Matter, the upcoming standard that seeks to give the smart home a unified language, is almost here — and I was just treated to an early demonstration of the kinds of cross-platform compatibility it should enable in the future. The display was delivered by Eve, which produces a range of smart plugs, radiator valves, lighting and safety devices.
historically, Eve only works with Apple’s HomeKit Smart Home Platform. That’s because it didn’t want to use a cloud-to-cloud platform, preferring to keep its devices on a locally controlled platform for privacy and security. The Eve has an iOS app but no Android app, and doesn’t support Samsung’s SmartThings, Amazon’s Alexa, or Google Home. So when I approached Eve’s booth at the IFA trade show in Berlin it was remarkable to see all four platforms represented.
the reason for the shift Case, This is probably the most important thing since the inception of the smart home, and in theory, we’re only a few months away from it. be publicly available, Eve also announced Launching an Android App as the Equivalent to Your Existing iOS AppBut the great thing with Matter is that you don’t technically need the device manufacturer’s app at all. You can set up and control your Miter-enabled device with existing apps, whether it’s the Apple HomeKit, Google Home, Amazon Alexa, or Samsung SmartThings app.
That’s exactly what Eve was demonstrating at IFA. The Miter specification hasn’t been finalized yet, so none of the devices were running their final Mater-capable firmware, but it was enough to see what kind of functionality we can expect when Eve’s devices come out of it. Updated to support.
The Amazon table had a fourth-generation Echo speaker with a typical non-smart bulb plugged into the Eve Energy smart plug. Right now, Echo speakers can’t control Eve products, as the latter aren’t Alexa-enabled. But both products are compatible thread, one of the wireless protocols that mater works and can run locally. Eve was showing off how Matter would enable these two previously incompatible devices to talk to each other.
Eve’s booth reps were very insistent that no one other than them use voice commands to control their smart plugs, so I relied on them to issue commands controlling Eve’s devices. “Alexa, turn off my Eve Energy,” a representative asked of the fourth-generation Amazon Echo. After a (quite long) beat, a bulb plugged into the Eve Energy Smart Plug went off.
Matter’s design makes it simple and seamless for users of different platforms to seamlessly control the same smart home products. The result is a more seamless experience, where whatever voice assistant you choose to use can control all of your Matter-enabled devices and where configuration changes made to the device through an ecosystem are automated everywhere. will appear. Each of the four demo stations was using the same model of the Eve Energy smart plug, without the need for separate models for the different ecosystems. Since the accessory already supports Thread, updating it to support Matter was a relatively seamless process, Eve’s PR director Lars Felber told me.
on google tables, both one was thread-able second generation nest hub And the Google Pixel 6 Pro running the Google Home app. First, Felber told the Nest Hub, “Ok Google, turn on my lights.” As soon as the Google Smart Display recognized the command, click on the light bulb attached to the Eve Energy Smart Plug behind it. Thanks to Matter, the smart display sent a signal to the smart plug on the thread to turn it on.
Using an Android phone running the Google Home app was less intuitive in my performance. “Phones don’t thread,” Felber explained to me. As a result, the handset needs to communicate with the Nest Hub over a local Wi-Fi network in order to send commands to the smart plug via a thread for the smart display. Unfortunately, attempting to control the smart plug directly from the phone didn’t work. The icon on the phone responded to my taps, but the light remained unchanged.
It was a shame not to see Miter working flawlessly, but trade show floors are one of the worst possible places to showcase this kind of technology. Felber told me that the trade show hall we were in had about 50 overlapping Wi-Fi networks, and that even the least congested Wi-Fi channel still had nine devices. The Thread protocol also uses the same 2.4Ghz frequency as Wi-Fi, resulting in more interference. The amount of noise also made it difficult to issue voice commands from the stand’s various smart speakers without shouting from an inch away. Also, the Matter standard is currently not final – so some minor tweaks are to be expected.
A third table showed Matter’s integration with SmartThings. Confusingly, there was only one Samsung phone (Galaxy S22) on this table, with no thread border router. But Felber confirmed to me that the company was using the Aotek-made SmartThings hub — that for some reason was hidden inside the table — to transmit the signal to the Eve Energy. While completely confusing, the demo worked well. Using the SmartThings app to control the smart plug felt instantaneous.
In the end, Apple was on the table, the least surprising of the four because it demonstrated a hardware setup that the HomeKit-exclusive Eve lineup already supports just fine — albeit now only using Miter instead of Apple’s HomeKit. has been updated to. On that table were an iPhone 13 with smart plugs and bulbs and a HomePod Mini smart speaker that acted as a thread border router. Controlling either smart plug was very responsive.
Although the launch of the Miter standard means Eve’s devices are about to become a lot more functional, existing owners don’t need to purchase new hardware to reap the benefits. Felber says Eve plans to roll out an OTA update to all of its Thread-enabled products (which accounts for 14 of its 18-strong product lineup) to use Mater. Eve Energy will be the first, hopefully by the end of the year, for other devices like Eve Door And WindowThe eve weatherThe Eve MotionAnd this Eve Thermo Following up later.
Turning a light bulb on and off is a simple smart home party trick, and there are many other examples of smart devices that work in different ecosystems. But with the Apple-exclusive accessory currently working (relatively) in all these different ecosystems, with both voice and app controls, I’m very excited about what Matter can accomplish at launching this fall.
Photography by John Porter / The Verge
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