WiZ's Matter update is really important for Apple HomeKit users

Cupertino, August 1, 2023

The new Matter standard has taken off slowly, there is no doubt about that. But if you want to be reminded of what Matter promised smart home users in the first place, try this trick: Add your WiZ bulbs, which can now be used with Matter, to Apple's Home app. WiZ's smart products have long been limited to Amazon's Alexa and Google Home in terms of smart home integrations. That was unfortunate for HomeKit users, as the manufacturer (which is owned by the same company as the Philips Hue brand) makes some useful smart lights, including the WiZ Linear Light bars and the Mobile Portable Light. But most of WiZ's recent smart bulbs are now compatible with Matter, the new smart home standard that promises to allow compatible smart devices to work across a wide range of smart home ecosystems, including Alexa, Google Home and HomeKit. All it took was for WiZ to pull over the Matter integration in its WiZ v2 app, and it finally did. Now if you scroll to the Settings tab in the WiZ app and tap Integrations, you'll see a Matter tile at the top. Tap that Matter tile and you'll see all WiZ lights that are eligible to work with Matter. Select a device and assuming the firmware has recently been updated you can copy the Matter pairing code from the WiZ app then tap Start Setup to put the light into pairing mode. (The first time I tapped Start Setup for each of my WiZ lights, I got an error, but the process worked after a second tap.) Ah, so this is how Matter is supposed to work. Ben Patterson/Foundry Once that's done you can open the Apple Home app, select the Add Accessory option and tap "More Options", and boom - you should see your selected WiZ bulb, waiting to be added. The WiZ bulbs popped into Apple Home without a hitch, and soon they were working in perfect harmony with other bulbs in my HomeKit setup, including those from Philips Hue and Nanoleaf. The whole experience offers a glimpse of the promise of Matter, which debuted last fall but has encountered plenty of speed bumps along the way. So far, only a few Matter devices have hit the market, while smart home brands like Belkin's Wemo and Philips Hue have slammed the brakes on their Matter plans (although hopefully the latter will have a Matter update ready soon) . There's also a frustrating number of caveats to the various Matter-enabled platforms, with Amazon and Google yet to release Matter-ready versions of their respective iOS smart home apps, while Amazon's Alexa can only do Matter over Wi-Fi, meaning Thread-dependent devices like Eve's (which has just released its own Matter updates) don't — yet — work with Alexa. Then there's the fact that the original Matter specification only supports certain categories of smart home products, including smart lights, thermostats, door locks, TVs, blinds, security sensors, and streaming video players. That means security cameras, robot vacuum cleaners and garage door controllers, among other major smart home categories, will have to wait. But adding WiZ bulbs to HomeKit using Matter offers a glimpse into how the Matter standard should - and hopefully will work - once all the kinks are ironed out.

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