I know for the last two years or so it has looked like hubs were going to be less important in the future of the smart home industry. Better battery power management for WiFi, Thread as a more reliable substitute for Bluetooth, and the introduction of stealth hubs inside voice assistants seemed to create a trajectory away from brand-specific hubs.
But now we have Matter. And just as the Philips hue bridge made it possible to add a bunch of strongly featured Zigbee devices to many different control platforms, it’s starting to look like matter will mean homes with several “little hubs“, or more specifically, “matter bridges.“ They will basically work just like Hue Bridges. They will create their own mini networks with devices connected to them, mostly Zigbee, and then you will add that bridge to any app that is a “matter controller.“
Think about all of the hundreds of posts to this forum from people trying to get inexpensive aqara or tuya devices to work with smartthings. And all the custom code required.
If this all works as planned, everything becomes simple. You add the devices to their own brand’s “matter bridge.“ An aqara or Tuya hub, for example. Then in one step you add that matter bridge to the smartthings app and it brings in many of its connected devices. You end up with a quick, easy, reliable, local connection that doesn’t require any custom code. But it does require that bridge device.
The Philips hue bridge has shown that consumers can accept this model if it is, indeed, really easy to use.
So in the future if you want to add a bunch of those cheap tuya devices to your smartthings app, you just do it through a tuya hub. This also means that the devices will get regular firmware updates, something which is hard to do now. (At least, that’s the plan. As always, we will have to wait and see what actually gets delivered.)
If everything does happen as planned, I’m very curious to see how this all works out with the mass consumer market, but it’s an interesting change in direction for industry trends.