New technology, familiar look: Externally, there is no difference between the fourth generation of Nuki’s smart lock and its predecessor. The same white polymer housing as on the Smart Lock 3.0 or a silver head with a black or white body on the Pro version. The progress has been made on the inside: With the Smart Lock 4.0, Nuki presents its first model with Matter standard support. As such, it can be integrated into and operated via Matter-enabled control systems such as Apple Home or Google Home.
Connection via Thread
The technology enabling this is called “Matter over Thread”, and it means that the key drive communicates with Matter systems via the Thread radio protocol. Prerequisite is a Border Router on site, which captures the Thread signals and links them to the home network. Both the basic Smart Lock (169 euros) and the Smart Lock Pro of the fourth generation (279 euros) have Thread activated right from the start.
This means that both models can be integrated into a Matter smart home without any additional tools. In Matter mode, the basic model no longer requires the Nuki Bridge for Wi-Fi connection with other systems. On the Smart Lock Pro, the integrated Wi-Fi module can be switched off, which extends the operating time on a single battery charge – because Thread radio requires less energy than Wi-Fi.
According to Nuki, the solution will initially only work with Apple and Google systems as well as Home Assistant. SmartThings is set to follow “very soon after the launch”, while Amazon integration is “expected in spring 2024”, according to the company. Delays like these are nothing new to Matter. They are related to the different pace of development on the platforms. Not all Matter ecosystems introduce the product categories provided for in the standard at the same time. And their support does not always run smoothly straight away, as the example of Matter bridges shows.
More with software updates
This is also one of the reasons why a Matter function, which Nuki has campaigned for in the standardization process, is coming later: the recently released Matter version 1.2 can unlock doors without pulling the lock’s latch – a feature that is primarily of interest to the European market. In other regions of the world, locks do not have a latch, but only a deadbolt that has two states: open and closed.
However, it will be some time before the new, third locking status is incorporated into Matter controllers and their user interfaces. Jürgen Pansy, co-founder and Head of Technology at Nuki, expects this to happen in 2024, as he explained in an interview with matter-smarthome.de. So far, only the open source solution Home Assistant has incorporated the Matter 1.2 specifications into its software (link). That’s why Nuki is launching the fourth generation with Matter 1.0. They are skipping 1.1 – according to Pansy because it doesn’t bring any advantages for door locks – and will provide a free update to Matter 1.2 in spring 2024. A Matter-capable Nuki Bridge, which would allow previous generations of the smart lock to be retrofitted, is not planned, according to the manufacturer.
Instead, Nuki is set to deliver another software feature – for buyers who want particularly comprehensive remote access to their Smart Lock. Nuki’s own cloud service offers more options in this respect than the current Matter platforms. Nuki Web can not only unlock doors while on the move, but also manage users and access rights or display the activity log – i.e. provide information on who opened the door and at what time.
Until now, this type of remote access required a Smart Lock Pro with activated Wi-Fi – or a separate Nuki Bridge for 99 euros, which connects the basic model to the internet in the first place. Following a software update in spring, the connection to the Nuki Cloud will also be possible directly via Thread and a compatible border router. The manufacturer specifically mentions the Apple HomePod in this context, but expects other models that can be used as a gateway to the internet. Buyers of the Smart Lock Pro 4.0 will receive the subsequent cloud access update free of charge. Anyone who owns a Smart Lock 4.0 without “Pro” will pay a one-off fee of 39 euros for activation.
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