Eve Systems, a manufacturer of smart home products that works with Apple’s HomeKit platform, announces a wide range of devices that support the Thread smart protocol. The news consists of updated versions of its existing smart plug, a future firmware update for the company’s smart sprinkler and a new outdoor weather station.
Thread is a wireless communications standard that was developed from the ground up for smart home purposes and is designed to replace old technologies such as Z-Wave and Zigbee. Thread benefits include more reliable connections between devices, faster response times, and longer battery life.
Although Thread support has existed in a handful of devices for some time, the Apple HomePod mini is the first to make Thread a viable option in the smart home. It can act as a bridge between Thread-enabled accessories and connect them to the internet, which I can’t do on my own. The wire is also one of the pillar technologies of the Connected Home over IP (CHIP) project, a cooperation between all major providers of smart home platforms and standardization devices around an interoperable wireless protocol.
In this regard, Eve updates and expands its device portfolio. The new Eve Energy, which will be available in both US and UK versions, is an updated version of Eve’s smart plug. It will accept both Thread and Bluetooth and will be available in the US from April 6 and in the UK from May 4. The power is unique in that it can act as a repeater for the Thread network, allowing it to extend the signal to devices even if they are not within reach of a HomePod mini. In the US, energy will cost $ 39.95.
A future firmware update will add Thread support to Eve Aqua, $ 99.95, the company’s smart sprinkler system. Thanks to Thread’s larger range, the upgraded Aqua can maintain its network connection better than it could with just Bluetooth. Eve says support for Thread will be released in April.
Finally, the new Eve Weather is a wireless outdoor weather station that lets you track your outdoor temperature, humidity and barometric pressure at home. It is a replacement for Eve Degree, a similar product that relies exclusively on Bluetooth for its connectivity. Eve Weather has a monochrome display that shows the current temperature, humidity and weather conditions; the Eve app provides access to trends over time and more specific data. Weather also has Siri integration for voice queries.
Eve claims that the weather is IPX3 waterproof and is specially designed for outdoor use. It runs on a battery cell that should last between six and 12 months before it needs to be replaced. Eve weather will be available starting March 25 for $ 69.95.
These are not the only products in Eva’s portfolio that support Thread. The company has already released firmware updates with Thread support for its door and window sensors and the Energy Energy smart plug, and says that everything it has released since June 2020 has the hardware needed to work with Thread. It is one of the first companies to really throw its hat in the Thread ring in a significant way.
Eve is a unique company in the smart home market, because its products only work with the Apple HomeKit platform and do not support Amazon Alexa, Google Home or any of the other platforms out there. This is different from most other smart home companies, which try to reach the widest possible audience by supporting the most popular platforms, which often means Amazon Alexa and Google Home. The ecosystem of HomeKit devices is much smaller in comparison, largely due to an onerous hardware certification that Apple has requested and has since returned. HomeKit is also completely inaccessible outside of the Apple ecosystem, so if you have an Android phone, you can’t control Eve devices.
Eve Systems CEO Jerome Gackel told me that the company’s goal is not just to be a HomeKit accessory manufacturer. It’s just that Apple’s platform is the only one that allows Eva to focus her efforts on her devices and applications, without having to maintain a cloud service to allow them to connect to the Internet. All processing for Eve devices takes place locally on your home network or between your own devices, without sending data to the cloud, which helps the company achieve its goal of creating a smart home that comes first in privacy. (You can still control Eve devices remotely through the Apple Home app, provided you have a HomeKit hub, such as an Apple TV, HomePod, or iPad running in your home.)
Gackel hopes that Thread support and its key role in the CHIP project will open the door to working with other smart home platforms in the future. But Eve will not work with Alexa or Google Home as long as they continue to require a cloud connection to their platforms.
Eva’s bet on HomeKit has been successful so far – the company already has 18 products in its range and claims sales of over 1 million units by 2019, with two thirds of the customer base in Germany and the rest in the US. Its programming for 2021 will make it the largest provider of HomeKit accessories, with Thread support being a recurring theme throughout.