Christmas has come a little early for the smart home: the first Matter-compatible devices are finally here. Starting today, December 12th, Eve Systems is beginning the roll-out of a firmware update to its Thread-enabled Eve Energy smart plug, Eve Door & Window contact sensor, and Eve Motion motion sensor to upgrade them to Matter.
Matter is a new smart home standard that will allow devices such as smart plugs, light bulbs, and door locks to work with any platform you choose. Up until now, Eve’s devices have only been compatible with Apple Home. With this update, they’ll work with the Samsung SmartThings ecosystem, as well as Google Home and Amazon Alexa (once those platforms roll out their Matter updates).
While Matter officially arrived in October, currently, there are only Matter controllers out there — including Apple Home hubs and Samsung SmartThings hubs. At least now they’ll finally have some devices to control.
While this may seem like a small change to just a few gadgets, the update to Eve’s three Thread devices signals the arrival of Matter and the start of a major shift in the smart home, one that will hopefully move it out of walled gardens and off of proprietary platforms towards a more open, interoperable home.
What is Matter?
Matter is a new smart home interoperability standard that provides a common language for smart home devices to communicate locally in your home without relying on a cloud connection. It uses Wi-Fi and Thread wireless protocols and, in its first rollout, includes smart sensors, smart lighting, smart plugs and switches, smart thermostats, connected locks, and media devices, including TVs.
All this means that if a smart home device you buy has the Matter logo on it, you should be able to set it up and use it with any Matter-compatible device and in any Matter-compatible platform. Matter-compatible devices should start to become available toward the end of this year.
Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Samsung SmartThings, and Apple Home are some of the big smart home platforms signed on to support Matter. Apple and Samsung have already updated their compatible hubs to be Matter controllers, and we expect to see updates arriving on the other platforms shortly.
The Matter update to Eve devices is currently optional — as once you update, you can’t migrate your devices back to only running on Apple HomeKit. You need an iOS or iPadOS device with software version 16.2 to initiate the update, but once it’s on the Matter network, it can be controlled by an Android phone running SmartThings and soon by Amazon Alexa and Google Home. (Apple is expected to release iOS / iPadOS 16.2 before the end of the year.) Eve is working on an Android app, which it says will arrive in the first half of 2023.
The good news for Apple Home users is that the Eve devices will not lose any of their functionality when upgraded to Matter. Despite these not being supported by Matter, features such as autonomous schedules, child lock, energy monitoring, and advanced automations will remain available, but on HomeKit only.
Jerome Gackel, Eve CEO, told The Verge earlier this year that Apple added the ability to include custom device functions in Matter that will work in Apple Home — such as energy monitoring with an Eve smart plug. However, these functions are specific to Matter in Apple Home and won’t translate to other platforms.
Initially, the Eve devices will only have basic functionality on the other platforms; for example, Matter supports on/off in smart plugs but not energy monitoring. But it’s possible for those platforms to add custom device functions on top of Matter, too. Eve says more features will come to the devices when it launches its Eve Android app.
Here is where we will start to see the platforms differentiating themselves in Matter by adding features to devices above the basics. Creating lighting scenes or using features such as energy monitoring or adaptive lighting (to change the tone of your lights throughout the day automatically) will be down to the platform you use a device on. Similarly, scheduling and automations will depend on the platform.
Remember, Matter is not a smart home platform itself; its main function is as a universal language for devices to talk to each other. At the start, to make it simple, that language needs to be pretty basic, but there’s the potential for Matter to do more in the future. We will be testing out the new Matter integration on Eve devices as soon as possible and will report back with more details on the available functions and features.
How to update your Eve devices to Matter
Because the Matter update is non-reversible and currently has several requirements, Eve is offering it to customers through an Early Access program. But once Matter is more widely available, the rollout will become automatic.
- You’ll need a Thread border router-capable Apple Home Hub like a HomePod mini, Apple TV 4K (2nd gen), and Apple TV 4K (3rd gen, 128 GB) connected to your network, updated to the latest tvOS version (16.1).
- An iPhone or iPad running iOS / iPadOS 16.2 (or later).
- Apply to enroll in the Eve Matter Early Access Program and wait for an email from Eve with Test Flight access to the firmware update beginning Monday, December 12th.
Any Eve device you currently own or buy this year will need to be updated to Matter through this process. In early 2023, Eve says it will start shipping products with Matter already built in.
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