At the annual showcase of the electronics industry in Las Vegas, the Matter standard was part of the freestyle again. However, some supporters held back with announcements this time. They still have to fulfill last year’s obligation: Deliver devices or software updates that were already announced for 2022. Many of the new products for 2023 will also probably not be available until the second half of the year. Here is an overview in alphabetical order.
Already during CES 2022, Aqara had announced sensors using the Thread wireless protocol for Matter. This time, the P2 door/window contact and the P2 motion/light sensor were again a topic – and could be seen at the Google and Samsung booths. Market launch is planned for the “coming months”, says the current press release. The software update of the Aqara Hub 2, originally planned for December, is also delayed. It is supposed to make the Zigbee hub of the company compatible with the Matter standard – and with it, a variety of the brand’s devices. While the media initially mentioned January (link), Aqara no longer gives a specific date and generally talks about 2023.
More products supporting the Matter standard are expected to hit the market later this year – including the FP2 presence sensor, the T1 LED light strip and the U100 motor drive for deadlocks. All three work with Zigbee, so require an Aqara hub for connectivity. The G4 video doorbell would get along without this hub because it transmits via Wi-Fi, but for the moment it does not find a connection to Matter because its device class is still missing in the standard. Aqara wants to deliver the support as soon as video doorbells are available as a separate product category in Matter.
The Dutch company Athom has brought its brand-new product Homey Pro to the CES. The universal smart home control center can be pre-ordered on the manufacturer’s website (link) and is scheduled for February. It already supports a variety of connectivity options at launch. Devices can be controlled via 433 MHz radio, Bluetooth 5.0, Z-Wave Plus, Zigbee 3.0, WLAN and infrared. But as far as Matter is concerned, it will still take a while: A software update that makes the hub compatible with the standard is planned for the 2nd quarter of 2023. The Thread protocol is to follow in the 3rd quarter. Homey Pro would then probably be the first Matter bridge to support all common, manufacturer-independent connection protocols in the smart home.
Bosch used CES 2023 primarily to highlight its expertise in sensor technology and to showcase mobility solutions. Matter was not a topic in this context. However, the smart home division renewed its commitment at the same time: in 2023, the standard is to be gradually incorporated into the company’s products (link). A new smart home controller has already been presented in Europe for this purpose. The second-generation unit works on Zigbee 3.0 and is to receive a software update for Matter during the year. Furthermore, new end devices are planned that support the Matter standard out of the box. However, the company has not yet revealed which devices will be available and when.
Since December 2022, three products from the Eve range can be converted retroactively to Matter with a special software update. In Las Vegas, the manufacturer has now announced the start of sales: From March 28, 2023, Eve Door & Window, Eve Energy and Eve Motion will be officially available in stores with the new Matter firmware. Buyers will be able to integrate them into a Matter ecosystem like Apple Home or Samsung SmartThings right out of the box.
At about the same time, the manufacturer also wants to deliver software updates for its Eve Motion Blinds. Those who already have roller blinds at home and do not want to purchase new ones from the interior decorator will also have the option of retrofitting: With the Upgrade Kit for Roller Blinds, Eve Systems will offer a tubular motor for existing roller blinds in the future. It can be controlled wirelessly via the Thread protocol and is Matter-compatible, just like custom-made models by a specialist.
GE Lighting / Cync
Under the brand name Cync, GE Lighting already has a number of smart home products on the US market. At CES, the subsidiary of American home technology specialist Savant now announced its support for the Matter standard. The Cync range is to become compatible step by step. The Indoor Smart Plug and the Full Color Direct Connect Smart Bulb – two Wi-Fi products that work without a bridge – will make the start in 2023. They are to receive Matter-capable successors. A software update of the models sold so far is not planned, according to the manufacturer (link).
The trade show highlight from Govee, a sync box for gamers, almost stole the show – but a novelty from the Chinese manufacturer is also interesting for people who don’t want to synchronize their room lighting with screen content: Govee’s LED strip light M1 gets a successor (link). It is named like its predecessor, but is significantly shorter (2 instead of 5 meters). On the other hand, it is supposed to support Matter from day one and is only the first link in a whole chain of Matter-compatible products. Planned delivery: 2nd quarter 2023.
The Hisense Group, which claims to be the world’s number two in TVs and household appliances, has positioned itself as a Matter supporter at CES. The Chinese company has joined the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA) and wants to make its products compatible with the new standard (link). The group, which also owns brands such as ATAG, Gorenje and ASKO, has not yet announced the nature and scope of its plans. However, the first products that support Matter are to be launched on the market in 2023.
CES is a kind of home game for Mui Lab. The start-up from Kyoto has already won two CES Innovation Awards for its concept of a touch-sensitive wooden board – in 2019 and 2022. This time, too, the Japanese traveled to Las Vegas with their Mui Board 2.0 in their luggage. Like its predecessor, the new edition of the bar-shaped smart home controller lights up when touched and displays changing controls. After use, the LEDs go out behind the wood veneer, leaving an unobtrusive appearance. Mui Lab calls this principle “Calm Tech”. Thanks to Matter, the second generation is said to be significantly more powerful and versatile than its predecessor, which used the IoT platform IFTTT to control devices. The first Mui Board was also practically unavailable. That should be different with the successor. Crowdfunding for the product is to begin on Kickstarter in the summer. Delivery is planned for winter 2023.
