple buttons like the Switchbot Hub 2 does (do they work in SmartThings by the way?).

Edit: Looking at the screenshot they have, seems that they can bridge “virtual remotes” so to speak, so for Matter ecosystems it’s probably like having different individual control devices. The ones using the generic switch will work in SmartThings, the ones using dimming features will not until bindings are supported.

It was released last week, available for two day delivery from Amazon.

However, Amazon has mixed the reviews in with the SwitchBot hub mini (which has an IR blaster), so right now the reviews are pretty much useless:

I personally can’t use a button remote, so I don’t expect we’ll get one unless my housemate wants to try it. :thinking:

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I see, in the official SwitchBot page it says it’s available for pre-order.

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The Apple Home screenshot they have makes it looks like the universal remote is exposed over Matter as a button controller. If that’s the case, you’d be able to control any device in the Matter Controller ecosystem of choice (assuming it supports Matter buttons). I have one on the way, so we shall see.

I was looking at the screenshot of the remote which showcases the four devices: smart bulb, blind, fan, curtain, the same ones in the Apple Home screenshot.

Since the actions for each type of device are different, I’m not so sure that it’s exposed as just one device.

For lights they should use the OnOff and Level features (as client, which SmartThings does not support) instead of the generic switch, we’ll see indeed.

I assume we’re talking about this screenshot from their site (arrow added by me)

The individual devices are previous functionality exposing them via their matter bridge, so unrelated to the universal remote.

The universal remote tile has the Apple Home icon for button controller. Exact same icon is used for my Leviton Scene controller that works with Apple Home. Clicking into it this is what the settings look like.

So what SwitchBot could be doing is exposing each of the Universal Remote’s scenes as a button over their Matter Bridge. Scene activation on the remote then is mapped as a button press via Matter.

Yeah, that one, you can see the remote screen if you zoom in, the devices in Apple Home appear on the remote screen too. You can select which device you are going to control, the bulb, the curtain, the fan or the blinds.

If they’re going to expose it as just one device with buttons it’s probably going to be quite limited when it comes to control (like just on/off for instance).

Those are all SwitchBot devices. SwitchBot devices can be controlled from the remote without Matter.

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Those are SwitchBot devices which can already use matter over bridge to come into other platforms.

If that’s true it’s false advertisement about the Matter control for third party devices.

Look at the picture, it depicts a feature to control any Matter device in your smart home platform, they display four different devices which are the same four in the smart home platform. If that’s not Matter but Switchbot devices controlled with their own hub, it’s just deceiving.

They even drew those blue arrows to enforce the concept that the devices that you are controlling with the remote are the ones that you have in Apple Home. If they’re not, what’s the point of that picture other than confusing potential users?

They even explicitly say (bold mine) “Through Matter. In addition to SwitchBot products, other smart home brands under Matter can also be remotely controlled, such as Philips Hue lights, IKEA curtains, and more. For a completely seamles smart home experience.”.

That light and that curtain have to be Matter products, not Switchbot.

Not necessarily. As we know, matter has multiple parts.

They are trying to do two different things here as I understand it.

  1. have the remote function as a matter controller so that within the SwitchBot platform/app they can also use the remote to control third-party devices like bulbs connected to a Phillips Hue Bridge or a third party smart plug.

  2. Use the existing matter bridge functions of the SwitchBot hubs to bridge some of their devices over to other matter compliant platforms, such as SmartThings, in which case the remote I believe looks like a button device.

——-
All of this complies with the matter specification and should work fine. As we always say, not all devices are all features can be bridged. It’s entirely possible that the remote will have additional features when used within the SwitchBot app that are not exposed when it is bridged.

Will have to wait and see until there are more reports on it, but so far, as described it all makes sense to me. :man_shrugging:t2:

According to the fine print, the feature to control other Matter devices only works in Apple Home, so we can exclude the option of Switchbot being the Matter controller. It is a bridged device, either a Switch (standard buttons) or a OnOff / Level client (standard dimmer).

I don’t think it’s false advertisement, both the text and the picture to illustrate the feature clearly shows the possibility of choosing which device to control, be it Switchbot or Matter since they also mention it’s seamless.

I reached out to my contact at SwitchBot about this. Here’s what I received back:

Let’s take Apple as an example. Matter connect to Homepod Mini. Homepod Mini connect to Home Kit. Add Universal Remote and other branded smart home product on Apple Home. Then add smart home products to Universal Remote button on Apple Home. Finally, you can use Universal Remote to control other branded smart home products.
Other branded smart home products will not appear on SwitchBot App.

So it appears the Universal Remote Matter integration is that of a Button/Scene Controller. IMO not a terrible way to do it since you can control ANY device in that platform, not just Matter devices. Will play with this more once mine arrives.

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The main question is if the same button (let’s say the + / -), will be able to control both a third party light (to change brightness) and a third party blind (for up or down) seamlessly like they advertise both in the text and in the picture.

If the actions are fixed there would be no advantage compared to a plain old smart button or scene controller.

For the Matter over bridge functionality, The advantage is being able to use the same remote simultaneously on multiple platforms, like SmartThings, Apple home, and potentially Amazon routines (Don’t yet know if it’s available as an if trigger for those). Locally without needing custom code. That would mean you could use one button to control some devices that were only available in Apple home, and a different button on the same remote to control some devices that were only available in SmartThings. That’s very different from a standard non-matter button remote, where you typically have to pick one platform or the other.

A couple things:

  1. The “button” in this case I don’t think is the physical buttons like +, -, home, etc. THey are the scenes that you setup that are shown on the screen and you select with the wheel.
  2. The actions that take place by that scene/button are entire dependently on the platform you setup the actions for that particular button press. For example, SmartThings doesn’t have a default action in its routines to increase brightness by 10% for a light (maybe a custom driver does?), but Home Assistant does.
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I believe SwitchBot said it specifically wont work with Amazon or Google via Matter. I’m guessing they don’t support the button capability via Matter (at all?).

Or the same button/scene could run actions in both platforms! Its very flexible exposed via Matter this way.

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Indeed, Google Home or Alexa do not support Matter buttons or wireless dimmers of any type. Not even the Tuo Matter Smart Button which is a simple tap - held - double tap.

SmartThings supports only the Switch type (the Tuo works), but not wireless dimmers because they don’t support bindings. Jimmy already mentioned the other issue with SmartThings, lack of relative dimming actions in stock drivers so you would not be able to control the brightness of a light with the so called universal remote and would have to find either custom drivers or workarounds with routines.

That’s why in the fine print they state that the feature to control Matter devices only works in Apple Home.

In an ideal world the Universal Remote would be exposed as a dimmer that you could bind to the lights, the blinds, etc. so they’re not just routine actions / scenes but an actual control. Then, with the wheel or whatever means it has you would change if the set of buttons are going to control one device or another.

But binding support in general looks like it’s not there yet across platforms.

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Sure, but when it’s matter over bridge, it’s up to the platform that owns the bridge to decide how the device will be exposed.

For example, my Aqara Buttons work just fine When exposed via matter over bridge because the bridge is lying and saying that they are switches.