After three years of waiting, I finally upgraded some of my smart home devices to Matt. Ultimately, I was successful, but there were some twists and turns to navigate. To be fair, Matter's rollout is literally happening right now. And some of the apps needed to experience Matter are in beta status. So I wouldn't rush into trying this just yet unless you have some time, patience, and the right equipment. In my case, I used two Eve devices that I previously reviewed. The Eve Energy Smart Plug and Eve Motion Sensor are currently upgradeable by Matter. I also used my iPhone 12 running iOS 16.2, a Google Pixel 7, and a second-generation Google Nest Hub. From a software perspective, I have early access to a beta Eve app, which anyone can sign up for. And I was using the Google Home app on my Pixel 7 since it was just upgraded to support Matter. At this point, both Eve devices appeared in the Eve app, the Apple Home app with my other HomeKit devices, and in Google Home on my Android phone. I can also see and control them on the Nest Hub, via touch or voice. And that's where an important Matter benefit comes in, because until now, Eve devices have been exclusive to the Apple HomeKit ecosystem. Today I asked Google Assistant to turn Eve's smart plug on and off and it just worked. But getting to that point didn't work entirely alone. In fact, it cost me quite a bit of work. I started with the smart plug that controls my Christmas tree lights and upgraded to Matter in the Eve beta app. I was warned that once the firmware to enable Matter was installed on the plug, I would not be able to manage it directly in HomeKit. Keep that in mind if you decide to go this route. The firmware upgrade went smoothly. Interestingly, the device was assigned a new QR code specific to Matter. The old HomeKit code cannot be used with this device. That's a bit of a challenge, because every HomeKit device has a unique code to begin with. If you ever delete a HomeKit device and need to add it again, the code will always be available on or in the device. After a Matter upgrade, that HomeKit code is useless. And as part of the upgrade process, you'll need to save or print an image of the new Matter code. It may be a bit of a challenge for some people to save all these new QR codes for future use, but it will be necessary. Continuing the process, I scanned the new code into the Eve app. Unfortunately, adding the device failed after several minutes of trying. I also tried with the Apple Home app, but without success. It took a few helpful conversations with an Eve Home representative to figure out what was wrong. While I waited for the back-and-forth conversation, I decided to try upgrading my Eve Motion sensor. Again, the firmware upgrade worked fine, I got a new Matter QR code, and then... no luck adding the device to the Eve or Apple Home apps. I took a different approach and used the Google Home app and… it worked! The latest version of Google Home does support the addition of Matter devices, which Google announced earlier this week. I can control my Christmas tree lights connected to the Eve Energy using a Nest Hub. At that point, the Eve Motion showed up on my phone and on my Nest Hub. Thinking this might "change" the Eve and Apple Home apps, I tried again with those apps. Sure enough, this time the Eve Motion was added to both iOS apps and I had control over the device from two ecosystems. How to connect Google Home on Android to the Eve Energy plug. I still had a little trouble with the Eve Energy Smart Plug. I finally reset it by pressing and holding the LED button for 10 seconds. Unfortunately, the Eve and Apple Home apps still couldn't pair with it. However, scanning the device's unique QR code in Google Home was sufficient. And then I could add it to the iOS apps as well. I really didn't expect Google's app to work when the iOS apps were struggling a bit. However, this shows why matter is so important: it opens up devices to multiple smart home ecosystems. If that weren't the case, I would now have two fewer devices in my home, as they simply disappeared from HomeKit and Eve after the Matter firmware upgrade. That's not me being an apologist for some of the challenges I had; it's just a fact. However, it's clear that as the mass rollout of the Matter device upgrades begins, there will be some pain points. That's something I expected: getting dozens of companies to work together with a common protocol for previously siled devices won't happen without a few bumps and bruises. Hopefully device manufacturers learn from early experiences like mine and improve the process. I should note that while I didn't lose any automations I had previously set up, one did break. I use the Eve smart plug to turn on my Christmas tree lights at sunset and then turn them off at 11 p.m. The automation is still intact, but not linked to any device: I will have to add the automation plug again. But that doesn't really matter to me: I'm so happy that with a Nest Hub I can control an Eve plug with my voice with Google Assistant, that I can fix the automation myself.
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