Gimmy Chu, Nanoleaf CEO, had announced it in an interview last fall: “We plan to launch a number of new products that will work with Matter as soon as the new standard is available”. Among the new products, the relaunch of the Essentials light series is still making the least impression. The Nanoleaf Skylight modular ceiling light caused more of a stir in Las Vegas. Consisting of square panels, it can be laid in lines or patterns. And similar to the well-known wall modules from Nanoleaf, the panels glow either in white or colorful with 16 million colors. In addition to scene settings in the Nanoleaf app, there is also a way to synchronize the Wi-Fi-controlled modules with music or screens. Matter enthusiasts will need patience, however: The Skylights are not scheduled to hit the market until the 3rd quarter of 2023.
The lighting specialist is using the time till then to integrate another technology alongside Matter, which Nanoleaf has been announcing for some time. As Gimmy Chu called it in an interview: a “more true version of automation that sits in the background while consumers go about their daily routines.” The key to this is called Sense+. Using integrated motion and brightness sensors, Nanoleaf products capture the behavior of people in the room and report that data to a digital assistant called Nala. It analyzes daily routines and makes suggestions in the Nanoleaf app on how to best automate lighting.
The sensors can be integrated into luminaires such as the Skylights, but the manufacturer also wants to offer hard-wired light switches or wireless products with them. The assistant sits in a so-called Nala Bridge, which Nanoleaf has designed as a wireless plug with an integrated night light. Via software update, products like the Nanoleaf Shapes, Elements and Lines, which serve as Thread Border Routers, but will also be able to work as Nala bridges. The system will work with all Matter-compatible fixtures. However, the manufacturer holds out the prospect of additional features to users of Nanloeaf products. The always well-informed Jennifer Pattison Tuohy from “The Verge” has already found out more (link). Again, products with Sense Plus and the Nala function won’t hit the market until the third quarter of 2023 at the earliest.
Samsung / SmartThings
Two seemingly contradictory developments can be observed at Samsung: On the one hand, the company continues its strategy of making the SmartThings Hub disappear as a separate device with power connection. The function moves to other devices. For example, buyers of the new QLED TVs no longer have to connect a USB dongle to control Zigbee or Thread devices. Samsung will build a SmartThings Zigbee & Matter Thread One-Chip Module directly into its devices starting in 2023 (link).
On the other hand, the Korean company presented a new hub at CES – albeit in a special form. The SmartThings Station disguises itself as a wireless charging pad for smartphones, but serves as a Thread Border Router and Zigbee hub at the same time. Only those who want to connect Z-Wave devices still need one of the classic SmartThings hubs from Samsung or Aeotec. A button on the top can be assigned scenes from the SmartThings system. For example, a short press calls up the good-night scenario at bedtime, and a long one raises the shutters in the morning. Unfortunately, only Koreans and Americans will be able to enjoy this clever combination of devices for the moment. The market launch is planned for February 2023 (link).
SwitchBot products like the namesake button push or the SwitchBot Curtain actuator work with Bluetooth. They have always required a hub for smart home integration. The manufacturer is now replacing this hub to make its Bluetooth products Matter-compatible. The SwitchBot Hub 2 is scheduled to receive a corresponding software update in the first quarter of 2023, followed by the SwitchBot Curtain as the first product to “speak” Matter. According to the manufacturer, further devices will follow during the year – including the SwitchBot Lock. Other products in the range that use Wi-Fi as radio standard are to be Matter-enabled directly via update. They will function without a bridge in the future.
TP-Link has presented 15 products in the new Matter standard for North America. Experience shows that not all of them will find their way into other markets. For example, the form factor of the compact Tapo P125M adapter plug shown is not suitable for European sockets. It is set to be TP-Link’s first Matter product on the U.S. market – available from January 2023. A wall dimmer called Tapo S505D will follow in March (link). Furthermore in the pipeline: Multi-socket outlets, LED lamps and radiator controllers, some of which require a Matter-certified hub from Tapo. TP-Link also presented it right away in Las Vegas: The Tapo H900 Homebase is supposed to connect devices via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Thread and other protocols. With its triangular profile, it can also serve as a base for a tablet with control software (picture). A list of all type designations is given on the company website (link).
Yeelight is not the least to show that many Chinese suppliers welcome the Matter standard. The company announced early on that it would open its Bluetooth-based lighting system Yeelight Pro in the direction of Matter. At CES, this commitment from last year was renewed and a software update for the Pro gateway was envisioned for Q2 2023. Luminaires and illuminants of the brand that are registered on the gateway should then also be able to be controlled via Matter ecosystems. In addition, the manufacturer is planning a series of new products that support the standard out of the box.
The first representative of this genre will be the Yeelight Cube modular smart lamp. It consists of three different cube types – Spot, Matrix and Panel. Depending on the combination, they cast directional light (Spot), display pixel graphics (Matrix) or provide a flat, diffuse brightness (Panel). The user can therefore combine his light object as desired. The manufacturer did not yet provide any information on availability.
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