Christmas has come a little early for the smart home: the first Matter-enabled devices are finally here. Starting today, December 12, Eve Systems will begin rolling out a firmware update for 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 allows devices such as smart plugs, light bulbs and door locks to work with whatever platform you choose. 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, there are currently only Matter controllers – including Apple Home hubs and Samsung SmartThings hubs. At least now they finally have some devices to control.
While this may seem like a small change in 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 take it out of walled gardens. from proprietary platforms to 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 wireless Wi-Fi and Thread protocols and in initial rollout will include 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 on any Matter-compatible platform. Matter-compatible devices should become available by the end of this year.
Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Samsung SmartThings, and Apple Home are some of the major smart home platforms signed on to support Matter. Apple and Samsung have already updated their compatible hubs to Matter controllers, and we expect to see updates on the other platforms soon.
The Matter update for Eve devices is currently optional. Once you update, you can no longer migrate your devices to Apple HomeKit only. You’ll 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 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 will reportedly be released in the first half of 2023.
The good news for Apple Home users is that the Eve devices lose none of their functionality when upgraded to Matter. Despite not being supported by Matter, features such as autonomous schedules, parental controls, energy monitoring, and advanced automation will continue to be available, but only on HomeKit.
So said Jerome Gackel, CEO of Eve The edge earlier this year, Apple added the ability to include custom device features in Matter that work in Apple Home – such as energy monitoring with an Eve smart plug. However, these features are specific to Matter in Apple Home and cannot be translated 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 is possible for those platforms to add custom device features to Matter as well. Eve says more features will come to the devices when it launches the Eve Android app.
Here we’ll start by seeing the platforms that differentiate themselves in Matter by adding features to devices above the basics. Creating light scenes or using features like energy monitoring or adaptive lighting (to automatically change the tone of your lights throughout the day) depends on the platform you’re using a device on. Likewise, scheduling and automation depend on the platform.
Remember that Matter itself is not a smart home platform; its main function is as a universal language for devices to talk to each other. In the beginning, to keep it simple, that language should be quite simple, but there is the opportunity for Matter to do more in the future. We will be testing 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 irreversible and currently has several requirements, Eve is offering it to customers through an Early Access program. But once Matter becomes more widely available, the rollout will be automatic.
- You need an Apple Home Hub that works with Thread Border routers, such as a HomePod mini, Apple TV 4K (2nd Gen), and Apple TV 4K (3rd Gen, 128GB) connected to your network, updated to the latest tvOS version (16.1 ).
- An iPhone or iPad with iOS / iPadOS 16.2 (or later).
- Sign up to enroll in the Eve Matter Early Access program and wait for an email from Eve with test flight access to the firmware update starting Monday, December 12.
Any Eve device you currently own or purchase 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.