Samsung's SmartThings adopt the new smart home Matter standard

Cupertino, October 26, 2021

The smart home train Matter is steaming. Following Google's commitment to the new standard at last week's developer conference and Apple's addition of Matter support in iOS 15 to WWDC, Samsung is now following suit. The company announced the full adoption of Matter on Samsung Galaxy devices, TVs, Family Hub devices and SmartThings hubs at SDC21, its virtual developer conference taking place this week.

A founding member of the Matter Group (formerly known as Project ChiP), Samsung has also announced that it has joined the board of directors of Thread Group, where it will join companies such as Apple, Google / Nest, Lutron, Qualcomm and Silicon Labs. . to shape the future of the main protocol on which Matter devices will run.

Matter is a new connectivity standard created through an industry collaboration that aims to become the de facto smart home application protocol. Once launched in early 2022, the idea is to simplify the purchase and configuration of connected devices.

With Matter, consumers should be able to purchase any Matter-compatible smart home device and know that it will work with their smart home platform and chosen voice assistant, no matter who the product is. You should also be able to configure and connect each device with the same process, using the same application, to make everything as easy to do as screwing a light bulb.

The SmartThings hub, which Samsung stopped producing last year, will now be incorporated into Samsung smart TVs and refrigerators.

With the adoption of Samsung SmartThings Matter, it will be possible to add devices that previously could not connect to the SmartThings application or hub and, conversely, connect SmartThings compatible devices to other Matter-enabled smart home ecosystems. For example, an Eve LED light strip that previously only worked with Apple's HomeKit could be added and controlled by the SmartThings app.

Consumer choice is the important feature here. If you like to use the Google Home app, SmartThings app, or Apple Home app to control your devices, you can do so without worrying if it's enabled for Google, SmartThings, or HomeKit. If it works with Matter, it will work with all three applications and all three compatible voice assistants (along with many others).

SmartThings, founded in 2015, was already one of the most open platforms of large smart home ecosystems, providing support for both Zigbee and Z-Wave protocols, and now adds Matter. Regarding the SmartThings products that will be activated for Matter, Samantha Fein, vice president of business development and marketing at SmartThings, said that the SmartThings application will be fully activated for Matter, and all existing SmartThings centers will adopt the standard, including those made now by Aeotec.

As for Samsung products, Samsung will enable Matter as a controller for its TVs and smart devices, "Like other Galaxy products," Fein said. She has not been able to share specific product names as she is still working on the launch, which will begin next spring. But it is safe to assume, at this stage, that they will include Samsung smartphones to allow easy configuration and control of Matter-compatible smart home devices.

Samsung has also announced that it will build SmartThings hubs in Family Hub TVs and refrigerators. This means that, in theory, there should be no need for a separate SmartThings hub device. This is something that Samsung announced earlier, but is just implementing it. Fein could not confirm whether there will be upgrades to existing smart TVs and refrigerators or whether this would only apply to new devices in the future. But she confirmed that it will be a software-based "hub", saying there will be no smart home radios in products, as there are in existing standalone hubs.

However, when pressured about the potential for a refrigerator or smart TV to become a curb router, she suggested that this would be possible. "We are very excited about the future and use matter as a central thought for us in terms of what the future smart home looks like," Fein said. Thread is the low-power network protocol, which is the main way Matter devices will communicate, and border routers are devices that will help extend connectivity throughout the house.

Finally, Fein said that SmartThings is moving away from its origins based on the physical hub and moving towards a more integrated hardware experience with Samsung products. The recent launch of SmartThings Edge, which allows cloud-to-cloud communications to run locally, even without an internet connection, allows for a future in which more hardware radios may not be needed to maintain a smart home. work without problems. "Directly, that's what we hope to achieve," she said.

While everyone is around and waiting for Matter and his promise of smart home interoperability, there is a company that has been suspected of being silent lately. Amazon had very little to say about material since it announced its Echo speakers will receive Matter support earlier this summer. At this stage, I will classify this as slightly worrying for the advance momentum of the adoption of the Matter, although we are not really "completely worrying".

Bixby buzz

Samsung also had a few updates for Bixby, its smart voice assistant. Although it is not known if the Galaxy Home Bixby smart speaker will ever see the light of day - "We will provide updates on the availability of Galaxy Home in the near future," said a spokesman - Bixby gets a new ability.

The Galaxy Home Bixby smart speaker doesn't have a release date yet, but the voice assistant has some new tricks.
Image: Samsung

The Bixby Home platform announced at the developers' conference will bring something close to Alexa and Google Home Routines to the voice assistant. Now, with a single voice command, you can perform multiple tasks. For example, if you say "Bixby, play a movie on Netflix", you may have multiple devices connected to SmartThings to respond. So the lights might dim, the soundbar would light up and the movie would start.

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